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Stone Crab, Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant, Miami Beach Photo by Hoberman Collection/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Miami’s 12 Most Iconic Restaurant Dishes

The Magic City’s signature dishes that are worth seeking out.

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Miami’s most iconic dishes are part of the memory of many people. Multiculturalism is woven into many aspects of the Magic City’s life and culinary destinations reflect this in their menus of offerings.

Some of these eclectic food items have evolved to become the most beloved among the locals and helped create the identity of Miami’s unique scene. From simple snacks to dishes that capture the hearts, souls, and stomachs across the city can be found in almost every neighborhood, be it at corner snack restaurants as well as in fancy establishments. This is bucket list of Miami’s 12 most essential dishes to enjoy now and again.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Arepas at Doggi's Arepa Bar

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7281 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33138
(786) 558-9538
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Several Latin American countries have made the arepas an integral part of their cuisine. Made of pre-cooked corn flour (masarepa) and water these crispy, hearty pancakes are grilled and then stuffed with everything from avocado to meat to cheese making for a light meal or hand-held dish to eat on-the-go. Miamians are serious about their arepa fix and Doggi’s serves some of the best iterations in town including a Mexican version filled with churrasco, avocado, and pico de gallo. 

2. Jerk Chicken at Clive's Cafe

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5890 NW 2nd Ave
Miami, FL 33127
(305) 757-6512
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Caribbean flavor profiles are one of the foundations of Miami’s culinary landscape and for more than four decades locals have been visiting Clive’s for a proper Jamaican experience. The no-frills restaurant is known for its jerk chicken featuring fragrant, fiery hot, and smoky flavors all at once. Owner Pearline “Miss Pearl” Murray offers the soulful dish during lunch and dinner service accompanied by two sides such as potato salad and plantains or a hearty portion of rice and peas. 

3. Avocado Pizza at Malibu Farm Miami Beach

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4525 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33140
(786) 961-6043
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It is unwise to visit oceanfront restaurant Malibu Farm and not order the avocado pizza. Helene Henderson’s green pie is a major Miami hit that is covered with a vibrant layer of avocado slices spread in place of sauce that’s topped with a refreshing jalapeno ricotta, a kick of cilantro and lime, and a sweet drizzle of agave. The wood-fired crust is light, crispy, and in perfect balance with the fine-tuned melange of flavors.

4. Late-Night Sandwich at La Sandwicherie Miami Beach

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229 14th St
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 532-8934
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La Sandwicherie has been the place to go for a late-night meal in South Beach since the height of Miami Beach’s ‘90s nightclub era. The large sandwiches are created on a baguette filled by pate, brie cheese, lettuce, and tomato, topped by a wildly popular French vinaigrette (also sold onsite by the bottle) and served until 5 a.m. every day.

5. Fish Sandwich at Garcia's Seafood Grille & Fish Market

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398 NW N River Dr
Miami, FL 33128
(305) 375-0765
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Fish sandwiches are a staple at this seafood favorite that’s part fish market and part restaurant, which boasts enviable views of the Miami River. Highlights include the mahi mahi wrap with rice and beans and fried shrimp served with french fries, tostones, and grilled vegetables. 

6. Stone Crabs at Joe's

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11 Washington Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 673-0365
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A seasonal meal of stone crabs at Joe’s is an experience every Miamian should have at least once. The restaurant that prides itself in discovering the sought-after crustacean some 100+ years ago is still serving them every season in its iconic South Beach location. The claws are served chilled, cracked, and served with its equally as popular mustard sauce, as it should be.

7. Pastelitos at Versailles Cuban Bakery

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3501 SW 8th St
Miami, FL 33135
(305) 441-2500
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Pastelitos are flaky turnover-style pastries made from a thin dough that is crimped at the edges and fried. In Miami the Cuban pastry is eaten for breakfast, lunch, and even as dessert. Versailles bakery packs its ventanita (a small walk-up window serving coffee and pastries) with its best sellers—sold for a dollar each—in beef, picadillo, coconut, and guava and cheese varieties. 

