No matter where in Miami you're living or working, you'll always have a need to find a quick and tasty lunch spot. Many people opt to go to the usual places, indulging in some fast food while on break, or sitting down with co-workers at their local chain like Chilis or Ale House. And while those options are alright in general, sometimes we long for something more, something different. Sometimes our palates are looking to be pleased in new ways. That's when you turn to 10Best, where we've compiled a list of lunch options you may not have heard about but which will very likely become your new favorites.
It's hard to beat La Sandwicherie, which serves just what you're looking for when you're in the market for a great lunch: hearty, filling sandwiches with an original flavor; healthy smoothies; and fresh salads with all the fixings. Or for a sandwich that walks the line of comfort foods, there's also Crumb on Parchment.
But say you're not in the mood for sandwiches. Maybe some asian-inspired fare is what you crave between meetings. In that case, there's Sakaya Kitchen (with locations in Downtown and Midtown), and Lan Pan Asian Cafe (in the Dadeland/South Miami area), each providing unique Asian fusion cuisine.
We've also got Middle Eastern eats from Daily Bread Marketplace, Brazilian-style burgers from Giraffas, and good ol' barbecue covered by Sparky's, to round out your lunchtime selections.
Daily Bread Marketplace
Middle Eastern restaurants are few and far between in Miami, but those in the know always know to go to Daily Bread. This marketplace offers a delectable array of tabouli, baba ghanoush, falafel, hummus, and lamb or beef kebabs, all served with generous portions of literally the best and freshest pita bread in all of Miami. Daily specials may include lamb and cauliflower with preserved lemon, and gourmet sandwiches and salads satisfy on-the-go patrons. Quick service and wallet-friendly prices also please, and the baklava is widely regarded as some of the best in town. It's the place to go whether you're well-versed in Middle Eastern cuisine or are simply a first timer looking to fall in love with new flavors. (305-856-5893)
Sparky's Roadside Barbecue
Chefs Kevin Kehoe and Hans Seitz know barbecue, and lucky for us, they're sharing it with the locals in Downtown Miami at Sparky's Roadside Barbecue. The pair opened Sparky's in 2010 and have successfully become a lunchtime staple for anyone working in downtown in need of a good pulled pork sandwich between meetings. The hole-in-the-wall joint serves up mouth-watering, St. Louis-style ribs, beef brisket, fried catfish, jerk chicken, and even a veggie burger, alongside corn nuggets, collard greens, hush puppies, coleslaw, and an out-of-this-world macaroni and cheese. Add to that a very nice selection of craft beer and friendly service, and you've got yourself a winner. (205-377-2877)
Giraffas Brazilian Steaks & Burgers
Located just south of Wynwood in Midtown, this fast-casual concept from Brazil, where its eateries number more than 400, launched in winter 2011-12 in North Miami and is growing exponentially, with a third location in Pinecrest. Order at the counter and the high-quality burgers, grilled chicken and steaks, with a choice of sauces (and with or without farofa garnish) will be delivered right to your table. Two choices of sides include fries, yuca, rice, beans, grilled veggies and salad, and by the time you're done with all your options, you're left with a pretty hearty plate. It's the new, Brazilian-style Five Guys. (305-672-7111)
Lime Fresh Mexican Grill
The ever-popular Lime first began as a simple fast-casual Mexican joint on the streets of SoBe, but it has since taken over the East coast (and gone as far West as Texas) with its amazing queso dip, fresh seafood, delicious homemade salsas, and several varieties of Mexican beer that set it apart from your average burrito stop. Start your meal with the cleverly-named Nach'Yo'Mama's Nachos, topped with queso, shredded cheese, black beans, sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole, jalapenos, and a lime wedge (you can also add chicken, steak, beef, and even bacon and make it a full-on meal). Generously portioned tacos (the surfer taco is especially flavorful), burritos and quesadillas make for a satisfying lunch or dinner. (305-532-5463)
Sakaya, an innovative Asian fusion restaurant, has taken the city by storm with its creative interpretations of traditional Asian dishes. The moment they walk through the door, guests are greeted by the expansive menu, an entire chalkboard wall dedicated to sporting daily specials and menu items. Don't be afraid to ask the staff for help navigating the boundless choices. They're happy to suggest local favorites like Dai-Ji spicy tenderloin or Korean chicken and waffles.
