Indulge

Be it mac and cheese or gooey queso fundido, Miami’s top 6 cheese dishes always make us melt

Bakan's menu features three queso fundido options, each as delicious as next.

We may be a city filled with beautiful bikini-clad people, but that doesn’t mean we won’t do an extra hour at the gym just to be able to indulge in delightfully rich and comforting dishes without a drop of regret. Many of these dishes have a starring ingredient — cheese.

No matter what form it comes in, anything crowned with melted cheese pleases the masses, whether they be selective eaters or not. In a city with seemingly endless options of gastronomic temptations, we’ve narrowed down the list of must-try cheese dishes that are as highly enjoyable as they are highly caloric.

But that’s what 24-hour gyms are for.

BAKAN

The menu at this thriving Mexican newcomer in Wynwood showcases a flair for authentic cuisine focused largely around the grill. Start with an order of Queso Fundido Poblano, and you’ll get a casserole bubbling with Oaxacan and Chihuahua cheeses, poblano mushrooms, onion, corn and epazote, a Mexican spice similar to thyme. There’s also Queso Fundido with Chorizo, for those craving a slightly spicier bite. Both dishes arrive with the restaurant’s signature Nixtamal blue corn chips — grilled, not fried — so there’s less guilt about extra scooping.

2801 Northwest 2nd Avenue, Miami; bakanwynwood.com.

CHEF ADRIANNE’S VINEYARD RESTAURANT AND WINE BAR

If Instagram hadn’t been invented yet, it would have been created just for this dish. Onions are caramelized with fresh thyme and crushed red pepper before simmering in a rich stock that’s given a splash of cognac in the end.

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Felipe Cuevas. French onion soup at Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar.

But it’s that topping of bubbling cheese, a blend of Provolone, Gruyere and Mozzarella (for extra cheesy effect) over crusty baguette, that will bring you to your knees. Don’t forget to snap a picture as you experience the ultimate #foodporn.

11510 Southwest 147th Avenue, Miami; chefadriannes.com.

RED, THE STEAKHOUSE

The newly launched four mac-andcheese sampler extravaganza from RED South Beach presents a tour de force of flavor profiles — truffle, lobster, king crab and bacon. The base for all four powerhouses is a decadent creamy combo of four Italian cheeses: Parmesan Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, Fontina Val d’Aosta and Raclette.

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Felipe Cuevas. Red the Steakhouse’s scrumptious mac ‘n’ cheese.

Owner/chef Peter Vauthy felt it was befitting to incorporate a childhood favorite to the restaurant. “We all grew up on mac ‘n’ cheese” he says. “For RED we needed to take it to the next level. That meant world-class cheeses, red Alaskan king crab, bacon, Maine lobster and white truffles: mac and cheese fit for a king.”

119 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach; redthesteakhouse.com.



DOGGI’S AREPA BAR

What started as a hot dog stand in 2010 (hence the name “Doggi’s”) grew into a successful restaurant with multiple locations featuring Venezuelan favorites, including the cachapa con queso.

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Felipe Cuevas. The traditional Cachapa con Queso at Doggi’s.

This popular street food has gained a loyal following in Miami as more venezolanos arrive and spread the good word. A soft, sweet corn pancake is folded like an omelet after fresh white cheese called queso de mano is tucked inside. Afterward, the whole thing is crowned with nata, or fresh cream, for a Venezuela-style ooey-gooey, comforting experience.

For a list of locations, please visit eatdoggis.com.



VISTA

Chilean-born chef de cuisine Giuliano Leverone has traveled the globe since he was a child. One spot that made a particular impression was Switzerland, where he spent time as a kid. There, he fell in love with raclette, a semi-hard Swiss cheese typically prepared by slicing the large wheel in half, heating it to bubbling perfection, then scraping off the perfectly melted nutty cheese onto diners’ plates.

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Felipe Cuevas. It’s all about the process of cheese wheel-to-plate at Vista.
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When chef Roberto Bearzi opened this breezy, stylish Italian-inspired eatery in Upper Buena Vista, Leverone insisted on bringing the fabled cheese dish here. In Switzerland, it is typically paired with boiled potatoes, but Leverone one-upped it by serving the cheese tableside over crispy french fries, which are hand cut every day. The result is an addictive combo that will happily hijack the pleasure center of your brain.

5020 Northeast 2nd Avenue, Miami; vistamiamirestaurant.com.



THE ALLEY

You didn’t think there was going to be a cheese list without pizza, did you? For this category, favorites are hard to pin down. Everyone has their local winner for sure, but The Alley, the compact, friendly Miami Beach eatery tucked away from crowded Collins Avenue is a win. Prepare to swoon over the pepperoni option or the Quattro Formaggi e Sishito pie.

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The Alley's cult favorite pepperoni pizza.

It’s made with a generous lineup of Italian bests (fontina, rabiola, taleggio and mozzarella) then crowned with sliced shishito peppers for subtle heat making the whole experience happily linger.

1433 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; thebetsyhotel.com/dine/the-alley.

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