If you know anything about Miami, a few things probably come to mind: the non-stop nightlife, beautiful beaches, and Latin American influences. Unsurprisingly, these Latin American, especially Cuban, and seaside influences also show up in foods from Miami. While you’re taking in the music and rhythms of the city, make sure you check out the foods in Miami as well!
What’s Special About Foods In Miami?
Miami cuisine is special because it pulls in diverse influences, with notes from American, Caribbean, and Latin American flavors. Out of many Miami foods, you’ll find traces of the immigrant communities that give the city its energy. You can expect many staples of South America, Cuba, and the Caribbean to appear here, with a distinctly Floridian twist.
You may even hear food of Miami referred to as “Floribean” cuisine, a nod to the mix of Caribbean and American flavors. While there is a lot of famous Miami food to try, there are also fun neighborhoods and landmarks to explore while you do so.
From Little Havana, boasting amazing Cuban dishes, to South Beach, with beautiful scenery and delicious food, there is more than enough to explore when it comes to traditional Miami foods.
Take advantage of the various top food tours in Miami to really dive into the local gastronomy.
Most Famous Miami Food
What food is Miami known for if not churrasco? Of all the famous foods in Miami, Churrasco stands out as a hearty dish. Churrasco is a grilled skirt steak, popular in Brazil and South America more broadly. Though it is integral to Miami cuisine, this cooking style originated in Brazil.
This grilling method rose to popularity in Brazil, following the migration of the gauchos in the 1800s. When it is served in Miami, you can expect the churrasco cooked over an open flame and served with chimichurri sauce. Chimichurri sauce is also a Latin American classic, combining red wine vinegar, parsley, olive oil, and garlic.
This dish brings together some of the most popular flavors of Latin America, making it the most famous food in Miami. Make sure you don’t miss out on trying this traditional Miami food!
Famous Foods From Miami – Seafood Dishes
Although ceviche originated in Peru, you can enjoy some exceptional variations closer to home in Miami. Since there is such great seafood available in Miami, this raw fish dish is a hit. Traditionally seasoned with chopped onion, salt, coriander, and chili peppers, this famous food of Miami is a great way to enjoy the flavors of the ocean.
Many restaurants by the coast have this on their menu, bringing fresh seafood and Latin flair to the restaurants of Miami. If you’re a seafood lover, this is a not-to-miss food in Miami.
With the city kissing the ocean, it’s no wonder Miami cuisine features some excellent seafood like stone crabs. Stone crabs are widely available in the city and are renowned for their taste and texture. Although you can eat all the meat in a stone crab, they are sought after for their sweet, tender claw meat.
Since crab meat is versatile, there are many ways to prepare it depending on what you’re in the mood for. Have it simple and steamed to enjoy the fresh flavor or appreciate it in a crab cocktail or crab cake. There are plenty of places in South Beach to enjoy this gem of Miami foods.
Flakey, salty, and delicious, this fish dish puts a fresh, snappy spin on seafood in Miami. Snapper is known for its delicate, mild flavor, owing to its white fish meat. It also has a lean, firm texture that makes it very enjoyable.
You can find snappers served simply on a plate or in a variety of preparations, from small bites to fish sandwiches. That is why it is a staple in Miami cooking. This also exhibits the diversity of food from Miami, since the regular spices used represent a wide range of cultures.
With so many other seafood dishes, it should be no surprise that fish tacos are high on the menu of Miami foods. The Mexican influences combined with the fresh seafood make for incredible fish tacos, in restaurants as well as stands throughout the city. If you enjoy fish, make sure to grab at least one delicious fish taco!
While there are plenty of places to enjoy fish tacos in Miami, one of the local favorite locations is in Wynwood. But Wynwood has more to offer than just fish tacos, so if you’re interested, make sure that you check out one of the local Wynwood food tours.
Another seafood dish that ranks among the top foods from Miami: conch fritters! Conch fritters are small pieces of conch meat that are deep-fried. Conch is a specific kind of seafood that comes from an oversized sea snail that can be found in the Florida Keys.
These tasty fritters have a similar flavor to salmon, scallops, or escargot; they are extremely popular as an appetizer or a crowd-pleasing finger food. Sometimes the conch fritters have spicy peppers incorporated in the meat to give it an extra kick (and dipping sauces to tamp down that extra heat).