8. Frita at El Mago De Las Fritas

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5828 SW 8th St
Miami, FL 33144
(305) 266-8486

There are several must-eat burgers in Miami, but there is something about the tried at true pork and beef mixture that makes up the Cuban frita. The magic is simple: a single or double patty, a soft bun, toppings of handmade potato sticks, fried egg, croquetas, and cheese. El Mago de Las Fritas on Calle Ocho lives up to its “wizard of the fritas” name with the “Big Magic,” an over-the-top iteration that uses fried tostones as the middle bun.

9. Guava and Cheese Pancakes at Bachour

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2020 Salzedo St
Miami, FL 33134
(305) 203-0552
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Puerto Rican pastry pro Antonio Bachour has tackled two of Miami’s most constant cravings with his satisfying dish of guava and cheese pancakes. The sweet-savory combo is most commonly offered as a pastelito filling, but Bachour honors Miamians love for brunch by combining layers of the sticky-sweet tropical fruit and cream cheese between a fat stack of golden pancakes.

10. Empanadas at Graziano's Market

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2301 Galiano St
Coral Gables, FL 33134
(305) 460-0001
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Miami has no shortage of tasty empanadas to choose from, but the version at Graziano’s reign supreme. The savory turnovers here are offered Argentine-style and loaded with everything from cheese and tomatoes to chorizo then baked just right until golden. 

11. Croquetas at Islas Canarias Restaurant

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13695 SW 26th St
Miami, FL 33175
(305) 559-6666
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Miamians always have room in their stomachs for a croqueta or two. The bite-sized fried roll is a mouthful of flavors and textures with its crispy exterior of breadcrumbs giving way to a creamy, delicately spiced core of meat, fish, or vegetables. Islas Canarias has been serving the city an old-school Cuban iteration of the snack for more than four decades, and its heart-shaped croqueta box is one of the most coveted local Valentine’s Day gifts in town. 

12. Fried Gator at Kush Coconut Grove

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2911 Grand Ave #400d
Coconut Grove, FL 33133
(305) 456-5723
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Matt Kusher’s restaurants are known for a few things, one being its preparation of Florida alligator. Crispy on the outside and moist and tender in the inside, the intriguing morsels come to the table ready to dip into creamy garlic and spicy mayo.

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1. Arepas at Doggi's Arepa Bar

7281 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33138

Several Latin American countries have made the arepas an integral part of their cuisine. Made of pre-cooked corn flour (masarepa) and water these crispy, hearty pancakes are grilled and then stuffed with everything from avocado to meat to cheese making for a light meal or hand-held dish to eat on-the-go. Miamians are serious about their arepa fix and Doggi’s serves some of the best iterations in town including a Mexican version filled with churrasco, avocado, and pico de gallo. 

7281 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33138

2. Jerk Chicken at Clive's Cafe

5890 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127

Caribbean flavor profiles are one of the foundations of Miami’s culinary landscape and for more than four decades locals have been visiting Clive’s for a proper Jamaican experience. The no-frills restaurant is known for its jerk chicken featuring fragrant, fiery hot, and smoky flavors all at once. Owner Pearline “Miss Pearl” Murray offers the soulful dish during lunch and dinner service accompanied by two sides such as potato salad and plantains or a hearty portion of rice and peas. 

5890 NW 2nd Ave
Miami, FL 33127

3. Avocado Pizza at Malibu Farm Miami Beach

4525 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140

It is unwise to visit oceanfront restaurant Malibu Farm and not order the avocado pizza. Helene Henderson’s green pie is a major Miami hit that is covered with a vibrant layer of avocado slices spread in place of sauce that’s topped with a refreshing jalapeno ricotta, a kick of cilantro and lime, and a sweet drizzle of agave. The wood-fired crust is light, crispy, and in perfect balance with the fine-tuned melange of flavors.

