A sumptuous benefit of an international city is the cuisine, and this is especially true in Miami, where dining is the ultimate way to understand and experience this city's various personas.
Best bets include sipping cafe Cubanos at one of the cafes near Little Havana's Maximo Gomez Park; feasting on tender-to-the-bone rodizio served tableside on large skewers at Porcao (801 Brickell Bay Dr), an authentic Brazilian Churrasco in downtown; and of course, peeling your own boiled shrimp at one of the many pubs found along the water's edge. Options include everything from Caribbean to Ethiopian to Japanese to French.
You'll find unique Spanish dishes at Mobil Two-Star Casa Juancho (2436 SW 8th St), like boneless Long Island roast duck and rabbit cured in sherry and baked in creamy brown sauce.
An eclectic, contemporary seafood menu is served at Mobil Three-Star Baleen (4 Grove Island Dr). You won't go wrong ordering the wood-roasted shrimp, Chinese fried snapper with coconut rice and black beans, or freshly churned vanilla ice cream and berries.
Mobil Three-Star La Paloma (10999 Biscayne Blvd) features Swiss Continental cuisine, with specialties like rack of lamb, veal steak Sabrina, and whole duck a l'orange. The Mobil Three-Star China Grill (404 Washington Ave) serves specialized Asian cuisine like chile-tinged Peking duck and ahi sashimi tempura with wasabi dipping sauce.
Mobil Four-Star Wish Restaurant (801 Collins Ave) serves a menu that blends Latin American ingredients with a tropical twist. You'll find sesame battered shrimp with watermelon and cilantro and seared scallops with smoked shiitakes and lemongrass-corn sauce. For dessert, don't miss the mango sorbet or banana fritters with ice cream.
For an eclectic and international menu with a twist, check out Mobil Three-Star Two Chefs (8287 S Dixie Hwy). Try the beef carpaccio with dwarf peaches that resemble tiny pickled tomatoes or the risotto with smoked duck and homemade mozzarella.
Miami also has its share of upscale restaurants, and there is no better time to sample their fare than Miami Spice Restaurant Month. During both August and September, enjoy special lunch and dinner menus at drastically reduced rates.
No matter when you go, make sure you have a reservation to avoid lengthy waits. And check your tab to see whether gratuity is included -- some restaurants automatically add a 15 percent tip to the bill, no matter how small or large the party.
Need some assistance planning your days? The suggested itineraries in the next section will help ensure that you see the very best Miami has to offer.