For other options, check out the "Dim Ssam a gogo," Sakaya's food truck, during a rally at Johnson & Wales or at a spot around town. There's also another location in downtown. (305-576-8096)
Lan Pan Asian Cafe
Chef Johnson Teh has got Asian food covered. Not only does he do Thai, Japanese and Chinese flavors in this pan-Asian cafe, he likes to add in Filipino, Taiwanese, Korean and a blend of original interpretations that Miamians can only label "yum." So while it's difficult to perhaps pinpoint all his influences in some dishes, such as the crispy almond snapper in the saffron-soba broth, it's also hard to really care. From appetizers like the wild mushroom salad with cilantro-ginger dressing to the Filipino rice bowl topped with pork, a sunny-side-up egg and pickles, it's a veritable bonanza of playful Asian flavors.
Complementing the fare, Teh also serves authentic bubble teas, house-made sodas, and a select sake and wine list. A sibling establishment in Coral Gables, Yuga, expands on the pan-Asian theme in a slightly more elegant way, and a food truck, Lan on the Go, has put the bubble teas on wheels. (305.661.8141)
This cafe features a colorful, whimsical interior, but the outdoor tables are considered the place to be. A concrete canopy shields the sun, assisted by colorful umbrellas at each table, creating an appealing courtyard setting that is shady enough to temper the heat. The original Balans was located in London's Soho, and the hip, cosmopolitan vibe is evident at the Miami Beach outpost. Area executives and moguls often have lunch here, enjoying light favorites such as Thai salad with an excellent homemade peanut dressing or creamy sweet potato souffle; with leeks and garlic. A light entree is a wise choice, as it leaves more room for dessert--a primary attraction here. Try the white chocolate cheesecake or the apple tart with sour cream ice cream. (305-534-9191)
Crumb on Parchment
Some say the path to perfection is through simplicity and Crumb on Parchment aims to prove that point beyond a shadow of a doubt. This casual American cafe specializes in breakfast and lunch with deliciously creative soups, salads, sandwiches, and baked goods, all at affordable prices. Burritos with various fillings, meatballs with salad, pulled pork sandwiches, the vegetarian sandwich (with carrots, pickled radish, avocado, sprouts, and cheddar) and panzanella salads are among the many offerings at this sunny establishment. The main dining area is spacious and the venue also offers serve-yourself coffee, free WiFi for the tech crowd, and plenty of natural Miami sunlight to brighten your morning meal. ((305) 572-9444)
This little breakfast and lunch cafe has made a nationwide splash recently with its ice creams, but Serendipity 3 also offers a full range of other dishes to kick start your day in South Beach, Miami. It's a spin-off of the NYC sweet shop that has created a splash on Lincoln Road. Much more than just an sandwich shop or an ice cream parlor, Serendipity 3 is must visit and a mainstay of the South Beach dining scene. On their menu, you'll find everything (literally EVERYTHING), from foot-long dogs (the Miami dog with nacho cheese and jalapeno is comforting and delicious), feel-good sandwiches (the Full Monty combines chicken breast, jack cheese, red onions, arugula, bacon, and BBQ sauce), pizza (who doesn't love pizza?), omelets (the Hangover is great for any SoBe night), burgers (from the South Beach burger to a veggie burger), and even more, if you can believe it. ((305) 403-2210)
After a hard night of clubbing or bar-hopping, nothing's better than a hefty sandwich from this walk-up counter right off Collins Avenue. Crusty French bread is piled high with your choice of meats (from turkey and prosciutto to pate and smoked salmon), cheeses (fresh mozzarella, swiss, brie) and condiments (never skip the cornichons). If you need a veggie fix, opt for a salad, like the French Riviera (lettuce, tomatos, green and hot peppers, black olives, onions, cucumbers, cornichons, carrots, and egg); all are generous, fresh and tasty. Smoothies and frozen yogurt satisfy sweet-tooth urgings, and prices are more than affordable. Expect a line, though, because the place attracts a crowd all day long. (305-532-8934)
About Priscilla Blossom
Pris Blossom is a freelance writer and feminist mama with a love for travel, writing, music, film, craft beer, yoga, museums, cultural anthropology, and her awesome kid.
She spent the bulk of the past decade taking trips on a whim, falling in love with and in such places as New York City, New Orleans, and a large portion of Nicaragua.
In 2011, she took off on her own and traveled around the U.S. via bus, bunking with strangers thanks to the power of CouchSurfing. She is currently writing a novel about this.
Read her words at PrisBlossom.com.
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