Miami beach - famed for year round sunshine, achingly cool hotels, super clubs, and that song, famous celebrities and bikini clad models - is on every travellers bucket list. It's intriguing and aspirational and has something for everyone from 24 hour bars to beautiful art deco architecture and of course, the world renowned beaches.
What few people talk about, is the food. Yet it's home to some of my favourite restaurants on the planet.
1. Juvia - I know I've mentioned this one before but it's too good not to mention it again. And the last time I talked about it was last Christmas and I feel like once a year for one of the best eating experiences in the world is acceptable.
An oasis in the middle of bustling Lincoln Road, you escape the crowds by way of a high speed elevator (blink and you'll miss the very unassuming entrance from a side road which takes you into the elevator lobby) and emerge in a rooftop garden with jaw dropping views of Miami beach.
Beautiful people swoop between tables serving delicious food off the unusual menu. There's a set menu available for every meal time which offers good value and eliminates the need for decisions, or you can pick a la carte. They only serve lunch at weekends and it's well worth a trip for the bottomless mimosa's and a burrata alone.
Dinner is an experience with lights spanning the horizon and an effortlessly cool DJ setting the tone.
I'm not going to tell you any more. Just go. Be careful of the opening times though - this is still a place that closes for a few hours in the afternoon and you don't want to get caught out. Make a reservation too. You don't need to dress up or anything, but you do need to make sure they have space.
2. Dolce - I wouldn't usually associate Italian food with upmarket dining (although Ragazzi here in Cayman does a pretty good job!) but Dolce, the restaurant at the Gale, take simple favourites to a new level. The funky vibe of the bar and restaurant inside, combined with the eye popping people watching properties of the outside patio make it an entertaining place to eat and the pizza? Well that will change your life.
Photo credit - Tripadvisor
We ate it twice in a 36 hour period - if you stay at the hotel they'll deliver it to your room and it's HEAVEN.
It's a small restaurant with exposed brick walls, painfully trendy waiters, a loud open kitchen and a crazy menu of unusual tapas style dishes, designed to be shared. Located in an "off the beaten track" cul-de-sac of bars and restaurants on the west side of Miami Beach, it's refreshing to find yourself in a laid back place offering something different from the high heeled and dressed "to be seen" crowds of Collins Avenue.
The menu is meat heavy so vegetarians beware, and I found all of the dishes to be quite rich so don't over order! Top picks would be the Dates aver Chorizo (bacon wrapped), any of the Bao and the duck dim sum (iPhone pics so sorry about the fuzziness!)
Try it, it won't disappoint and word on the street is that the sushi place the owners have opened next door is pretty awesome too!
What are your top food picks in Miami?