Even though these places are already known amongst Miami’s food lovers, there are still different from the norm and have their own charm which makes them special. Check out my three favorites for a romantic date night that makes you feel like you’re in a completely different place.
It’s been a while since I went (Miami Spice last year) but I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this place yet since I usually recommend it to everyone. Let me start by saying I love the concept of the hole in the wall hidden gem places. Without Yelp, I would have probably just driven by a thousand times. It’s located on Coral Way close to The Roads. We were at an event in the area and went for a spontaneous Friday date night. You’re stepping into a little villa and the whole time you have the feeling you’re in someone’s house (in a good way). The decorations are really cute. I love inventive kitchen with smaller dishes to try. Everything we had was great (see pics). The experience alone was well worth 5 stars.
2. La Fresa Francesa
“Qué bola, mon ami?” A French place in Hialeah??? – that was my friends’ reaction when I first posted about this place. Granted, when you hear Hialeah you think less of Croissant and café au lait and more of cubanazo, pan con bistec and cafecito. But it’s exotic factor is what makes this place so special! It’s in a little shopping place by Okechobee but once you step inside, you feel like you’re in a café in Paris. When I went there they had a Yelp check-in special where you get a free Bellini. But even if they don’t have that anymore, the peach champagne deliciousness is well worth the money. We had the spicy salad with smoked salmon, the Croque Madame and the meatballs. We ordered some espressi with their dessert special, a homemade cheesecake. They have a little store attached to the restaurant where we bought some glasses. The owner was super friendly as well. We’ll definitely be back. Au revoir!
I love this place. It makes you feel like you’re in the middle of Italy but you’re in the heart of Downtown Miami (and by heart, I mean the dirtiest part). The decorations are really cute. I went here for lunch a few times and we spent one of my birthdays there. It was very romantic and they had a live jazz band. The staff was very friendly and brought me a dessert with a candle. Food overall was great – from pasta to fish to salads. I highly recommend going there.
If you like my food recommendations, follow my Instagram account MiamiMiAmor
I recently started my Instagram account – username: miamimiamorblog – and as you can see, I’m a big time foodie. I love trying out new places and have been posting on my personal accounts for years. Friends always keep asking me for recommendations so I thought I’d write about some of my Miami Dade favorite restaurants.
One of my favorite restaurants in Miami. The veggie burger has this yummy soy glaze that makes you crave it after – even as a meat lover. I also love the Thai Tuna Roll with macadamia nuts and Coconut Shrimp Roll. The best sushi in town!
Mariposa is located inside Neiman Marcus in the beautiful outdoor mall Merrick Village. The first time we came here was for the Miami Spice lunch which I highly recommend. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth. For $23 you’re getting a 3-course meal. Normally, this price would only cover one dish or not even. Upfront they serve their delicious signature bread and a little broth to open your appetite. I had the baked avocado, salmon and Panna Cotta. Everything was yummy! But I do have to say that I sometimes envy my husband because he doesn’t care about calories at all. And let’s be honest, it’s mostly the fatty mcfat food that tastes great. He had the sweet potato tater tots, Croque Monsieur and Sundae with Cookies. His food was off the chain! And I strongly believe that calories don’t count if you eat them off your husband’s plate. We returned during regular lunch hour but I have to say the weekend menu is my favorite. I will definitely be back for that.
“A table isn’t the best place to receive quick service, so the bar is where I go.”(sung in Ed Sheehan voice). I hadn’t been to Sugarcane in a while but we happened to be shopping in Midtown and decided to go for a spontaneous date night. They told us there would be a 35 minute wait so we went ahead and sat at the bar. That was the best decision we could have made. Our bartender Sean went above and beyond to make us happy. We had a few drinks: the Strawberry Balsamic, Spice of Love and Guayaba Dream Slush. Spice of Love was my favorite because I really like jalapeño drinks. The strawberry balsamic tastes different than I thought – I would have expected some spiked drinking vinegar but it was rather sweet. The latter seemed like a Seven Eleven slushie creation by a Cuban abuela. We had some wings, the dates wrapped in bacon (boy oh boy were they good!), ducks and waffles and the crunchy tuna roll. For dessert, we had the Nutella Sunday which was uh-mazing! It had ice-cream, little brownie pieces and Cracker Jack popcorn. Perfect mix! If it were for my hubby, he would give 1000 stars and come back right away. I deducted one because I wasn’t too impressed with the sushi but will sure come back and give those five stars a chance.
