Whether you're in Miami for vacation or looking to expand your culinary horizons within the 305, here's a few quintessential cuisines that make Miami the melting pot of culture (in my opinion). This is for the people that really want to get passed the tourist traps and really enjoy the rich diverse culture of the Miami food scene.
Miami is filled with the diaspora from all over the Caribbean, central and south America. These cultures have found a home in the 305 and brought their delicious cuisines with them.
My heritage may be Cuban and Colombian, but my love of Nicaraguan fritanga knows no bounds. I should start by explaining that a fritanga is a Nicaraguan cafeteria that serves traditional Nicaraguan dishes. Most of these places are take-out only and are meant to offer quick service for working class individuals.
The food is served in to-go containers and range in price from $10-$15. My order is always gallo pinto, fried sweet plantains, carne asada and extra queso frito. My favorite places to pick up Fritanga are Fritanga El Malecon, Fritanga Caña Brava, Pinolandia (the one located on NW 12the ave in Miami) and Fritanga Hermanos Mendoza.
Cuban food, my first love. Whether its a croqueta preparada sandwich from Sanguich De Miami, a frita a caballo from El Rey De Las Fritas or some Vaca Frita with congri from Molina's Ranch. Grab yourself a pan con bistec from Mary's Coin Laundry or Enriquetas. If you're from out of town and are looking for great cuban food, PLEASE steer clear from
Versailles the tourist traps.
Another Miami must is the Cuban ventanita experience. Getting a cafecito through an open window at a local cafeteria is an experience unique to south Florida.
If you didn't have real Cuban food in the 305, were you really in the 305?
Whether its drowning your sorrows in a choriperro from Los Verdes at 2am or a salchipapa basket from Monster Burgers food truck. You have to try Colombian food in Miami. If you're hangry, get yourself a bandeja paisa or a mondongo from Los Arrieros or Pollo Brasa y Sazon.
If you're looking for something small to try, have a Colombian empanada, buñuelo or a pan de bono from a Colombian Bakery like Los Tres Monitos or Pandebono Bakery.
Not to be confused with Colombian arepas! Venezuelan arepas use the same masa as Colombian but instead of serving these white corn cakes as a side item, they serve the meal INSIDE the arepa. They use the arepa as a bun of sorts and stuff all sorts of meats inside.
My favorite is the Pabellon arepa, which is an entire meal consisting of black beans, fried sweet plantains, shredded beef and cheese stuffed into an arepa. My personal favorite places to pick one up is La Latina and Doggi's
In the last 10 years, asian dining in Miami has flourished. I use the term "Asian" as an umbrella term for the growing Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Thai and Chinese cuisines here in the 305. Whether it's pho at Phuc Yea, Khao Soi from Lung Yai, dim sum from Kon Chau or ramen at InRamen, there are so many places to enjoy different types of Asian cuisine in Miami.
Whether you're dining at a high-end peruvian restaurant like La Mar or visiting a hole in the wall like Aromas Del Peru, this is a cuisine you will not want to visit while visiting Miami. Looking for a peruvian brunch, hit up Pisco y Nazca. Interested in a more trendy setting, try Divino Ceviche or Dr Limon.
Wether you're visiting Miami for a few days or looking for new restaurants to try in town as a new transplant. Miami has many delicious cuisines to try. These are all the foods you must try in Miami to really get a great understanding of the diverse melting pot that is Miami and Miami Beach.