Among Miami's great culinary communities – South Beach, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove – is a neighborhood that's gaining a solid reputation among foodies and chefs: South Miami, and more specifically, the South Miami area surrounding the Shops at Sunset Place.
At the intersection of US-1 and Sunset Drive lies a bevy of mouthwatering eateries and unique dining experiences. Among them is a charming spot for some of the healthiest eats in town: Temple Kitchen.
Whole-food, plant-based cuisine is what Temple Kitchen does best — Photo courtesy of Temple Kitchen
As the name suggests, Temple is a real sanctuary for those looking to eat fresh, whole-food, plant-based meals. While everything at Temple happens to be vegan, it's not simply a vegan restaurant. Rather, Temple prides itself in providing nutritious, non-processed, often organic edibles to the masses.
Temple's mantra is printed on the sign that hangs just outside their door: "Joy to the food." And eating here is exactly that. A joyous experience – that is, if you're open to it.
Order up front, and then take a seat or simply look around this brightly colored eatery — Photo courtesy of Temple Kitchen
Walk inside, and your eyes will consume the bright splashes of color on the walls. Vibrant fruits and home-made juices are placed strategically throughout the eatery to lighten your mood and prep you for the rich (and enriching) foods you're about to enjoy.
Temple's menu is refreshingly extensive for a health-conscious eatery, and it changes often due to the restaurant's commitment to using mostly fresh, seasonal produce.
Early birds can partake in a hot breakfast like the Sunny Day Scramble (a tofu scramble with cherry tomato, arugula, basil and pine nuts) or the Morning, Sunshine (a mix of quinoa and barley with hemp, coconut milk, pomegranate, pumpkin seeds, dates and their fruits of the day).
Mushroom ceviche is on everyone's mind at Temple Kitchen — Photo courtesy of Temple Kitchen
Lunch-goers have plenty to choose from, such as their Cool and Crisp Seasonal Baskets – which include a mushroom ceviche that's sure to impress the biggest fans of the Peruvian delicacy – and the highly popular Kale Fire, made of a mix of kale, cucumber, fennel, carrots, ginger, goji berry, cilantro, pumpkin seeds and marinated tofu.
They've also got Steamed & Savory Seasonal Baskets such as the Hello Harvest (quinoa with corn, green beans, onions, broccoli, red bell peppers, almonds, carrots, and chili peppers); Hot Pots, like Curry Favor (made with homemade green curry, red chili and a mushroom blend); and Energy Pots such as the Woo Tangy (masala sauce, edamame, carrot, cilantro, and green beans).
Like most healthy eateries, Temple Kitchen offers a large number of beverages to choose from. Their so-called Joyful Juices are divine and have the most interesting names of all their food items, names like Contains The Power of a Superhero Cape (carrot, orange, guarana, ginger, cayenne and grapefruit) and You Clean Up Nicely (pineapple, ginger, aloe vera and apples).
Find refreshing, specialty flavored waters like Rosemary Me at Temple — Photo courtesy of Temple Kitchen
They also serve smoothies (like the Spinach Doctor with spinach, pineapple, dates and basil); Elemental Elixirs (wheatgrass, chlorella, etc.); Wonderful Waters (like Mint Condition with mint, ginger and lemon); and even Magical Milks (Espresso Yourself, with cashew and hemp milks, coffee and dates).
And if you think you can leave this healthful eatery without having dessert, don't go before trying the Dreamboat (a chia pudding with coconut and cashew cream, with strawberries, blueberries and candied pecans on top).
At Temple Kitchen, you order up front and then wait for your meal, perhaps while sipping on some fresh juice or people watching outside.
It's a small venue, so carryout is often the preferred method of consumption here. And if you're lucky enough to work nearby, they deliver.