We spent a few glorious days in South Beach, Miami recently. If you’ve been reading The India Edition for a while, you know about my pre-travel Excel sheets with itineraries and lists of must-go restaurants, cafes and sights to see. As it was a last-minute trip, I didn’t have a chance to do as much research as I usually do. With some reading, old-fashioned discovering and chatting with locals, we discovered some of Miami’s best vegetarian restaurants and cafes!
I was seven years old the last time I visited Miami. Needless to say, my priorities were quite different back then: I was delighted by the clear blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the smooth, pristine white shells I found on the beach. And for food, I was content with cereal, Oreos, grilled cheese sandwiches and omelettes. Life is quite different now! As you probably know, I now crave balance and variety in my food. It turns out that this seemingly simple factor can be quite a problem when traveling without doing any prior research. Most of these vegetarian-friendly restaurants and cafes are in the South Beach area and Wynnwood. We had a chance to explore Wynnwood, which is a bright, newly developing area of the city that was formerly known as a warehouse district but now is a center for art and culture. Don’t miss the murals, art galleries, small boutiques and quaint cafes in the area. I hope you enjoy this list of Miami’s best vegetarian restaurants and cafes. Each place I’ve listed is unique; the list runs the spectrum from quick-service fast casual restaurants to casual dining to fancier establishments.
Miami’s Best Vegetarian Restaurants and Cafes
If you need something fresh and light to balance all the fries and piña coladas on the beach, Dirt has gourmet salads as well as seasonal veggie bowls, toasts, sandwiches and soups. I got the Dirty Vegan salad that has kale, citrus fruits, dates, pepitas (like pumpkin seeds) and beet, all dressed in a garlicky cashew cream. They have several outlets across the city – Dirt is the perfect healthy lunch spot for a sunny Miami day.
I wish Tocaya Organica would open in Chicago! The variety here for vegetarians and vegans is incredible. I love the addition of tofu in Mexican food and Tocaya Organica does it so well. Nestled in the Lincoln Road Mall, this restaurant has casual vibe with fun Latino music and an al fresco section. My husband enjoyed his chicken tacos just as much as I enjoyed my tofu burrito; you can be assured that Tocaya Organica caters to non-veggies too. PS – I have plenty of recipes if you’re looking for some Mexican tofu inspiration.
Also in the Lincoln Road mall, The Cafe at Books and Books is a typical all-American cozy cafe. If you’re staying on South Beach or walking around the mall, this cafe is a good option that anyone (meat-eaters included) would enjoy. I got the ancient grains veggie burger which was one of the best veggie burgers I’ve eaten in the last year. Don’t forget to stop in at the store Books and Books which has a stunning collection of books and is enveloped in that nostalgic new-book smell.
Every American region has its local rendition of the new-age Mediterranean chain that’ll serve you up a rice bowl or sandwich with your choice of protein, toppings, sauces, etc. I suppose Spitfire is the Florida version. You can customize your bowl more than most other places offer because they separate out the tomatoes, cucumber, onions, etc. – great for picky eaters!
The Dutch at the W South Beach Hotel is the Miami outpost of Andrew Carmellini’s New York restaurant by the same name. Locanda Verde is one of my favorite New York restaurants (also by Carmellini). I as drawn to The Dutch Miami because it has some similar items on the menu. The sheep’s milk ricotta appetizer with grilled bread is so simple but so delicious. They also have a few pizzas, selection of salads and vegetable sides on the menu for vegetarians. The inside and outdoor area both have their own charm.
We walked by this Middle Eastern-Mediterranean restaurant several times and loved the warm coastal Mediterranean decor and vibe. We sat outside on the cozy plant-filled patio for pre-dinner drinks and snacks. While I can’t comment on the mains as we didn’t try much of the full menu, Byblos has plenty of veggie options like flatbreads, grilled and roasted vegetable dishes and rice-based mains.
A Miami-founded coffee house that roasts on site. We stopped by the one in Wynnwood, where you can sit outside and enjoy your coffee under a tree in the courtyard.
The Cuban influences abound in Miami – Puerto Sagua is no frills but it served probably the best iced Cuban coffee we tried.
Blue Bottle is right in the midst of the Design District. It’s a great stop to refuel at in between all the (window) shopping. Don’t forget to stop by the vibrant, larger-than-life 2×4 jungle mural right around the corner (a snippet is pictured above).
This little bakeshop in Wynnwood had probably the best carrot cake I have ever had as well one of the city’s best key lime pies.
Read more travel tips and get veggie-friendly restaurants lists if you’re going to Bangkok, Cape Town, South Africa’s Winelands, Florence or Jaipur. I’d love to hear your favorite spots in the comments!