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Miami is particularly well known for its Cuban restaurants and the city's cuisine is predominantly (a combination of Latin, American and Caribbean). Eateries include everything from steakhouses and cafés to Italian, Oriental and Middle Eastern restaurants. South Beach and Coconut Grove have a thriving cafe society, and tourists will find plenty of sidewalk seating to people-watch as they linger over lunch.
The most common complaint about restaurants in Miami is that mid-range eateries are hard to come by. Food in Miami is either very cheap or very expensive. However, with new venues opening constantly, there is always something new to sample. Meals for under $10 are plentiful in Little Havana, while South Beach has a collection of high-end restaurants.
A fun way to dine out in Miami is by sampling the fare offered by food trucks. These mobile eateries offer excellent (and cheap) food, the challenge though is figuring out where they are! A few of the most popular, including gastroPod Mobile Gourmet, Latin Burger and Taco, and Feverish Ice Cream, have twitter accounts to keep hungry customers updated as to their locations.
Fusion / 500 Brickell Key Dr, Mandarin Oriental Hotel
On entering Azul, guests will be impressed by the sophisticated atmosphere created by copper-burnished walls, silk-covered chairs and a white marble open kitchen - floor to ceiling bay views won't go unnoticed either! The menu offers a unique fusion of Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, with still more international influences. The raw tuna with caviare, crab, avocado and Asian sauces is excellent, as is the Moroccan lamb. Open for dinner Monday to Saturday, reservations recommended.
Emeril's Miami Beach
Creole / 1601 Collins Avenue
A sophisticated restaurant specialising in Creole cuisine, Emeril's Miami Beach has elegant décor bathed in natural lighting, complimenting the soft beiges and whites used throughout. Red velvet seating, a glass framed bar and wraparound velvet booths complete the picture. Emeril's menu offers delights such as sugar cane skewered jumbo scallops, or pork chops with caramelized sweet potato. The signature Emeril's Banana Cream Pie is a must for dessert. Open for dinner each night, lunch Monday to Saturday and brunch on Sunday. Reservations recommended.
French / 1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables
Voted as the best restaurant in south Florida, Palme d'Or offers glamorous dining at the prestigious Biltmore Hotel. Specialising in Nouvelle French cuisine, the menu offers tasting portions; patrons can sample the array of flavours, textures and taste sensations which Palme d'Or is renowned for. Try the slow-braised beef e with polenta and parmesan, or the wild mushroom cassolette. This excellent dining experience is complimented by attentive service and live music. Open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner. Reservations recommended.
Japanese / 100 Collins Ave, South Beach
Shoji Sushi has perfected a fusion of Japanese and North American-style décor, cuisine and overall presentation. It's known for its authentic Japanese sushi box technique and features rolls such as the spicy lobster roll, a combination of mango, avocado, scallion, shiso, salmon egg and lobster. Guests can sit at the sushi bar and watch the chefs hard at work while sipping sake or a Gingertini - Shoji Sushi definitely puts a new spin on the art of sushi. Open for lunch and dinner Monday to Friday, and dinner only on weekends. Reservations recommended.
Joe's Stone Crab
Seafood / 11 Washington Avenue
A Miami institution, Joe's Stone Crabs has burgeoned since its humble beginnings as a sidewalk vendor in 1913. Renowned for its stone crab claws, a plethora of scrumptious side orders include Joe's famous hash browns and cole slaw, creamed spinach, grilled tomatoes and fresh salads. Don't forget to try Joe's famous mustard sauce and the appetizing seafood bisque (there is also a selection of other seafood, steaks, ribs and chicken to choose from). Note: Joe's is only open during Stone Crab season, from October to May. Open for lunch from Tuesday to Saturday, and dinner all week.
Café / 800 Ocean Drive
The South Beach breakfast establishment, News Café, offers a superb oceanfront setting, outside seating and an international newsstand - ideal for that first coffee of the morning. With a plethora of breakfast options, patrons can tuck into Eggs Florentine, buttermilk pancakes, or try the Middle Eastern combo (a hummus, tabouli salad and grape leaf platter). Their burger and fries or smoked salmon bagel are also great. The ultimate lure of News Café is that they're open 24 hours a day, and breakfast can be ordered around the clock.
Mexican / 3480 Main Hwy, Coconut Grove
Señor Frog's appeals to college students and young people because of its trendy atmosphere and affordable menu. It's known for a rip-roaring good time, potent margaritas and a mariachi band. The food at this cantina is cheesy and tasty, if not exactly authentic. A specialty, the mole enchilada with 14 different kinds of mild chillies mixed with chocolate, is flavourful and unique - a definite must! Portions are huge and served with rice and beans. Open daily for lunch and dinner, reservations not accepted.
Mediterranean / 17624 Collins Ave, Sunny Isles
Timo is a hip and happening restaurant in Sunny Isles, owned by executive chef Tim Andriola. The restaurant is a trendy Italian Mediterranean establishment popular with North Miami Beach locals. Specialties worth trying are the wood-fired rock shrimp pizza, or the herb-roasted chicken. Timo's atmosphere is laid-back and casual, making it the ideal place to enjoy any kind of occasion, from a business lunch to a romantic candle-lit dinner. Open for lunch Monday to Friday and dinner all week. Reservations required.
Red Fish Grill
Seafood / 9610 Old Cutler Rd
Located at the edge of the saltwater lagoon lies the Red Fish Grill, surrounded by the magnificent setting of the tropical Matheson Hammock Park. The ambience of the restaurant, reminiscent of Old Miami, makes it an ideal place for a romantic dinner. Red Fish Grill offers delicious seafood dishes that won't disappoint - try the Chilean sea bass, or the mahi-mahi with spinach, sweet potato and blue cheese. Open daily for dinner.