August 22, 2014
Miami’s South Beach district – or SoBe if you’re the abbreviating type, is a neighbourhood of culinary delights that draws inspiration from a range of cultures far and wide. Whether you’re a serious foodie or just fancy igniting your taste buds with something different, Florida’s ‘Magic City’ has earned a reputation as the place to be for inspired cuisine.
But with so many quality eateries to choose from in one district, it’s easy for even the most seasoned food lover to become overwhelmed. That’s why Miami Culinary Tours offer holidaymakers a chance to sample the menus of not one but six of the city’s top restaurants, featuring a range of themes from Spanish-inspired Cuban dishes to hearty Italian fare.
You’ll also walk away with a newfound understanding of the city’s history and culture, topped off with a walking tour of Miami’s Art Deco Historic District. Food and education – what could be better?
The South Beach Food Tour covers a diverse range of tastes from all over the world, but to overlook Colombia’s contribution to Miami’s taste spectrum would be to miss out on some truly inspired dining. Each two-and-a-half-hour tour starts at critically-acclaimed Colombian restaurant Bolivar, where guests will sample ceviche, a refreshing seafood dish that dances with citrus-infused zest, flavourful vegetables and complex textures. It’s a light start to your foodie adventure, but trust us, you’ll need room for the rest.
Next up is Manolo, an Argentinian cafeteria that specialises in homemade comfort food, and few things are as comforting as hot churros filled with dulce de leche. Make no mistake, these crispy, melt in your mouth fritters have something of a reputation around South Beach, and chances are you’ll head back there for seconds after the tour is over. Just be careful not to spoil your dinner.
After a quick breather the tour moves on to Cuban restaurant Habanos, which serves bold flavours with a Caribbean twist. Inside you’ll be greeted by legendary crispy beef dish Vaca Frita, alongside sweet plantains and more, all washed down with a cup of Cuban Espresso, or ‘cafecito’ to give it its proper name.
Italian eatery Blocks Deli is next, a fine dining establishment rooted in authenticity and the freshest ingredients. You might want to go for a classic pizza, but you’ll find it hard to pass up the restaurant’s signature Dough Pocket, a comforting bread pouch filled with ingredients ranging from Angus beef meatballs in marinara sauce to blue cheese and spinach. It may also come as a surprise that this particular family recipe is 300-years-old.
The tour’s next stop is Venezuelan and Colombian cuisine, and what are regarded as some of the city’s best empanadas. Lovingly prepared by the family-owned Charlotte Bakery, these flaky, buttery pastries are filled with hot savoury chicken, smothered in a mouth-watering avocado and cilantro sauce. We wouldn’t blame you if you wanted seconds.
Your belt may be straining by this point and your mind brimming with a newfound appreciation of Miami culture, but the South Beach Food Tour likes to end things on a sweet, lighter note. The journey closes at Milani Gelateria, a gourmet gelato restaurant serving up award-winning flavours that cover tested favourites such as pistachio, chocolate and vanilla, right up to bolder efforts like Champagne, Bacio and Stracciatella. All that’s left is to lick your spoon and walk off the calories.
Although Miami Culinary Tours offers a carefully-planned route around the area’s finest restaurants, there simply isn’t enough time to cover them all. You can bolster your experience by booking a table at the luxurious Tides Hotel, and indulge yourself with a take on the Margarita pizza, as well as a wide range of classic diner favourites created with a connoisseur approach.
There’s also the innovative dishes of local favourite Tongue and Cheek, which offers a house-made spaghetti with Key West pink shrimp dish that is simply divine. If you’re looking for seafood that infuses all of Miami’s diverse flavours into one menu, you needn’t look further than this modern, casual restaurant. Finally, the Lincoln Road Mall, is a pedestrianised strip just off South Beach brimming with various restaurants and shops just waiting to be explored. It’s a popular hot spot and a must-see district while on holiday in Miami.
Miami is a great destination for the discerning food lover, and chances are you’ll want to sample plenty of the Magic City’s cuisine during your holiday. For those who want to cram as much variety onto their plate as possible, a food tour might just be the perfect solution.
Virgin Atlantic operates direct flights to Miami from London Heathrow. Book your flight today.