A Tapestry of International Flavors

American cuisine may not seem “international” but it is if you’re not from here. So, we start our tour with a few SOMI favorites that offer distinctly different takes on classic American fare. 


Filet Mignon Steak Sandwich

Cracked, on the corner of S.W. 57th Court and 74th Street, is one of several popular South Florida restaurants helmed by Chef Adrianne Calvo, who has captivated diners for more than a decade with her “Maximum Flavor” approach to cooking. Her menu here appeals to carnivores and vegetarians alike, with dishes like Filet Mignon Steak Sandwich with provolone, caramelized onions and truffle; Buttermilk-Brined Fried Chicken and Waffles, and her twist on Mexican street corn, Elotes off the Cob – a bowl of sweet, creamy corn spiced with chipotle mayo, garlic-cilantro aioli, queso blanco and fresh cilantro. Cracked has a full bar and offers a variety of wines by the glass or bottle. 


Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice

Located on the corner of Red Road and San Ignacio in the heart of South Miami, Public Square is a new, upscale entry from the folks behind several other restaurants here in SOMI and beyond. Focusing on fresh American fare with artisanal ingredients and California wines, Public Square’s menu leans toward hearty cuts of meat like the 20-ounce Ribeye Steak, served with truffled fingerling potatoes and grilled vegetables, or freshly prepared fish like the Grilled Branzino with roasted vegetables, herb-roasted fingerling potatoes and fresh herbs in a lemon butter vinaigrette. Vegetarian options include a delicious Roasted Cauliflower Steak served with piquillo pepper chimichurri, truffle aioli, shallot chips and red chili oil. A half-dozen or so sushi offerings include the popular Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice, which combines crispy rice, tuna tartare, chili oil, scallions and sesame seeds. Public Square has an extensive wine list and a full bar.

Grove Bay Hospitality’s Francesco Balli, Ignacio Garcia-Menocal
and Eddie Acevedo.


Root & Bone BBQ Ribs

Root & Bone offers a tribute to the timeless recipes and traditions of rural America and the warm embrace of its hospitality. Top Chef veterans Janine Booth and Jeff McInnis, partners at home and in the kitchen – both here and at Mi’talia next door – have crafted a menu that features “honest, soul-nurturing” southern food prepared with “conscientiously sourced, farm-fresh ingredients.” Start your meal with Grandma Daisy’s Angel Biscuits, served with honey-chicken jus, sea salt and benne seeds, or Grilled Summer Peach & Burrata, with cornbread crouton, baby tomatoes, fresh basil, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Of course, it wouldn’t be Root and “Bone” without some meat on the menu, and offerings include smoky Barbeque Brûléed Spare Ribs, burnt brown sugar-crusted ribs served with pickled fresno chilies and a tangy barbecue sauce, or the impossibly crispy-tender Sweet Tea-Brined Fried Chicken, lemon-dusted and served with honey-Tabasco sauce. Like Mi’talia next door, Root & Bone has a robust wine list and a creative cocktail menu. You’ll find it on the corner of U.S. 1 and S.W. 73rd Street.

Root & Bone and Mi’talia on US.1 at 73 Street


Shrimp & Grits

Hidden away on S.W. 56th Avenue, behind the hardware store on Red Road, is Whisk, a South Miami favorite for more than a decade. Executive Chef Michelle Minotti prepares “modern American cuisine with a South Carolina low-country influence” at this loud and always-busy spot. Popular items here include Fried Green Tomatoes, Shrimp and Grits, and sweet and smoky Bacon-Wrapped Dates stuffed with tangy gorgonzola. Other standouts are Bourbon & Brown Sugar Seared Salmon, served with cheese grits, sautéed spinach and crispy shallots, and Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Organic Spinach Salad with shaved red onion, avocado, chopped egg and roasted mushrooms tossed in a honey mustard dressing. Those who enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine with their meal can do so here. 

Okay, our next stop isn’t a country but it IS a “go-to” favorite of locals and tourists alike, with a globetrotting menu that offers flavors of Italy, France, Spain, Mexico, China and Japan.