4525 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33140

4. Late-Night Sandwich at La Sandwicherie Miami Beach

229 14th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139

La Sandwicherie has been the place to go for a late-night meal in South Beach since the height of Miami Beach’s ‘90s nightclub era. The large sandwiches are created on a baguette filled by pate, brie cheese, lettuce, and tomato, topped by a wildly popular French vinaigrette (also sold onsite by the bottle) and served until 5 a.m. every day.

229 14th St
Miami Beach, FL 33139

5. Fish Sandwich at Garcia's Seafood Grille & Fish Market

398 NW N River Dr, Miami, FL 33128

Fish sandwiches are a staple at this seafood favorite that’s part fish market and part restaurant, which boasts enviable views of the Miami River. Highlights include the mahi mahi wrap with rice and beans and fried shrimp served with french fries, tostones, and grilled vegetables. 

398 NW N River Dr
Miami, FL 33128

6. Stone Crabs at Joe's

11 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

A seasonal meal of stone crabs at Joe’s is an experience every Miamian should have at least once. The restaurant that prides itself in discovering the sought-after crustacean some 100+ years ago is still serving them every season in its iconic South Beach location. The claws are served chilled, cracked, and served with its equally as popular mustard sauce, as it should be.

11 Washington Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139

7. Pastelitos at Versailles Cuban Bakery

3501 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135

Pastelitos are flaky turnover-style pastries made from a thin dough that is crimped at the edges and fried. In Miami the Cuban pastry is eaten for breakfast, lunch, and even as dessert. Versailles bakery packs its ventanita (a small walk-up window serving coffee and pastries) with its best sellers—sold for a dollar each—in beef, picadillo, coconut, and guava and cheese varieties. 

3501 SW 8th St
Miami, FL 33135

8. Frita at El Mago De Las Fritas

5828 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33144

There are several must-eat burgers in Miami, but there is something about the tried at true pork and beef mixture that makes up the Cuban frita. The magic is simple: a single or double patty, a soft bun, toppings of handmade potato sticks, fried egg, croquetas, and cheese. El Mago de Las Fritas on Calle Ocho lives up to its “wizard of the fritas” name with the “Big Magic,” an over-the-top iteration that uses fried tostones as the middle bun.

5828 SW 8th St
Miami, FL 33144

9. Guava and Cheese Pancakes at Bachour

2020 Salzedo St, Miami, FL 33134

Puerto Rican pastry pro Antonio Bachour has tackled two of Miami’s most constant cravings with his satisfying dish of guava and cheese pancakes. The sweet-savory combo is most commonly offered as a pastelito filling, but Bachour honors Miamians love for brunch by combining layers of the sticky-sweet tropical fruit and cream cheese between a fat stack of golden pancakes.

2020 Salzedo St
Miami, FL 33134

10. Empanadas at Graziano's Market

2301 Galiano St, Coral Gables, FL 33134

Miami has no shortage of tasty empanadas to choose from, but the version at Graziano’s reign supreme. The savory turnovers here are offered Argentine-style and loaded with everything from cheese and tomatoes to chorizo then baked just right until golden. 

2301 Galiano St
Coral Gables, FL 33134

11. Croquetas at Islas Canarias Restaurant

13695 SW 26th St, Miami, FL 33175

Miamians always have room in their stomachs for a croqueta or two. The bite-sized fried roll is a mouthful of flavors and textures with its crispy exterior of breadcrumbs giving way to a creamy, delicately spiced core of meat, fish, or vegetables. Islas Canarias has been serving the city an old-school Cuban iteration of the snack for more than four decades, and its heart-shaped croqueta box is one of the most coveted local Valentine’s Day gifts in town. 

13695 SW 26th St
Miami, FL 33175

12. Fried Gator at Kush Coconut Grove

2911 Grand Ave #400d, Coconut Grove, FL 33133

Matt Kusher’s restaurants are known for a few things, one being its preparation of Florida alligator. Crispy on the outside and moist and tender in the inside, the intriguing morsels come to the table ready to dip into creamy garlic and spicy mayo.

2911 Grand Ave #400d
Coconut Grove, FL 33133

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