Miami has many different neighborhoods that include Wynwood, Downtown, South Beach, Miami Beach, North Miami Beach, and Aventura to name a few. If someone were to ask me which neighborhood has the best restaurants, it would turn out in a tie between South Beach and Downtown Miami. Whether your an Italian junkie, or prefer sushi to a pizza, we have got you covered. Below we detail our favorite restaurants in Downtown Miami and what makes them different.
Pez Mexican Seafood. $$ BajaMed Cuisine
Pez, located at 20 W Flagler St, Miami, FL 33130 is a Baja-Med cuisine based restaurant that specializes in seafood-forward dishes with New Mexican presentations. Rather than the regular Mexican food that is porkcentric, light and bold flavors paired with fresh seafood is what make Pez so tasty and forward-thinking. Our favorite dish is their “atun con erizo” which is a tuna tostada topped with uni and a complex palate of Mexican/Californian flavors. Be sure to check out the ever-changing dessert menu for a one-of-a-kind sweet dish.
Fooq’s. $$ Persian Cuisine
Located at 1035 N Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33136 and ran by restaurateur David Foulquier, Fooq’s is a laid-back restaurant that features dishes from Foulqier’s childhood. Family Persian recipes like a classic ghormeh sabzi stew are staples on this menu, with the rest changing frequently. What makes this dish so special though, is that David’s grandmother personally taught head chef Bryan Rojas how to make it. Other features you’ll see on this menu are Italian meatballs and bucatini pasta, with the real special dish being found on the dessert menu. They have a well-known Rose Water Persian Sundae that comes in teacups chosen by David’s Iranian mom.
NIU Kitchen. $$$ Spanish Tapas/Catalan Cuisine
Many people, myself included, are not huge fans of traditional Spanish food regardless of how easy it is to find in the city. NIU Kitchen shines a light on Spanish cuisine in which you never thought possible. Although tapas are a common way of eating in Spain, this is truly something different. Located at 134 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33132, NIU is a small restaurant in the heart of Downtown but only has very few seats. A reservation is required for this spot, especially if you plan to go on the weekend. Their menu is constantly changing, but a few staples are forever featured like the arròs de cargols. It is rice mixed with escargot and rabbit confit that create a burst of flavors and textures you never thought you’d get from this combination. This is a seafood-based restaurant that gives Miami’s coastal cuisine a good name. For example, they have a whole squid, extremely tender, under a cloud of potato cream.
In conclusion, there are a ton of unique restaurants in the heart of downtown just waiting for you to give them a shot. We showcased three restaurants we thought create their own way of cooking and serving that is different from the rest. We love restaurants that bring their culture and story into their menu for a unique experience and bite. Let us know which restaurants we need to stop by in the city!
Pictures I took at Pez in Miami. One of my faves!