Miami is a virtual paradise for carnivores. Steaks, ribs, burgers, sausages, pork chops...you'll find all your needs met in this meat-lovers mecca. Miami is especially proud of its variety, quantity, and quality of steakhouses. There are international chains specializing in steaks, like the infamous Morton's Steakhouse, with various locations in the Miami area (Coral Gables, North Miami beach, as well as Miami proper), where center cut filet mignon and signature cut prime new york steak take center stage.
Then there are the fine dining options that are completely unique to Miami's culinary scene, like the Setai Grill, where your 30-day ages prime aged strip sirloin can be served with a truffle ponzu, a classic bernaise, or other variety of mouth-watering sauces, while your meat is sliced for you table-side.
Thanks to Miami's Latin influence, you'll of course find a range of steakhouses and churrascarias from Argentinean and Nicaraguan restaurateurs. You'll also find yourself trying to decide between any of the many Brazilian-inspired rodizio-style steakhouses. That is, the amazing concept of all-you-can-eat meat carved right onto your plate by waiters whose job is to walk around the restaurant with gigantic slabs of flank steak, braised beef ribs, Brazilian picanha and more. Area Code 55 does this wonderfully on the local level while the well-known Texas de Brazil does this for guests the world over.
"The Original" Shula's Steak House Miami Lakes
Local sports legend Don Shula, once the coach of the Miami Dolphins, runs this clubby steakhouse, which has some of the most tender and delicious beef in the area. The football theme is evident throughout, with photos, pennants and newspaper clippings on every wall – particularly those detailing Shula's 1972 Super Bowl victory. Business groups, families, sports fans and steak lovers of every ilk rave about great cuts like the 48-ounce porterhouse and the tender filet. Try the surf and turf, which includes a succulent 3-pound Maine lobster. If you have any room left, double chocolate cheesecake is a treat. Reservations recommended. (305-820-8102)
Smith & Wollensky
Join the power brokers at this clubby, traditional steakhouse, which offers sublime outdoor dining on the waterfront, complete with sweeping views of exclusive Fisher Island. Watch cruise ships leaving the Port of Miami as you dig into lemon pepper chicken or grilled salmon. Of course, heartier appetites will yearn for a bite of one of Smith & Wollensky's famous steaks, whether it's filet mignon, English cut prime rib, or grilled sirloin – this desire should not be pushed aside. If it's too hot on the lovely deck, enjoy views from the massive picture window inside the dimly lit, upscale interior. Reservations recommended. Business casual attire. (305-673-2800)
Morton's, The Steakhouse
Morton's is an international, upscale chain steakhouse that serves a lot more than just American Angus. With locations in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Mexico City and Toronto, plus nation-wide locations including Chicago, Seattle, New York, and Las Vegas, and three locations in the Miami area, Morton's has become synonymous with fine steakhouse dining. The decor is masculine; the atmosphere, classy. Expect to be treated well by the friendly and professional wait staff, who present dinner selections by bringing out a cart of options and telling you stories about each dish to tantalize the appetite. Favorite entrées include blackened swordfish, fresh Maine lobster, and, of course, the 24-ounce porterhouse. Reservations are suggested. (305-400-9990)
Toro Toro Pan Latin Steakhouse & Latin Spirit Lounge
Renowned Chef Richard Sandoval modeled this interpretation of a Pan-Latin steakhouse after his successful Toro Toro Dubai. The Mexico City native offers a great variety of small plates, ranging from ceviche nikkei (Peruvian-Japanese style) with ahi tuna, sweet potato, cucumber and quinoa to arepas with short ribs, guacamole and crema. The churrascaria and grill offers a number of cuts of meat and poultry, a few of which can be shared family style, such as the "rodizio experience." If you prefer to dine a la carte, larger main dishes include several cuts of beef, achiote barbecued salmon and pan-roasted Florida grouper. Wash it all down with a specialty cocktail such as the "Ring My bell," made with Herradura Reposado Tequila, Cointreau, lime, bell pepper and rosemary. A well-informed staff is on hand to decipher more difficult menu items and drinks, but you don't need them to understand this: Dessert. Churros. Yum. ((305) 372-4710)
Texas de Brazil
