Miami Essentials

Find out the best places to go in Miami for whatever it is you want to do.

Food and Drink Essentials: Best Places to...

BUY GROCERIES

  • Laurenzo's Italian Market, 16385 W. Dixie Highway, North Miami Beach
    Since 1951, Laurenzo’s has been supplying fresh pasta, meats and fish to the Miami area. With a green market adjacent and a small indoor cafe, it’s a great place to eat lunch and shop.
  • Epicure Market, 1656 Alton Road, Miami Beach, and 18236 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach
    Along with high-end gourmet food and organics, the South Beach market also has a small cafe inside with a great cheese and wine selection and out-of-this-world desserts. Try the key lime pie.
  • Gardner’s Market, 7301 SW 57th Ave., South Miami
    This cute little gourmet shop has a couple of tables for in-house munchies.

BUY FRUIT AND VEGGIES

  • Robert Is Here, 19200 SW 344th St., Homestead
    It’s worth the trip. This landmark in the agricultural area offers fresh-from-the-field veggies, local honey and the best key lime milkshakes.
  • El Palacio De Los Jugos, 5721 W. Flagler St., Miami
    This gathering place for Cuban exiles is so much more than a fresh-fruit “juice palace.” Check out the fully stocked produce market. Sample the excellent batidos (shakes) and some of the best fried plantains in town.

GRAB A LATE NIGHT BITE

  • Hiro’s Yakko-San, 17040-46 West Dixie Highway, North Miami Beach
    This authentic, but incredibly affordable, Japanese restaurant is the late-night haunt for off-duty sushi chefs and Miami foodies. Food and Wine just named it one of the best restaurants in the United States. Insider’s tip: If you’re in a small party, ask for a seat at the bar and watch Hiro’s excellent crew work their magic while sucking down a “flight’’ of sake samples.
  • Yambo Restaurant Tipico Nicaraguense, 1643 SW First St., Miami
    Figuring out how to order at this 24/7 restaurant with one of the craziest outdoor dining areas you’ll ever encounter can be a bit daunting for those who don’t speak a lick of Spanish. But the food, plentiful and cheap, is well worth it. Don’t miss the pescazones, fried potato balls brimming with chayote and cheese. It also has an original Ms. Pac-Man machine.

GRAB AN EARLY BITE

  • Happy Wine, 5792 SW Eighth St., Miami
    Grab a bottle off the shelves, pay a $1 corkage fee, grab a seat at one of the tables made from casks and crates and then dig into some of the best tapas in town. On Saturday afternoons, Cuban musicians provide a live soundtrack.
  • Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market, 398 NW River Drive, Miami
    Garcia’s is home of Miami’s best grouper sandwich. Take a lazy, long lunch on the “working” end of the Miami River. Enjoy your black beans and rice and a chilled beer on the waterfront deck as a freighter bound for Haiti passes by. It’s a lunchtime favorite for cops, judges, firefighters and local politicians.

SIP A LATTE

There are plenty of strip malls and shopping centers for cafe fiends to find their Starbucks and other franchised baristavilles. But if you really want that authentic Miami-style jolt of caffeine, you need to learn your way around the Cuban cafe culture. 

Entertainment Essentials: Best Places to...

HAVE FUN FOR FREE

  • People watching on Lincoln Road, South Beach
    This pedestrian mall is the place to see everyone from celebrities to your neighbor. Halloween night is better than a Broadway show, and it’s just as crowded.
  • Ride the downtown Metromover
    International bankers and lawyers in suits rub elbows with construction workers, community college students, bicycle messengers and multilingual song stylists. Try not to make too much eye contact as you take in an unparalleled view of downtown Miami.

AVOID THE TOURISTS

  • Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami
    The self-proclaimed “Cradle of Indie Music” in the Magic City, this English pub is located deep in the heart of Little Haiti. Multiband bills nearly every night and English football on the satellite. It’s perfect.
  • Tobacco Road, 626 S. Miami Ave., Miami
    This is a historic dive. The city’s Liquor License No. 1 is still posted over the bar. A great place to hang out, the crowd tends to skew a little older than the throbbing dance clubs. Sample excellent burgers and ribs inside, and listen to rocking music upstairs and on the patio on the weekends.
  • Happy’s Stork, 1872 79th Street Causeway, North Bay Village
    Look in the dictionary under “cheap cive” and you will find a pencil-dot drawing of the Stork. Not for the faint of heart, but great for the thirsty and light of wallet.

ENTERTAIN THE KIDS

  • Mattheson Hammock, 9610 Old Cutler Road, Miami
    The beachfront park is open from sunrise to sunset. This tropical haven is a regular spot for families. It also has a restaurant built in a historic coral rock building.
  • Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road, Miami
    Walk or take a tram to see gorgeous exotic plants and trees. Don’t miss the International Mango Festival in July.

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