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 Kush, a trendy spot in Wynwood that which serves just what you're looking for: juicy burgers, hearty sandwiches, crisp salads and even crisper craft beer. 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 the best kept Downtown secret of Bali Cafe, or the long-standing Lan Pan Asian Cafe (in the Dadeland/South Miami area), each providing unique Asian fusion cuisine.
Lemoni Cafe Inc
A true hidden gem among local coffee houses, Lemoni Cafe serves up a range of classic panini and creative salads. It's their hot and cold coffee and tea selection, however, that keeps locals and vacationers alike coming back. On the menu, you'll find everything from Cuban cortaditos to macchiatos, iced lattes, and espresso shots. If you're feeling extra indulgent, add a dollop of whipped cream to your brew. Vegans are also welcome to add a little almond milk to their beverage, not to mention enjoy many of the sandwiches and other yummy foods on the menu, which is a blend of French Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine. Located in the vibrant Design District, Lemoni Cafe's European coffee selection alone is unparalleled in Miami. Drop in for a near perfect cup of coffee and a delightful dessert before or after hitting the town. (305-571-5080)
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)
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 cash-only fish joint has been a staple in the Little Havana neighborhood for almost 50 years. Originally known as the Garcia Brothers Seafood Market, the venture was a labor of love, created by the exiled Garcia family, who left their native Cuba shortly after Castro took power. The family had already been in the fishing business back home so it was a logical move for them to open the market.
By 1976, the Garcias decided to begin serving fresh-cause-and-cooked seafood at their market, and it quickly became known as "Los Paraditos", a place where locals could enjoy fish-fry while standing at the market's window.
These days, La Camaronera has expanded and become a full-fledged, sit-down restaurant where patrons can enjoy specialties like camarones fritos (fried shrimp), filete de pescado (fish filet), shrimp tacos, conch fritters, and a tres leches for dessert. ((305) 642-3322)
Despite its small, humble dining room, Bali Cafe delivers on quality and service, making it a Downtown Miami favorite. The comfortably cozy atmosphere and expertly prepared, authentic dishes like Lontong Cap Go Meh are offered at astonishingly low prices. The Asian fusion fare is largely Indonesian, and everything, from the three dollar Simple Salad dressed with beets and black sesame seeds to the iced green tea, is exceedingly flavorful and delightfully fresh. Satays and nasi goreng (spicy fried rice with coconut accents) are perhaps the most popular dish, but don't neglect the unusual dumplings or, for that matter, the dessert which can, if you're lucky, include durian ice cream. Do be aware, however, that Bali Cafe only accepts cash and, depending on the day, may only be open for lunch. (305-358-5751)
When seeking out home-style restaurants, you might be thinking about comfort food but you also might be thinking about food that's literally close to home. Cue Kush. The love child of restaurateur Matt (a.k.a. Kush) and beer connoisseur David, Kush is mostly a place to bask in the glory of a well-perfected craft beer menu. However, it is also the ideal place to chow down on flavorful dishes like Hobo Frito Pie, Florida Alligator Bites, Miami Smokers BLT, and Chicken and Waffles, who all use locally-sourced ingredients. Meat from the Cowart Ranch in Sumterville, Florida; smoked bacon from Miami Smokers in Little Havana; and local gator from Cypress Creek Farms in Starke, Florida are among the fresh components of Kush meals. (305-576-4500)
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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