Located right outside the beautiful Bay Harbor shops, Makoto is the perfect exclusive lunch spot! After I heard so many good things, I went first time for Miami Spice. But we all know that Miami Spice doesn’t fill you up so I went back. First and foremost: the Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice – ohhhmaahhgerd. So addicting! Serving sizes are fairly small but it’s definitely worth the price!
This are just a few of my favorites. I will be posting more. Keep following me on my blog and on instagram under miamimiamorblog!
I hope 2018 has everything in store what you’re wishing for. I tried a new brunch spot on the last Sunday of the year and would like to share my delicious experience with you.
The first Bulla location was in Coral Gables by Miracle Mile. Since Doral opened its fancy Downtown Doral, we have a Bulla here now as well. I’ve been here a few times for dinner and finally made it to their famous brunch. I know they would get packed but luckily we got seated right away. They have a brunch sample menu where you can choose three items on the menu for a total of $27 and you can add unlimited mimosas or sangria (white or red) for $15. We picked the Huevos Bulla, Huevos Benedictinos, Melón con Bellota, Bistec a Caballo (counts for two items) and French Toast. I had actually thought those would be smaller portions but they came as regular servings. Oh boy, that was a lot food! We were in a food coma all day. We could have easily shared one of the sample menus. My favorites were the Huevos Bulla. They come with potato chips, Serrano ham and runny eggs which they mix together right in front of you. The Bistec a Caballo – basically Steak and Eggs – was good too. The eggs are fried and come on shoe string fries. By that time, we were pretty full already. We could have done without the Huevos Benedictos (their take on Eggs Benedicts) and the watermelon tomato cheese Serrano mix. They seemed like nothing special but maybe we were just too full to appreciate and all egged out. We didn’t finish them a.k.a we barely tried them. Since there’s always room for dessert no matter how full you are we finished the French toast that was topped with berries and pretty good. Overall, a nice brunch experience and definitely worth coming back in 2018!
Alright, so if you live in Miami and/or you’re familiar with the South Floridian city, you have probably heard about its synonyms “North Cuba” or “Miami, D.C. (District of Cuba). Here is my little guide to a super Cuban experience in Miami.
Ball and Chain (Calle Ocho, Little Havana)
If you’re giving Ball & Chain any less than 5 stars we can’t friends. But honestly, this place is off the chain (pun intended). This iconic bar is right in the heart of Little Havana. The business first opened in 1935 until the end 50’s and just got remodeled recently. I can guarantee you’ll have a great time there especially on Sundays. They have live music outside on the pineapple stage (there is no stage that is more Miami than this one) and a great atmosphere. They have modern Cuban tapas for about $8 dollars and drinks around $12. I highly recommend the Cuban egg roll, the Elena Ruth sandwich and the Pastelito Daiquiri that comes with Bacardi Rum, guava puree, house-made honey syrup, lime juice and has a guava pastelito on top.
Pastelito Daiquiri & Cuba Libre
Elena Ruth sandwich
Cuban Egg Roll
2. Versailles (Calle Ocho, Little Havana)
This restaurant is almost like a Cuban landmark. You’ll get authentic Cuban food. They have a little ventana (window) where you can pick up Cuban coffee and pastelitos (pastries). You’ll also hear a lot of Cuba-related political talk there which is quite entertaining. I’ll be forever grateful that Versailles was one of the first restaurants to open right after hurricane Irma to feed us.
Sopa de Pollo
3. Son Cubano (Coral Gables)
Why are these people so loud? Son Cubano(s)!
I went here for a spontaneous date night to see if this place lives up to its hype!
