While Miami is synonymous with Cuban flavor and high priced clubs, locals know there is much more to this city. Here are 10 Miami and South Florida indie eating and drinking establishments that you should discover for yourself.
While Miami is synonymous with Cuban flavor and high priced clubs, locals know there is much more to this city.
We asked our friends at Trazzler to put together a list of their 10 most favorite Miami and South Florida indie eating and drinking establishments that are worth discovering on your own.
Eating & Drinking In Miami
Where To Eat & Drink Like A Local In Miami (PHOTOS)
If you’ve never tasted churros, you’ve been missing out on strips of warm, deep-fried dough topped off with a truckload of sugar.
To remedy this, head to La Palma Restaurant, a no-frills Cuban eatery where locals gather on “cold” Miami nights to indulge in the ultra-fattening but highly satisfying treat. Order at the window and sit outdoors on the front patio, dipping your churros—doughy on the inside yet crunchy on the outside—into a requisite cup of La Palma’s thick, flavorful hot chocolate. This Miami tradition is as much about the communal experience as it is about the sugar high and will leave you feeling literally and figuratively warmer.
Hard to find but impossible to miss, Jimbo's joint is the place to order up an ice-cold beer and the only edible item on the menu: spectacular smoked fish.
Surrounded by vibrant shacks, sometimes occupied by rowdy live bands, this watering hole shares space with equally colorful wildlife. Roosters, chicken, dogs, herons, and pelicans are aplenty, and if you're lucky, you may just spot an endangered manatee in the lagoon. Talk about a place with spunk! So enjoy the sights—the "usual" suspects provide great people watching—and you'll feel delightfully disconnected from civilization.
Obliterate a heaping plate of comfort food as only one who has been drinking since sundown the day before can. Big Pink, Miami’s sexed-up version of a classic American diner, offers roughly a zillion under-$10 options to satisfy any hangover hankering, including all-day breakfast, home-cooked classics, and blackout-inducing desserts. Walking distance from the beach’s most glamorous (read: pretentious) clubs, the always-bustling diner opens its doors to those who blew their entire beach budget on a sparkler-stuffed bottle of Grey Goose and now have stomachs as empty as their wallets. So, next time you fall facedown into a cab, tell the driver "Big Pink," knowing you’re only moments away from salvation in the form of the famed "Thanksgiving on a Roll."
Tucked away along the intracoastal waterway is a restaurant that looks—to the casual passerby—like a mess of driftwood piled among friendly, intertwining treehouses.
But as locals have known for the last 32 years, beyond the worn wooden fence lies what GQ magazine in 2006 called the country's best burger. The 13-ounce sirloin giant is a task to take on, but a gleeful one. No one seems to notice the sometimes hour-long wait, as the view of water and wildlife more than fill the time. Built by hand from driftwood, plus flotsam and jetsam literally picked off the nearby beach by the original owner, diners feel as through they're less in a restaurant and more in tropical jungle, over-looking the calm bay. Fish jump, birds sing, and geckos scurry along the branches, all seemingly enjoying the large, sizzling smells from the small open kitchen as much as the patrons. Reservations are not accepted, nor are credit cards, as the casual atmosphere and laid-back surroundings engulf the entire experience. You may never enjoy a meal in a more unique locale anywhere, which is why Le Tub, without ever advertising, is South Florida's worst kept secret.
When people visit Miami they come for the sunny beaches and high priced clubs—only the locals know there is much more than fancy cars and flashy lights to this city. One of our hidden treasures is definitely Arbetters.
Located in the heart of Bird Road you will find the most delicious hot dog and cheese fries combination your taste buds have ever experienced. For a small price you will be a handed a juicy hot dog served on a fresh warm bun covered with all your favorite toppings—from homemade chili to crispy onions; and on the side a plate of gooey fries overflowing with lava-like cheese. Each bite is nostalgia inducing, taking you back to your days as a kid in summer vacation. All this eating is sure to make you thirsty so just say the words “I love Larry Bird” and enjoy a refill on the house.
A Miami establishment graced by generations of post-ballet-recital kids, UM students, and displaced Miami natives who return on every trip home, Whip N' Dip continues to indulge the sweet tooth of South Miami.
Churning out homemade ice cream for over 25 years, the only noticeable change at this family-run shop is in your own reflection in the white tile floor as you stand in line debating your choices. Will I indulge in the cookie crumble today, or stick with old trusty, fro-yo in a cup? Wooden benches lining the exterior serve as a perfect stop to observe locals enjoying conversation over a much needed icy reprieve from a hot Miami afternoon.
Deflect the over-the-top commercialism and upscale (and often overpriced) cuisine of South Beach and head straight to Puerto Sagua for an affordable Cuban feast without the hike to Little Havana. Mirrors brighten and enlarge the simple dining space as you pile seasoned black beans upon mounds of fluffy white rice and tear into expertly charred chicken and succulent ropa vieja, all washed down with a frosty mug of Cuban Tropical beer.
Follow the locals' lead and come here to fill your belly after a night of clubbing, or walk to nearby Lummus Park and savor your meal on South Beach's famous shoreline under an apricot- and coral-colored sunset.
Ted’s Hideaway may be an offshoot of Ocean Drive, but don’t be fooled by its glitzy South Beach address. Ted’s is a dive bar at its dive-iest, unapologetically serving up good-enough drinks, almost-good-enough bar fare, a sturdy pool table, and a jukebox to salty locals. Cheap drinks and fast, friendly, all-female bartenders compensate for the sticky floors and sketchy restrooms (a sign on the wall warns, "Those found with illegal substances will be escorted from the premises.").
Don’t try to impress your neighbors—they’re more concerned with the Fins game blaring on the screen than the celeb du jour strutting past. Catch a buzz on the cheap, and stroll next door to Big Pink for your drunk grub.
Quite literally a hole in the wall, the Keg South is invisible from US-1. Tucked in the crevice of a murky alley, its neon sign is blocked by a billboard pole with the girth of a redwood. You mosey into the dim, cavelike bar, surrounded in every direction by decades-old wood paneling and grizzled bikers eyeing you over devil dogs and glistening piles of hand-cut fries. But don’t come here starting any trouble—if you try, bartender Steve-O explains, the Keg’s passive patrons would laugh you straight out of the place.
Throwing down legendary wings, burgers, dolphin sandwiches, and the freshest draft beer in town, the Keg South pays tribute, with its gloriously greasy fodder and atmosphere, to the real renegades who started Miami.
The stylish antithesis to the mega-clubs that surround it, the Florida Room is the posh speakeasy where hipsters come to vibe. Cutting through a silky curtain of cigarette smoke and electric energy, you navigate your way to the bar where famed mixologists craft classy Cubanesque cocktails for around $18. Musicians, like funky scenester favorites The Big Bounce, tinkle away on the iconic Lucite piano and make a packed room sway with fresh combinations of rock, blues, and hip-hop. Lit only by the glow cast from its bronze ceilings, crystal chandelier, and perfectly pretty people, the Florida Room exudes the classic glamor and exclusivity other Miami Beach clubs only imitate.