Travel

Miami Specialty

Establishment neighborhood
La Centrale
601 S. Miami Ave., Brickell
La Centrale is a three-floor, 40,000-square-foot love letter to Italian food and wine. A total of fourteen restaurants, five bars, and a marketplace fill the space, with the entire top floor dedicated to wine. The beauty of La Centrale is that it caters to every situation. If you’re in a hurry, hit the market; if you’re starving, grab a panino to go; if you have time, sit down for a few courses. They also offer cooking classes. Despite the scale, it doesn’t feel like a mall: The rustic Tuscan décor feels welcoming and cozy rather than generic. The aromas of homemade pasta sauce are remarkably inviting, but if it's an aperitivo you’re after, Negronis are on the third floor.
Happy Place Donuts
507 Española Way, South Beach
Recently opened, Happy Donuts is a sugar palace for grown-ups. Between the café and the terrace, there are over one hundred seats, and impressively, the bakery manages to keep up. For entertainment, stand at the glass counter and watch the busy bakers churn out thousands of chewy doughnuts and tarts. Flavors like guava are something you won’t taste elsewhere, and although this is technically a doughnut shop, we’re partial to the Nutella-stuffed pastries.
All Day Coffee
1035 N. Miami Ave., Downtown Miami
All Day has won every award going, and for good reason. The food and, of course, the coffee are some of the best in Miami. All the produce is sourced as locally as possible: Bread is from the much-lauded Zak the Baker, bagels and English muffins are baked in house, and the delicately sweet honey comes from a Miami beehive. An extensive beverage program, with specialty drinks, like Joe Went to Thailand—Thai iced coffee with Xocolatl Mole bitters—is inspired. But it’s not all coffee. Chamomile tea from Egypt, silver needle white tea from Taiwan, and proper rooibos from South Africa are all fantastic. (We’re partial to the earthy turmeric golden milk.) Come hungry and split a few egg dishes—the double yolks baked in leek, spinach, and cheese with a hunk of crusty bread for dipping is our first choice every time.
Aubi & Ramsa
172 NE 41st St., Design District
Far from the bubblegum whimsy of generic ice cream shops, Aubi & Ramsa is strictly for the over-twenty-one set. The premise explores the versatility of alcohol as a sweeter flavor, in the form of ice cream. Surprisingly, the combo of sharp booze (mainly whiskey) and flavored cream really works. The orange chocolate cheesecake is infused with Glenlivet Scotch Whisky, citrusy Cointreau, and silky mascarpone cheese, while the chocolate Azteca has hints of mezcal and cinnamon. Design-wise, every detail is considered—the smooth marble counter, copper stools, and extensive selection of booze mimic the experience of sitting at a chic, low-lit bar. Meanwhile, the containers holding your scoops of choice are beautifully branded with spoons to match.
Mister Block Cafe
2621 NW 2nd Ave., Wynwood
Down a breezeway off a well-trafficked block of NW 2nd Avenue in Wynwood, Mister Block Cafe is a one-stop shop while you’re making the neighborhood rounds. Coffee is their specialty (they’ve partnered with Counter Culture), but they’ve got a solid assortment of freshly made pastries (croissants, muffins), salads, and sandwiches to go, plus a stash of ice cream sandwiches, like vegan brownie à la mode and Cookie Monster, in the freezer. The light-filled spot has several bistro tables and is outfitted with plugs for device charging; there’s a great garden out back for people-watching, too.
Dirt
232 5th St., South Beach
Dirt opened in autumn 2015, with a mission to source ingredients from local farms and bring a level of transparency to the process for customers. (Part of this is a cool map that hangs on the wall with pinpoints that highlight how much chef de cuisine Nicole Votano’s menu draws on nearby Florida farms, including organic ones as much as possible.) There are gluten-free, paleo, vegan, and kids' menus, with dishes changing somewhat seasonally but including options like an egg white and avocado mash breakfast bowl, chia pudding with coconut milk and cacao nibs, sandwiches served on Zak the Baker bread, and a kale, quinoa, and blood orange salad with cashew cream. The smoothies made with coconut meat are noteworthy. The 5th Street space has a fittingly bright, clean vibe lit by rose-gold lights, with a small juice bar in the corner, plus some tabletops if you aren’t taking your food and drink to go.
Lilikoi
500 S. Pointe Dr., South Beach
This South Beach newcomer, run by an adorable married couple from Maui, specializes in locally sourced organic health food. The menu is full of vegetarian and allergy-friendly dishes, with smoothies and acai bowls in the morning and buckwheat ramen and gluten-free pizza in the afternoon. The décor here is just as light as the food, with walls of subway tiles in the back and dainty patio tables out front—it's exactly the kind of place where you want to meet friends for lunch after a workout.
Robert Is Here
19200 SW 344th St., Homestead
Okay, so it's less of a Miami destination and more like the ultimate road trip stop on the way to the Keys, but this quirkily named fruit stand has a lot going for it. The family-owned operation traffics in rare and exotic fruits and vegetables, like apple bananas, Key limes, star fruit, dragon fruit, lychee, and passion fruit, plus plenty of strange-looking pieces you've never heard of, like Monstera deliciosa (a giant green fruit that looks like an ear of corn and tastes like a pineapple) or jackfruit, which can grow up to eighty pounds. The smoothies—which mix perfectly ripe fruit with milk or ice—are a major crowd-pleaser for the littles.
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