Latin Foods In Miami
This famous food in Miami goes without saying: the Cuban sandwich brings together roast pork, ham, swiss cheese, mustard, and pickles. The sandwich grew to prominence in Miami when Cuban exiles and expatriates brought it with them. At the time it was a popular and affordable lunch for immigrant populations, now it is among the foods of Miami that shouldn’t be missed.
You can try Cuban Sandwiches and other notable food from Miami in the Little Havana neighborhood! There are many gems in this district and the easiest way to hit all the best spots is to go on a Little Havana food tour.
If you want to see a different side of Cuban sandwiches, give the Medianoche a try! These sandwiches don’t approach the popularity of the traditional Cuban sandwich, but they are just as good and deserve a mention on a list of foods from Miami.
Medianoches are made with pan suave, a sweet egg bread, with roast pork, ham, mustard, swiss cheese, and sweet pickles inside. This Miami food name means “Midnights” in Spanish, fitting because it is extremely popular around Miami nightspots. Make sure you grab a bite of this delish Miami food!
For a tasty fried snack, try this famous food in Miami. Tostones are double-fried plantain slices of primarily Dominican origin. The name comes from the word, tostón, which refers to the Spanish currency used during the colonial period in the Dominican Republic.
In order to make this dish, the plantains need to be unripe, peeled, and sliced. Generally, they are fried in butter, giving a delicious, savory flavor. After being fried, the plantain slices are flattened with a special utensil, before being fried again and covered with salt. This gives them their flattened shape and famous flavor.
Arepas are a Colombian and Venezuelan classic that have made their way into the top food of Miami. This famous Latin dish is a cornmeal cake, stuffed with various fillings. Though there are different options, the sweet bread is generally complimented with savory meat fillings.
You can find an arepa to fit your style, whether you’re looking for an elevated experience or a delicious street cart. For local favorites, try out Doggi’s Arepa Bar or Dale Arepa Bar. No matter where you grab one, make sure you get your hands on this tasty Miami food.
Literally meaning “toasted,” a tostada is a crispy, flat tortilla topped with refried beans, cheese, salsa, and other toppings. Tostadas are commonly found in Mexico, dating back approximately 2000 years. The preparation allowed people to enjoy tortillas beyond their natural point of freshness.
These tasty cousins of the taco are a popular food in Miami. Now, tostadas have risen above this point of leftovers to be almost a delicacy. Try out tostadas at a variety of restaurants, with different toppings, to get a feel for this simple yet satisfying Miami food.
Pastelitos are a popular pastry option in Miami, which hails from Cuban culture as well. These Cuban pastries are made with puff pastry, then filled with either sweet or savory filling. There are many ways to enjoy this treat, either filled with traditional cream cheese, guava, and cheese, pineapple, or coconut.
You can pick up this classic pastry at many bakeries around the city. There is no better food in Miami for a quick breakfast. If you want to try a local favorite, visit Vicky’s Bakery!
Ropa Vieja is a notable Spanish and Latin American dish, which is one of the most popular foods in Miami. Additionally, it is also extremely common in Cuba. It is a shredded beef stew, in a savory tomato-based sauce with paprika, peppers, and onions.
This hearty stew normally comes with black beans and rice, though in Cuba you’d more likely see it alongside plantains and rice. If you want to taste this traditional Miami food in its glory, visit Habana Vieja! In this neighborhood, you can enjoy ropa vieja alongside other delicious, Cuban classics.
Desserts And Sweet Foods Of Miami
This might come as a surprise to some, but one of the most famous foods from Miami are the donuts! Miami-style donuts take classic donuts to a new level, leaving the usual glazed donut in the past. Here, you’ll see these delicious, deep-fried dough pockets packed with Latin classics, such as dulce de leche, key lime pie, or arroz con leche!
As long as you avoid national donut chains, you really can’t go wrong with this famous Miami food. A local favorite is Mojo Donuts. However, if you want to try the full range of Miami-style donuts, check out a donut tour!
Paletas can be enjoyed anywhere in Miami, but this sweet delight is best enjoyed by the stunning beaches of Miami.
These are originally a Mexican treat, packed with natural fruit flavors, especially tropical fruits like passion fruit and coconut. You can tell these flavors are natural by the chunks of fruit you can often see in the popsicles themselves!
If you’re not a fan of fruity flavors, don’t worry – there are other options available! Indulgent flavors like dulce de leche and chocolate are also popular. No matter if you’re feeling for a refreshing fruit flavor or something sweeter, make sure you pick up a paleta while in sunny Miami!