TOWN Kitchen & Bar on 57th Court

Nestled in the heart of South Miami’s restaurant district since 2006, Town Kitchen & Bar, with its warm and inviting ambiance and eclectic menu, remains a landmark for diners. With its seasonally rotating culinary and cocktail menu, Town is a self-proclaimed “neighborhood joint” – albeit one with an inviting ambiance and a menu that offers something for everyone. Enjoy a Spicy Ahi Tuna Bowl paired with a Town Lychee Martini; a delicious Stone Oven Pizza with a local draft microbrew, or maybe a juicy Jerk Churrasco Steak with a nice Napa Valley cabernet. Wherever your appetite leads you, you’re sure to find something tasty at Town, which can be found on the corner of S.W. 73rd Street and 57th Court.

Italian cuisine is popular no matter where you’re from, and SOMI’s town center is blessed with several restaurants where you can enjoy the vibrant flavors of northern and southern Italy. Abbondanza!


Located in the distinctive glass building at the corner of U.S. 1 and S.W. 73rd Street is MI’talia Kitchen & Bar, the second of a pair of SOMI restaurants helmed by chefs Janine Booth and Jeff McInnis. (They also run the kitchen at Root & Bone next door.) Their menu showcases a modern interpretation of northern and southern Italian specialties, such as Bucatini Carbonara with crispy pancetta, English peas, black pepper and parmesan, or Not Your Nonna’s Bolognese, a hearty, slow-braised veal, pork and beef Bolognese sauce with pappardelle pasta, local burrata and basil. Pizzas are popular at Mi’talia, including the Sunflower Pizza, which tops a chewy and flavorful crust with cherry tomatoes, yellow squash, lemon zest, mint-pistachio pesto, ricotta and sunflower seeds. Mi’talia offers wine and cocktails, and diners can sit inside or out on the patio it shares with Root & Bone.


Lobster Ravioli

When master chef and restaurateur Fabio Trabocchi opened the upscale Fiola on the ground floor of Facundo Bacardi’s beautiful office building on Sunset Drive several years ago, the restaurant became an immediate hit, attracting a loyal and well-heeled clientele with its delicious, beautifully presented dishes and its stellar service. The menu is not large, but each dish is a work of art to be savored. Fiola’s Caesar Salad brings charred baby romaine and poached wild shrimp together in a basil-caesar dressing accented by vacche rosse cheese and brioche croutons, while Beef Short Rib Agnolotti arrives with parmesan & porcini broth, royal trumpet mushrooms and charred kale. A Fiola favorite – and one of the best examples of the dish you’ll find anywhere – is Lobster Ravioli with gently poached lobster, ginger, chives and roe. Fiola offers an extensive list of fine wines and a full bar.


Pear Gorgonola Ravioli

Located on Red Road just across from the Chevron Station, Caffé Parlare was formerly known as Coffee Talk, a bit of a misnomer for an Italian trattoria that turns out gourmet delights for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chef-owner Omar Marillo’s breakfast menu runs the gamut from sweet to savory with dishes like Coconut French Toast or The Grandpa Sandwich, piled thick with bacon, provolone, eggs, avocado and garlic aioli. The lunch and dinner menus offer an enticing array of appetizers like Eggplant Rollatini, Cauliflower Carbonara and Polenta Fries. Entrees include Sea Scallops and Shrimp served with champagne risotto and saffron sauce, or Steak Frites, a perfectly grilled churrasco with crispy french fries and a zesty chimichurri sauce. A dozen or so pasta dishes round out Caffé Parlare’s menu, including a delicious homemade Pear Ravioli with gorgonzola sauce in a truffle infusion. And, as the menu notes, if you don’t see what you like, just ask.

If you want to experience a little slice of Paris in the heart of South Miami, there’s a cozy spot on Red Road whose menu and ambiance will make you feel as if you’ve been transported to the City of Light.

If you want to experience a little slice of Paris in the heart of South Miami, there’s a cozy spot on Red Road whose menu and ambiance will make you feel as if you’ve been transported to the City of Light.


Moules Marinieres, Frites

When chef-owner Philippe Jacquet opened Cafe Pastis in South Miami some 20 years ago, it quickly became a local favorite, known for its warm ambiance and authentic French cuisine. A native of Marseilles who trained in the kitchens of Paris and New York before arriving in Miami, Chef Philippe has always been an activist for fresh, flavorful simple food like the kind he enjoyed as a child. His café, in a strip mall on Red Road just past Sunset, offers an assortment of typical French salads and entrees, including homemade Duck and Black Peppercorn Pate; Escargots bathed in butter, garlic and pastis; and a hearty, saffron-scented Bouillabaisse chock-full of mussels, shrimp, fish, crawfish and fennel. Also noteworthy is Chef Phillipe’s Grilled New York Strip, which comes Parisian-style with a delicious green peppercorn and cognac sauce and a generous side of crispy French Fries. Café Pastis offers a good selection of wines to accompany your meal. (mais bien sur!)

