Think you’ve tried the best Miami has to offer when it comes to restaurants and bars? With so many options and the never-ending cycle of openings and closings, many of our city’s best culinary delights get lost in the shadow of celebrity chefs and flashy upscale eateries. Here I suggest four establishments to add to your must-try list, if you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting them already.
For Wine Lovers: Happy Wine
Though this modest Mom-and-pop wine shop in Calle Ocho (there is a second, fancier location in Coconut Grove) has been recognized for its caliber as a place to buy wine, it’s also a local favorite spot for lunch, happy hour, or dinner. Stop by to test out several of the more than 1,000 labels of wine (with nearly a hundred priced at less than $10) along with flavorful paninis, traditional tapas, live music and, on the weekend, steaming-fresh paella.
For the Best Strawberry Milkshake: Wayside Market
The sign outside this Pinecrest market describes it as the “Home of the Famous Strawberry Shake,” and that creamy treat—along with the spot’s fresh vegetables, fruits, homemade pies, and smoothies—has been making local families and travelers smile since 1948. Stop by on your way somewhere, or just because, to enjoy a cool snack at the welcoming outdoor tables.
For the Best Fried Fish Sandwich: La Camaronera
Guy Fieri and the Cooking Channel have done their best to ruin La Camaronera with all the attention they’ve headed on the West Flagler seafood shack, but it’s still a hidden gem with the hands-down best deep-fried fish sandwich in Miami (and, I’d venture, anywhere). The Garcia brothers have mastered classics like pan con minuta (a snapper sandwich) since 1976, when they first added fryers to their fresh fish market.
For Outstanding Indonesian Food: Indomania
Since 2007, this quaint but charming temple to Indonesian food has been making loyal patrons of those lucky enough to have discovered it. The service, under the watchful eye of the Dutch owners, is reliably warm and attentive, while the flavors burst off the plate. Standouts include the grilled chicken skewers with peanut sauce, boiled eggs in curry sauce, fresh takes on green beans and fruit slaws, and the traditional yet elaborate rijstaffel (“rice table”) spreads.
Looking for more of Miami’s best kept secrets? Contact me and I’ll let you know about the ones I’m not willing to let everyone know about.