If you live by the idea that life is to be lived for the pleasure of the five senses alone, then you are lucky to be in Miami. Miami is a heaven for anyone who loves the sun, the surf, clubs and good food and is willing to spend the extra dollar.
Here I am putting down a list of 11 favorite restaurants that I had grown to love during my stay there. Keep in mind that these are not overly expensive and are good for regular visits.
1. Joe's Stone Crab
Address: 11 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Cuisine: Crabs specialty
If you have visited Miami, and not had stone crabs at Joe's, with a side of hash browns and grilled tomatoes, you surely, have missed something very important in life. This place serves the best stone crabs known to mankind. The crabs taste best when served cold. They taste better than the best when you know their entire history-described by one of the many friendly and knowledgeable servers at Joe's. Even if you knew nothing of crabs till the time you entered the restaurant, you will return feeling like a connoisseur of these sea creatures.
Joe's Stone Crab usually has a long waiting line. You can order a drink at the bar while you wait. In view of the fact, that this restaurant is located on Collin's Avenue near South beach, a glass of Mojito would go well with the balmy sea breeze. It is a fine dining restaurant, so avoid walking up to your seat in soaked swimming clothes.
2. Johnny Rocket's
Address: 728 Ocean Dr, South Beach, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Now this is a place where you can walk up in your swimwear and not feel under-dressed. Johnny Rocket's has several branches but I loved the one on South Beach. They serve wicked onion rings and succulent chicken wings with a tartar dip. They serve some of the best milkshakes I have ever had.
Try Johnny Rocket's if you are hungry after a swim in the sea. Going by the fact that it is located right on Ocean Drive, and the rest of the eateries here are very highly priced, the prices at Johnny Rocket's are quite reasonable.
The place has male servers who also double up as dancers and suddenly start an impromptu hip-hop dance much to the customers' delight. If service is delayed, you will not notice because the parade of colorful people, walking along the Drive, keeps you engrossed.
3. Udupi Cafe
Address : 2100 N University Drive, 33322
Cuisine: South Indian
This place is very reasonably priced and a safe starting point for someone who is new to Indian cuisine. It serves fully vegetarian food, mostly South Indian. They serve palm sized dosas, idlis, phuchkas and an array of other Indian dishes. Reach there in time for the buffet. You will be so full by the end of it that driving all the way home will seem a chore. There are some great Indian grocery stores, like Sitara, nearby, from where you can buy ready to cook Indian meals if you start getting serious about exploring Indian food.
4. Taqueria Tenangos
Address: 8349 NW 12th Street, Doral, Florida 33126
This is a small joint run by a smiling couple. They were just about to close when we had reached and yet made fresh tacos since they did not want to send us away hungry. This tells a lot about how they treat their customers.
The price may seem too much going by the size of the joint. But once you taste their food, you will know why. Their tacos, the fillings and even their sauces, are freshly made. The food here is homely in its freshness, but in terms of taste, it is a match for the best Mexican joints in town. In fact, I would easily consider it a very strong contender for the top spot.
Try their fish tacos and tampiquena.
5. El Gran Inka
Address: 606 Crandon Blvd, Miami, Fl 33149
Brickell is the downtown of Miami and is full of tall offices, ostentatious hotels and elegantly dressed people. It forms a perfect backdrop for El Gran Inka, an upscale Peruvian restaurant.
The prices are on the higher side, but more often than not, you can get deals for El Gran Inka on Groupon. So the actual price that you pay is far less than the price listed on the menu.
All the dish names on the menu are in Peruvian with English translations below. This place serves some of the best ceviches and the best shrimp in white sauce that I have ever had ( called Picante de Camarones). You can also try Lomo Saltado which is a classic Peruvian preparation of beef tenderloins. Complete your meal with a dessert since the chef here takes a personal interest in whipping up Peruvian sweet dishes.
6. El Rinconcito de Santa Barbara
Address: 2050 W 56th Street, Hialeah, Fl 33016
Cuisine: Puerto Rican
The next best thing to having a mofongo in Puerto Rico, is having a mofongo at El Rinconcito de Santa Barbara. Situated in a shopping complex off Hialeah, this place is one of the happier restaurants in Miami. Daily specials are written on a slate board by the door and passionate amateur singers enliven the atmosphere in the bar area.
Order a mofongo with a side of arroz con gandules and a sangria to drink.
7. Ichiban Japanese Buffet
Address: 10832 NW 58th Street, Doral, Fl 33178
If you were wondering if Miami can serve authentic Japanese, or if your taste of Asian food wil be limited to Chinese takeaways, then do drop in at Ichiban. This place serves a carefully crafted buffet with some of the best sushis and rolls you can have in Miami- from raw to cooked. Seaweed salad is highly recommended. They have a hibachi grill where you can get food cooked to your preference of crispiness. Dessert at the end of the meal comes in the form of a variety of ice-creams, cakes and lychee.
8. The Ham and Eggery
Address: 530 NE, 167th St, Miami, Fl 33162
If you landed up in this area for some early morning work, with a growling stomach since you missed your morning breakfast, and love your food American style- then there could not be a better place than the Ham and Eggery. This place serves some of the greasiest, crispiest and fluffiest food that you will ever have in Miami. Plus it is so old that it has history literally written on its walls. Stop by here for some fish and grits and some lovey scrambled eggs and waffles. Prices are dirt cheap. This place is not high on cleanliness though.
9. Chevys Fresh Mex
Address: 8191 NW 12th St, Miami, Fl 33126
Chevys Fresh Mex serves generous portions of whatever you order. They serve quesadillas, enchiladas and fajitas-and a number of other Mexican delicacies with economic options like a three course meal where you can mix and match. They have long 'happy hours', and their drinks do not disappoint. You will love this place if you are coming with your girlfriend, your family or even with a whole bunch of friends. Plus, they have traditionally dressed musicians who play at your table as you wait for your order to arrive. The parking lot is huge, and finding a spot to park is never a problem here.
10.Catch of the Day
Address: 1050 NW LeJeune Road, Miami, Florida 33126
If you are a seafood lover, and crave a beach everywhere, my suggestion would be to drop in at this place during happy hours. This place is as close as you will get to a seaside ambience right within the city. Do not worry about variety, as this place has an 8 page-long menu full of rich promises for a seafood lover. Luckily, they deliver on their promise too. You get great seafood platters where you can get a combination of mahi mahi, shrimps, mussels, scallops and what have you. You will also get oysters, clams and shrimps in the iced raw bar. Add to it outdoor seating and live music, and you are easily transported to the beach.
Again, you will find a Groupon deal for this place every few months, so you pay a reasonable price.
Address: 8695 NW, 12th St, Doral, Florida 33126
Cuisine: American, Mexican
This place not only has some of the best food in the world, it also has unbelievable offers. For example: On Wednesdays the place serves ten of their award winning chicken wings free with every pitcher of beer. Just when you are asking yourself, 'Could it get any better?', you notice something else on their menu specials. Their happy hours start from 9 p.m. every night and continues till closing hours. Do I need to say more? Head to Flanigan's for a happy tummy and a happier pocket whenever you visit Miami.