Few restaurants can compete with the atmosphere – and, yes, the cuisine – of this colorful chain of Brazilian rodizio-style churrascarias. A family-friendly ambiance pervades as diners enjoy a feast for the ages, one that features gaucho-wearing servers circling the South American-themed dining room with mouthwatering skewers of seasoned beef, chicken, lamb, pork, and Brazilian sausage. Keep your card turned on the green side and servers will come up to your table continuously offering meat after slab of meat. Just pick what you want, and they're happy to carve it up. Added temptations are Texas-sized side dishes like garlic mashed potatoes and sweet fried bananas – the extravagant salad bar has been known to turn heads as well. (305-599-7729)
Frequented by an upscale, highly visible clientele, Prime 112 is a steakhouse without compare. Its decor honors the restaurant's historic structure while invigorating it with modern detailing. The menu continues this theme of reconsidered classics. Dry-aged prime beef arrives sizzling, cooked to your specifications, and topped with a choice of butters or sauces (among them, peppercorn, horseradish cream, peanut hoisin, curry mayo, and english mustard). "Accessories" are sublime: truffled mac and cheese, sautéed forest mushrooms, or even rum-baked sweet plantains. Desserts, too, get stylish attention – apple pie is topped with candied walnut streusel, while chocolate pudding cake flaunts Amarene cherries and a dollop of sweet cream. (305-532-8112)
Fogo de Chão
The first Fogo de Chão was opened in Porto Alegre in 1979 by Southern Brazilian--Gaucho country--brothers who had worked their way up from busboys to churrasqueiro chefs. Today, the prix-fixe steakhouse has more than half-a-dozen locations in Brazil and more than twice that in the States, including this one on Miami Beach. After starting with an enormous salad bar filled with more than 30 items both imported and local, hot and cold, you're saturated with 15 cuts of beef, pork, lamb and poultry, sliced table-side from skewers, until they plead fulfillment. And then, of course, there's dessert--that is, if turtle cheesecake, creme brule, and molten chocolate cake are your thing. (305-672-0011)
Area Code 55 Brazilian Steakhouse
Perhaps the most northward-located churrascaria in Miami, Area Code 55 otherwise is very similar to the other rodizio restaurants in the city (rodizio being an all-you-can-eat of the highest caliber). With spaciously set tables; a salad bar featuring cold and hot items; waiters dressed as gauchos wielding skewers of bacon-wrapped chicken thighs, lamb chops, sausage and picanha; and a well-stuffed wine list, it's a veritable feast for the carnivore. Start with your card flipped to the green side and you'll soon be swarmed with offerings; flip it to red to take a break. Excellent for a group, a special date, or even a business meeting (if your co-workers are of the meat-loving variety). (305-947-6202)
The Setai Grill
Take a luxury hotel known for its Asian glam (The Setai), a French executive chef (Executive Chef Mathias Gervais), and the best meat purveyors of the country (lauded Italian-American butcher family Pat LaFrieda & Son), and you have The Setai Grill. The treats begin when you're seated with a glass of rose Champagne, a loaf of brioche and a plate of prosciutto di San Daniele. They continue when you order items like the langoustine encased in papillote to navarin (braised lamb shouder en cocotte) with tournee potatoes and zucchini, and the 30-day prime aged strip sirloin carved table-side. The Grill's burnished wood floors and inlaid tables make it seem like a posh, romantic club. Indeed this is prime steak-slicing, date-night dining, with a terrific wine list, a dessert cart and the most divine cappuccino to finish things right. (305-520-6400, 305-520-6800)
For American cuisine with a creative French twist, try the elegant Forge. Renovated in 2009 in honor of its 40th anniversary, the space is chock-full of eye-catching antiques and an eclectic mix of upholstered and metal furniture. The farm-to-table menu draws you in, offering tantalizing dishes such as herb-infused steamed local snapper "In a Bag" and grilled wild salmon with basil mashed hearts of palm. Beef is a favorite, and the 16-ounce aged oak grilled "Super Steak" has been named the nation's number one steak by "Wine Spectator." Speaking of wines, the cellar houses an enormous collection – more than 80,000 bottles of various vintages. Also, the Enomatic wine serving system, that serves wine by the glass, is great for sampling different wines by the ounce. (305-538-8533)
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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