Key Lime Pie
Here’s a fun fact about Florida; this famous Miami food is the official state pie! Legend has it that the pie got its start many years ago as a way for sailors to prevent scurvy. Sailors used to keep limes on board for a quick boost of citrus against scurvy.
Key Lime pie consists of lime juice, egg yolks, and sweet condensed milk baked into a pie crust and then topped with either meringue or whipped cream. This dessert is one of the most popular foods in Miami, so make sure you don’t miss out on eating a slice or two.
Flan is a popular dessert in many parts of Latin America, so it’s no surprise that it is well received in Miami as well. While the style of cooking depends on the region, this dessert is always made with egg, milk, and sugar. This sweet, silky dessert is among the best Miami food.
There are countless places to enjoy flan in Miami. However, if you want a sweet piece from a local place, check out Versailles Cuban Bakery or Arahi’s Bakery.
Drinks Miami Is Known For
This popular Cuban coffee preparation can be found all over Miami. It is made with equal parts Cuban espresso and steamed milk. A nice cup of Cortadito is a delicious way to start your morning, especially if you pair it with a traditional Cuban pastry.
While you can order a cortadito basically anywhere in Miami, there is no better place for it than Little Havana. Check out Versailles Bakery if you want to enjoy a bakery treat along with your cortadito or Old’s Havana Cuban Bar & Cocina if you want to hang out for a while and enjoy your coffee!
There is no better way to cool down on a Miami morning than with a batido! This Miami food is a creamy milkshake, typically made with milk and tropical fruits. Popular flavors include mango, mamey, and passion fruit, among others!
While the traditional preparation is a milkshake, places that offer batidos often offer fresh-pressed juices and more natural smoothie options as well. They are popular at fruit stands as well as in restaurants around the city, so there’s no reason not to pick up one of these cooling beverages.
They are also superb as a refreshment while you are spending time on the beautiful beaches of Florida.
Cafe con Leche
If you want to grab a morning coffee in Miami, consider skipping your typical order in favor of a part of Cuban culture: cafe con leche. Cafe con leche is the coffee staple of Miami, meaning just coffee with milk.
People often get their cafe con leche in the morning and use it as a moment to catch up with each other and share in conversation.
You can pick up this part of Miami cuisine and culture from coffee windows called ventanillas or from restaurants all around! Take part in Miami’s morning rituals by grabbing a cafe con leche!
Other Famous Foods Of Miami
There are few places where you can tuck into a meal made of alligator, making gator a famous food in Florida. Since alligators are widely found in the state, it is a common source of protein in the area. While different parts of the animals can have varying flavor profiles, most agree the general taste of gator has a lot in common with chicken.
One of the most popular ways to enjoy gator is alligator bites. This dish consists of small pieces of alligator tail meat, battered, fried, and then served. The seasonings used in the batter can create lots of variations in the flavor, but regardless of the other flavors used – gator is a traditional Miami food that should not be missed.
Zak the Baker
Although this one isn’t a specific dish, Zak the Baker in Wynwood definitely deserves a mention. This kosher bakery combines a bakery with an old-style, Jewish deli. It makes a great place to enjoy freshly baked breads or to hang out with the locals, among stylish, minimal decor.
While challah bread is the most popular Miami food on this menu, there are plenty of other tasty things on offer. Try one of their sandwiches, toast, or soups, if you want something more substantial. You can enjoy Jewish classics, as well as innovative twists on old favorites.
While much of the food in Miami has Latin heritage, jerk chicken shows off the Caribbean influences in the area. Jerk is a cooking style, which coats a main meat in spices and slow-cooks it over a fire or grill. The smoke produced in cooking gives jerk food, in this case chicken, its characteristic flavor.
You can find this famous Miami food in many places around the city. Check out Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen if you want to get some of the best local Caribbean flavors in Miami.
FAMOUS FOODS IN THE US
Sampling Famous Miami Foods
Among everything you might visit this coastal city for, the foods in Miami should certainly be on your list. From the churrasco and Cuban sandwiches to sweet treats like Key Lime Pie and Donuts, there are plenty of Miami foods to enjoy! Since this beach city gets a steady stream of tourists and immigrants, the cuisine is diverse and different.
Although Miami is known for Latin music and late-night fun, these Latin influences come out in the famous Miami food as well. Make sure you try out some of the best foods in Miami when you visit!