And I wasn’t disappointed! There was some entertainment going on with a live band playing Cuban music and people dancing to it. It’s not a good place to talk but rather to have a good time. I ordered the Cuban Mule which was delicioso. We ordered a salad, the short rib and the Cuban egg roll. The latter was my favorite! I would recommend this place for the appetizers and some drinks.
They have a cigar lounge upstairs that was closed when we were there. Huge plus is that they had Voli305 vodka. I always support places that have local products. They also have valet parking .
If you happen to be in the beautiful heart of Coral Gables, you should swing by and check it out!
4. Azucar (Calle Ocho, Little Havana)
I fully support any place founded by a local that tries to only use local produce and reps the 305! Azucar stands for all that! It’s in the heart of Little Havana on Calle Ocho across from the Domino Park and next to Ball & Chain. I read that the owner used to go to the Domino Park and have the viejitos (old men) sample new ice-cream flavors. You’ll see paintings of Cuban legend Celia Cruz and the cups have Cuban and Spanglish dichos (sayings) on them. Azucar offers different flavors all the time and sometimes they even have the highly sought after cinnamon rolls from Knaus Berry Farm in Homestead. My favorite ice-cream of all time is the Abuela Maria ice-cream with Abuela Maria crackers, Guayaba and cream cheese. Just note that this is not gelato but self-made ice-cream. If you want to try out a place that’s a 100% Miami , go to Azucar!
5. Take a pic with a rooster in Little Havana
Super touristy thing to do but these little guys are just are part of Little Havana. And as you can see – I’m enjoying myself!
I hope you all enjoyed the holiday season and spending time with your families and loved ones. Most importantly, this is a time to enjoy life. Sometimes we enjoy a little bit too much around this time of the year with sweets, eggnog and other deliciousnesses everywhere and that’s completely o.k. But usually once the holidays are over, guilt kicks in. Hence, all gyms are jam-packed in January. But eating yummy foods doesn’t mean they all have to make your scale go crazy. If you want to start into 2018 healthy and sexy, here are my top picks for healthy yet yummy food in Miami.
Upland (South Beach)
I heard so much about Upland from my health conscious friends so I woke up one morning feeling healthy and decided to go for brunch on a Saturday (yes, they have brunch Saturday and Sunday). Upland is a farm-to-table concept in the South Pointe (most Southern part of South Beach). The inside is huge but they have patio seating as well. We chose AC over people watching and went inside. The hostess and our waiter were very friendly and inviting. I’d highly recommend the Bloody Mary which is very spicy and flavorful. They also have natural juices. I had the avocado omelette which came with cotija cheese and pico de gallo. My S.O. had the eggs Benedict. Both were awesome. I definitely want to come back for dinner. I feel like this is a place for all kind of audiences not only health nuts as I saw people eating burgers and fries, too.
Me sipping my Bloody -actually it’s a Virgin Mary[/caption
2. Delirio (Doral)
This must be my favorite bunch spots for my girls and I. When you drive by this hidden gem at a shopping plaza in Doral, you wouldn’t believe what awesomeness awaits you! Outside seating and the view is amazing as it is right next to a lake. Yes, a waterfront in Doral! I love eating healthy food. And by healthy, I don’t mean the kind of vegan, gluten-free, spirulina-drenched food with an aftertaste of horse poop. I mean food with fresh and natural ingredients that tastes great. They have these skinny pancakes that are out of this world. You can top them with all types of fruits, nuts and nut butters. They also have Arepas made out of quinoa. My favorite one is the Reina Pepiada (Chicken Salad and Avocado). They also have humongous salads, yummy toasts and breakfast bowls such as Acai, Pitaya, Money Bowl.
Special Tip: if you are on Yelp, check in to get a free glass of wine!