Here in Miami, Cuban cuisine is as local as it gets but we include SOMI’s sole Cuban restaurant on our tour because a meal here recalls a special place and time where life was good and the food was even better.


Vaca Frita

Whether you want to linger over a leisurely meal inside or out on the patio, or just order a quick cafecito from la ventanita, Casa Cuba is a place where families and friends like to gather. Appetizers include Cazuelita Casacuba, with shrimp, calamari, sausage and mushrooms grilled with garlic and olive oil, and Tostones Rellenos de Camarones, crispy fried green plantain cups filled with shrimp in a zesty Creole sauce. Entrees cover all the Cuban favorites like Lechon Asado, tender roast pork served with rice and sweet plantains, Ropa Vieja, shredded beef with sauteed onions and bell peppers in a tasty cumin and paprika-laced tomato sauce, and Chicharrones de Pollo, crispy fried chicken chunks topped with Cuban mojo and onions. You’ll find Casa Cuba across from the Winn-Dixie. Wines and cocktails? Si, por supuesto!

Peruvian cuisine – ceviche, in particular – is almost as easy to find in South Florida as arroz con pollo, and it’s no wonder: its flavors and ingredients are perfectly suited for our geography, climate and tastes. 


Chef Javier Florez has perfected the art of ceviche

Coming soon to the corner of S.W. 58th Avenue and 73rd Street is a new Peruvian restaurant, Ceviche Lovers by Javier Florez. A native of Lima, Peru, Chef Javier is a recipient of the Golden Knife Award presented each year to the best Peruvian chef in the U.S. His lomo saltado features tender strips of beef sauteed with sliced onions and tomatoes in a flavorful soy and wine reduction, accompanied by a creamy pesto risotto. For his ceviche, Chef Javier uses fresh corvina – the fish of choice for many ceviche chefs – bathed in leche de tigre, a bracing lime juice concoction that’s said to have aphrodisiacal qualities. All ceviche dishes here are served with the traditional accompaniments of choclo (boiled large-kernel Peruvian corn), camote (boiled sweet potato) and canchas (crispy-fried corn kernels). Thirsty? Order a Pisco Sour from the bar or try an Espinel, Chef Javier’s proprietary beer.

Our next stop takes you to Portugal, where the bounty of the sea is readily available and its people have a love for fresh-from-the-ocean fish and seafood dishes like the kind you’ll find at SOMI’s only Portuguese restaurant.


Bacalhau å Lagareiro

Old Lisbon opened the doors of its first location on Coral Way in 1991 and a few years later opened a second location on Sunset Drive in the town center. Old Lisbon’s authentic menu reflects executive chef Carlos Abreu’s love of the sea and his native Portugal, where he grew up in a coastal fishing village. Cod is a staple of Portuguese cuisine and you’ll find plenty of options on his menu, from Bacalhau com Natas, shredded cod with potatoes and cheese in a creamy sauce, to Bacalhau à Lagareiro, grilled cod fillet with onions, garlic, potatoes and roasted peppers. Other standout dishes include Feijoada de Mariscos, a typically Portuguese stew laden with clams, mussels, shrimp, squid, sausage, white beans and rice, and Bife à Portuguesa, tender steak layered with prosciutto, fried egg and sliced fried potatoes. Old Lisbon’s extensive wine list offers a variety of Portuguese wines as well as wines from around the world.

Chinese food ranks right up there on the list of America’s most popular ethnic foods, and SOMI is home to one spot that is as popular with residents as it is for UM students and office workers in the area.


Singapore Rice Noodles

In a small strip mall steps from Whole Foods is WU’s Kitchen & Wines, a family-owned Chinese restaurant which, as its name suggests, also has a decent wine menu. All of the traditional favorites can be found here, from Honey Garlic Chicken to Kung Pao Shrimp, but the real stars are house specialties such as Singapore Rice Noodles, stir-fried rice vermicelli with chicken, shrimp, pork, green peppers, red peppers, egg, onions, scallions and carrots, or Fish and Tofu Pot, a delicious dish that combines fried fish, tofu, carrots, celeries, snow peas, mushrooms and scallions in a savory sauce. Complement your meal with a bottle of one of WU’s affordably priced wines. (Currently only serving Take-Away.)

