On any given day, I’ll get a text from a friend or a family member asking, “Where should I eat?”
If they’re in Miami Beach, there’s no shortage of great spots. That said, you can easily break the bank — and I don’t want you to do that.
This is a list of my favorite spots, places where I actually eat, my go-tos for an average Tuesday when I don’t have the time to cook for my daughters or when I want to treat myself midweek.
All over Miami-Dade county, you can find great food, from unadorned comfort classics to menus meant for special nights out. These are my can’t-miss spots on Miami Beach.
If you want to cross the bridge for other food adventures, check out my full list, ‘Here’s how to eat like a local in (almost) every neighborhood in Miami’
It’s hard to justify paying $24 for a pizza, so if you want to move on to the next recommendation, I can’t stop you. But at least hear me out: This offshoot of the original Brooklyn spot really is something special. You’ll be hard pressed to find better pizza in Miami than Lucali’s, making pies that are doughy inside, perfectly charred outside (from a cold fermentation process), and with such fresh, simple toppings. All the ingredients are imported from Italy, including the San Marzano tomatoes. But, yeah, I hear you: $24. It’s pretty big, though.
Lucali pizza, 1930 Bay Rd. Miami Beach; 305-695-4441. email@example.com
Ostensibly a noodle house, it’s where chef Jose Mendin fuses his Puerto Rican culture with Asian fare. The result is the best kind of fusion cuisine, and a can’t-miss spot on Miami Beach. I introduced a loved one to sweetbreads here, not an easy dish to love, unless a guy like Mendin is doing it. I always over-order here: pork belly bao buns, duck confit ravioli, Brussels sprouts with bacon miso, short ribs with green curry, phew! Pro tip: Ask for the sushi menu from their next-door restaurant, Pubbelly Sushi.
Pubbelly, 1418 20th St, Miami Beach
This is the way I love to eat Italian. Macchialina unleashes creativity in every Italian-inspired small plate, from meatballs to write home to Mama about, to a tiramisu topped with coffee granita that is as unique and delicious as any you will have in Miami. Yes, you can have a delicious hunk of lasagna, but the small plates meant to be shared mean you can taste so many things on the menu and not leave feeling bloated.
Macchialina, 820 Alton Rd, Miami Beach
This pizza is so good the U.S. government granted the chef an O-1 visa for “individuals with extraordinary ability,” to bring his pizza making skills stateside. Each thin-crusted, Neapolitan-style pie is made to serve one person (two if you’re not so hungry). My favorite is the Carlos (not named for me) with spicy chorizo. The “exceptional” pies are shaped into stars where each peak is stuffed with delicious ricotta cheese. I love that it’s set in a teenie-tiny eight-seat restaurant inside a nondescript office building on Miami Beach (though they have opened other locations).
Mister O1, 1680 Michigan Ave #101, Miami Beach
Via Emilia 9
I never tire of recommending this spot to folks headed to South Beach. A chef born in Bologna with several family restaurants there opened this regional northern Italian restaurant where pasta is handmade in the window every morning. He takes so much pride in his work, you can see it in the perfectly folded tortellini. The taste reflects it in dishes such as the aforementioned stuffed tortellini in cream sauce and a luscious lasagna.
Via Emilia 9, 1120 15th Street, Miami Beach