3. Evos (Pinecrest)
It will probably surprise you that a fast food spot is in this post but as I mentioned before, I’m not into depriving myself, I’m more about the quality of the food. I discovered Evos about four years ago when I had an errand to run in Pinecrest. Being a foodie and health nut at the same time, I was more than excited to try out “Healthy Fast Food.” And it did not disappoint. First of all, I have to say customer service was outstanding. The young people working there were friendly, knowledgeable and happy. And the taste of the food was great: from my wrap, to the air fries and the karma ketchup. And the organic milkshake – yum! I was craving it so much, I had to return shortly after. And I returned several times. Each time I had a great experience: friendly stuff and great quality of food!
4. Super Smoothie (Doral)
Last but not least. Another hidden gem in Doral! Living close-by, I used to drive by this shopping plaza so many times and always assumed Super Smoothie would be your average smoothie store like Smoothie King etc. But on the contrary! I am regular now and each time I come, they treat me very nicely. I love their fresh wraps. My personal favorites are the chipotle wrap and the veggie burger wrap. The hubby really likes wrap#5 as he loves mustard. My favorite smoothie is smoothie #30 made of berries and skim milk. They have all types of nomitudes (nom nom nom)- to name a few: quesadillas, soup, protein pancakes and Acai Bowls. I even bought my workout gloves and prepackaged healthy lunches there (ground turkey with sweet potato). The owner is super nice as well and a good advertisement for his healthy place since he is super fit and buff.
I hope you’ll get to try these places out and if you do, don’t forget to let me know how you liked them!
Even though I LOVE Miami, it is nice to get out of there from time to time especially during a long weekend. During holiday locura (craziness) my beloved Miami turns into a bit of a touristy, too-crazy even for Miami standards spot. So I usually like to explore around SoFla (South Florida).
Last Labor Day, we decided to explore Captiva one of the typical hippie small-town places about three hours away from Miami on the Western side of Florida North of Sanibel island.
Things to do
I’d highly recommend staying at the South Seas Island Resort. The resort is HUGE and you have the option to either stay at a hotel room or one of the apartments. Our room category was called “Beach Villa.” It was a very spacious apartment with a bedroom, bathroom, large living room with kitchen that includes a microwave, refrigerator, garbage disposal, oven, coffee maker, dishes and utensils. So if you want to save a few bucks, you could bring and prepare your own food. There is also a balcony with mosquito screens which brings me to another topic: bring plenty of mosquito repellent and skin-so-soft. There are plenty of no-seeums (tiny mosquitos) on Captiva Island. Don’t let these suckers ruin your vacation! We were on the South Beach site (see more under “Beaches”). One free option to get around is, you hop on the South Seas Island Trolley. They hit every stop and with your resort wristband you ride for free. Of course, you could also take your car. But here is a so much cooler and much more fun version that I highly recommend: you rent a golf cart. You can either rent them at the place right next to the hotel or at Yolo – which is a bit of a ride/walk. Yolo tends to be cheaper. But the South Seas rental place gave us the off-season rate and a $60 voucher towards watersports so it came out to about the same and to be honest, we were too lazy to walk to Yolo (You only live once so you don’t want to spend it walking on your vacay).
If you forgot your bathing suit, convenience item or want to grab some snacks, go to Chadwick’s Square.
They have a Starbucks but they don’t have the full sandwich selection. For that, you should go to Captiva Provisions Company which is the only grocery/convenience store nearby and they have some pretty yummy sandwiches. I was also thrilled to find one of my favorite beach wear stores “Everything But Water.” They had a sale so I ended up buying two cover-ups, a fabulous pineapple beach bag and some sea shell sandals.
My awesome pineapple bag
My new cover-up
South Beach is located at the main entrance of the South Seas Island Resort. It is definitely quieter than Sunset Beach and doesn’t offer activities. If you’re a hotel guest, you’ll get beach chairs. This is for those that like to do their own program.
Sunset Beach is the more happening place with a bar and telescope from which you can watch the stars. They have a sundown ceremony every night. During Labor Day, they offered a bunch of activities and a concert on the adjacent lawn.
