Let's face it- Miami, and especially Miami Beach, didn't have the best reputation as being a place where you can enjoy world-class cuisine. Sure, there were some good restaurants here and there, but the majority of restaurants were gimmicky, touristy, and were definitely lacking the service standards that make even casual dining a sometimes aggravating experience.
This is still somewhat the case, but, enter Brickell and Sunset Harbor- two neighborhoods that have quickly become THE place to eat well, and a few established and expertly ran NYC/Vegas/London outposts that have popped up in and around Miami Beach. Combine this with the fact that multiple mainstream food festivals are bolstering the foodie scene, and suddenly, the Miami restaurant scene seems to be improving exponentially.
In South Beach, there are two types of bad restaurants. There are the mediocre and tacky restaurants (save a few) on Lincoln Road and Ocean Drive who basically beg you to look at the menu as you walk past. Then there are the ridiculously and offensively overpriced restaurants with below-average food and hospitality that provide nothing besides a pretty place to drink a $19 mojito. But since the influx of some globally branded restaurants with a reputation for excellence, it’s no longer a challenge to find quality dining.
Sunset Harbor is easily South Beach’s best dining neighborhood. What used to be a corner of mechanical garages and storage spaces has been transformed into a pedestrian-friendly and densely concentrated grouping of amazing restaurants. If you ask any local, they will tell you that Sunset Harbor is the best place to eat.
Extending into what us locals call “Mainland”, Brickell and Wynwood are considered by many to be the future of quality dining. In Mainland you can find: beautifully authentic cuban cafeterias, coffee shops that are quintessentially “Miami”, fancy over-the-top restaurants with waterfront views and yacht docking, bohemian, open-spaced, restaurants with impressive craft beer selections, art galleries serving amazing gourmet food, delicious bakeries making latin inspired delicacies, and tasty food trucks. The diversity alone makes me drool.
The annual presence of the South Beach Seafood Festival and South Beach Food and Wine Festival have raised the bar for restaurants and consumers who seek the best, freshest, and tastiest ingredients. In addition, the range of cuisine has expanded to include Greek, Thai, and a some other previously underrepresented fare. With so much variety, and a new standard of service and dining, eating in Miami is fun, exciting and oh so satisfying!