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The Best Food in Miami: 8 Iconic Dishes

a plate of food and a glass of wine

Calling all foodies! You’re in for a real treat on a visit to Miami. Locals take their food seriously, as evidenced by heated debates over the best Cuban sandwich or chop chop, a rice and chicken dish that’s a popular lunch staple. Known for its blend of Caribbean and South American food influences, the best food in Miami spans a range of cultures and neighborhoods, from the quintessential Cuban coffee of Little Havana to versatile arepas and ceviche in Miami Beach.

No matter where you dine, there’s a good chance you’ll find fresh seafood on the menu – stone crab is a local favorite! Whether you’re looking for a quick bite, a decadent dessert, or the best Cuban food in Miami, it’s impossible to go hungry in a foodie city like this one! Order these must-try dishes next time you’re in town.

Stone Crabs

Don your bib and get your napkins ready for stone crab season! From October to May, restaurants around Miami serve succulent stone crab claws chilled on ice, with melted butter on the side for dipping. Florida stone crabs are unique for their sweet, lobster-like flavor and the way they’re harvested. Fishermen are legally barred from taking the full body of stone crabs, and must take claws that are at least 2 ¾ inches long. Stone crabs regenerate their claws 3-4 times throughout their life!

Get a taste of this tender crab meat at Joe’s Stone Crabs, a Miami restaurant that’s famous for this dish.

Cuban Sandwich

An authentic cuban sandwich on pressed medianoche bread with pork, ham, cheese, pickle, and mustard.

The Cuban sandwich – also called Cubano – has become synonymous with Miami. And it’s certainly contributed to the popularity of Cuban food in the city. Made with fresh Cuban bread and stuffed with roasted pork, ham, swiss cheese, dill pickles, and mustard, every Miami local has their favorite go-to spot to grab this filling sandwich. Whether you’re jonesing for a snack in the Wynwood neighborhood or seeking the best Cuban food in Miami Beach, you can never go wrong with a tried and true Cubano.

Little Havana is the hub of Cuban culture in Miami, the perfect neighborhood to sample Cubanos. Explore Little Havana and get a taste of some foodie favorites on a food and cultural tour.

Cuban Coffee & Croquetas

Characterized by its sweet, strong taste, Cuban coffee is made by mixing in sugar with the coffee before brewing. You can order this traditional Cuban breakfast-time favorite at most Miami restaurants, but you’ll get the best cup of joe at the ventanillas (small windows) in Little Havana. Order a Cuban coffee with deep-fried croquetas, a breaded bechamel dish stuffed with fillings like ham, cheese, chorizo, and chicken. We’ll eat this delicious duo any time of day!

Key Lime Pie

a slice of cake on a plate

We’ll let you in on a little secret… Key lime pie is technically from Key West. But this heavenly dessert is typical of all of Florida, and Miami is no exception. The best key lime pies are made with fresh lime juice and topped off with a dollop of whipped cream. The combination of sweet and tart flavors with a crunchy crust and creamy whip will surely send you into a food coma.

Try a slice of Key Lime pie on a food tour in the Wynwood district. While you’re there, check out all the vibrant street art in the area.

Arepas

You’re in for a real taste of Latin America when you bite into a warm, overflowing arepa. Tracing its origins to Venezuela and Colombia, the arepa is a thick corn cake stuffed with fillings like cheese, beans, pork, and other meat. Miami-style arepas are typically filled with pulled pork, avocado, and melted cheese.

Ceviche

a close up of a plate of food

Nothing hits the spot on a hot Miami day like ceviche. Made from fresh, raw fish in lemon or lime juice and spiced with peppers and other seasoning, this dish is a refreshing treat, especially for seafood lovers. Ceviche makes the perfect, light appetizer before a more filling main course.

Chicharrones

Chicharrones are the perfect shareable appetizer and a quintessential Miami finger food. They are slow-cooked, roasted and fried slices of pork belly, plus the pork skin and fat – not to be confused with pork rinds, which are just the pork skin. When you grab a handful of these decadent bites, some will be soft and meaty while others offer a great crunch from the crispy, fried fat. Dip them in ranch or hot sauce for a tasty snack.

Chop Chop

Looking for a lunch that will leave you feeling full and satisfied? Order yourself a bowl of chop chop. This dish consists of yellow rice topped with grilled chicken smothered in mustard-curry sauce. Some of the best places to order a hearty chop chop are Chik-N-Grill and Chicken Kitchen.

This is just a sampling of Miami’s most recognized foods that you must try on a visit to the city. The great thing about Miami’s size and culturally diverse population is that you can find all your favorite things to eat, like pizza, burgers, wings, and delicious cocktails. But if you’re looking to spice things up and get a real taste of Miami, you can’t go wrong with any of the classics on this list.

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