The Green Flash Waterfront Restaurant
The Green Flash is right at the beginning when you drive into the island so we decided to go there on our first night. It is located at the water but it was already pretty late and very dark when we arrived. Like most restaurants on the island, it is highly seafood based. I had my all-time fav – coconut shrimp and the hubster loved his steak. Their key-lime pie had a very distinct taste – it was slightly frozen which I loved. Another funny feature are the bathrooms (don’t tell me I didn’t warn) you – there is a dummy leaning against the wall which makes it look like a man is standing inside there. The male bathroom has an equally funny setup but I don’t want to give away everything.
The Bubble Room
We didn’t have any food here because we weren’t too thrilled about the menu but we were told this place is a must-see because it’s so coo-coo. A lot of people also spoke highly of the bubble bread which we sadly never got to try but maybe you get lucky. We only went there to check the place out and it was pretty crazy. It reminded me of Christmas meets Alice in Wonderland meets magic show. But I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
We originally wanted to have breakfast/brunch at RC Otters across the street but they literally cut it off because we were 1 Minute late. They said the kitchen already started preparing lunch. However, they redirected us to Keylime Bistro which is across the street and owned by the same people. We had a tomato bisque, eggs Benedict, croissantwich with egg and waffles. Service was really nice and food was delish. They had some enjoyable live music. All in all, the atmosphere was great and we enjoyed our experience.
The Mucky Duck
We heard so many good things about this restaurant so we made sure we stop by during our trip to Captiva. Most people recommended this place because of the sunset. Unfortunately, it was raining the day we went there. There was a bit of a wait. Note that they don’t have a liquor license so you can only order wine, beer or wine-based vodka. Once seated, I ordered the crusted Mahi and my husband the pasta with chicken. I loved my dish. For desert, we had a scrumptious tuxedo cheesecake. The restaurant has a very casual atmosphere with a lot of funny decorations and signs. Definitely worth checking out when in the area.
Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille
I like that this place is conveniently located at the South Seas Island Resort. We went here for lunch and decided to make dinner reservations the same day. We both ordered flatbreads – my hubby the Caprese one and I ordered the gluten-free shrimp flatbread. His was definitely better. Service was very attentive. I would recommend sitting outside since it smells a little funny inside (Note added 10/16/2019: I didn’t know I was pregnant already so everything smelled funny to me). Lunch was more enjoyable than dinner, one of the reason being was the large amount of mosquitoes. Remember what I told you earlier – come equipped with Skin-So-Soft. Also I didn’t love my Mahi especially compared to the one I had the night before at the Mucky Duck.
The Island Cow
We were on our way back to Miami from our Labor Day weekend getaway in Captiva and were kind of in the mood of having lunch in Sanibel. We yelped and found The Island Cow. So happy we didn’t just pass this gem. It was a really funky place with colorful benches, seats where you sit in a shell and a colorful waiting area slash backyard. It has the typical Florida hippie small town vibe. After a short wait, we took a seat on a shell bench. They serve you these delicious muffins upfront. Fun fact: in the ladies’ room, there’s a German newspaper article about a German Bonnie and Clyde couple that stole the infamous muffin recipe that’s worth millions on the stock market. And I have to say: those muffins were so delish we ordered seconds (Disclaimer: since I was in vacation mode, I didn’t really check the bill so I’m not sure if they charged us for the seconds. So don’t just go there and assume you will get unlimited free muffins). The menu is humongous. We weren’t super hungry (for once) so the hubby ordered the Hawaiian roll pulled pork sliders with jalapeños and a side of fries and I had a salad with a coconut crusted Mahi on top. There’s literally an option for everyone and service is friendly. If you happen to be in the area, pass by. You won’t regret it.
Close to Sunset Beach, you’ll find all of the watersport activities the resort offers. We used our above-mentioned $60 discount to do a couple’s parasailing. It was definitely worth it and a great end to an awesome trip. You go out on a small boat and spend a good amount of time in the air overlooking the island. The staff was super-friendly, helping us with pictures and using funny props.
Time to Say Good-Bye (..for now)
This was a perfect little weekend getaway and a very wholesome and family-friendly place. Shortly after, the island experienced some damage from Hurricane Irma but I heard that rebuild and can strongly recommend for people to visit an help the island’s tourism.