Forty years ago, most U.S. diners didn’t even know what sushi or sashimi was but today they’re more closely identified with Japanese cuisine than perhaps any other food from the Land of the Rising Sun. Luckily, two of Miami’s best sushi spots are right here in SOMI.


Akashi Japanese Restaurant on US 1 & 71 Street

Akashi opened its doors in 1993 in one of the Town Center’s most visible locations on U.S. 1 near The Shops at Sunset Place. Over the past three decades, chef-owners Larry and Barbara Chi have helped introduce many locals to some of the freshest sushi around. Some of the more exotic rolls here include the Mermaid Roll, with spicy tuna, avocado and cucumber topped with masago, seaweed salad and spicy mayo, or the Sexy Mama, which combines tempura salmon, krab salad, cream cheese and masago, topped with avocado, spicy mayo, eel sauce and tempura crunch. Rounding out Akashi’s menu are traditional Japanese favorites such as stir-fries, teriyaki, tempura, yakisoba and more. You’ll also find a selection of beer, wine and sake.


Sashimi Platter

Serving South Miami since 1994, this cozy Japanese restaurant on S.W. 73rd Street keeps diners coming back with fresh and creative sushi and other Japanese specialties. A couple of standout options on the sushi menu include the Miyako Roll, with eel, asparagus, avocado and roe wrapped in a Japanese style egg crepe, or the Kimchi Roll, which combines tender conch, spinach, asparagus, scallions, cucumber, roe, and kimchi sauce. Tempura Soba features chewy soba noodles in a hot and fragrant broth topped with shrimp tempura, while Shoga Yaki has tender slices of pork sauteed with ginger sauce. Complement your meal with a glass of beer, wine or sake, and don’t pass on dessert – the tempura ice cream is a Miyako favorite.

With its delicate balancing act of salty, spicy, sweet and sour, Thai cuisine is a true treat for jaded tastebuds. At SOMI’s only Thai restaurant, the chef-owner brings the flavors of his native Bangkok to the “City of Pleasant Living.”


East Thai Hor Mok

Tucked away behind Deli Lane Café is a hidden gem of a restaurant where chef-owner Tommy Zoobharesasee turns out tasty, traditional dishes such as his addictive sweet and spicy Thai-style Chicken Wings or Tom Khar Ramen, which combines ground chicken with grilled shrimps, poached egg, Chinese broccoli, bean sprouts and mushrooms in a fragrant lemongrass-coconut milk broth. Another specialty here – and one you won’t find on the menu at many other local Thai restaurants – is Hor Mok, which combines perfectly cooked salmon, Chinese cabbage, sweet peppers, egg, kaffir lime leaf, basil and curry, all steamed in a banana leaf. Soak up the tasty broth with some roti, Indian flat bread that’s lightly grilled and served with yellow curry sauce, but save room for East’s Thai Donuts, warm and fluffy pillows of fried dough served with sweetened condensed milk and chopped nuts for dipping.

Not sure what to expect from a Lebanese restaurant? Think Middle Eastern with a twist. In SOMI there’s one spot that’s been serving authentic Lebanese cuisine for nearly 30 years.


Traditional Middle-Eastern Appetizers

This family-owned Mediterranean-Lebanese restaurant across from the Winn-Dixie serves unique and flavorful dishes from chef Maroun Khoury’s homeland. Start your meal with the familiar – homemade hommus served with warm, pillow-soft pita bread, or fresh tabouleh salad with peppery chopped parsley and diced tomatoes and onions in a lemon-olive oil dressing. For your entrée, the Kafta Kebab is a savory sphere of ground lamb, beef, parsley and onion, simply grilled and served with a salad of chopped tomatoes, onions, olive oil and parsley. If you want to sample a specialty from chef Maroun’s northern Lebanon hometown of Zgharta, try Khoury’s Kafta, tender morsels of ground lamb and beef sauteed with onions and tomatoes. Then, get ready to expand your culinary horizons with Raw Kibbeh, a mix of fresh cuts of beef, crushed wheat and seasonings finely ground into a dense and nutty paste best enjoyed with fresh mint leaves and a splash of olive oil. Complement your meal with a bottle of Lebanese wine or a cocktail from the bar. For dessert, take Micheline Khoury’s suggestion and try their signature milk pudding with pistachios, a fine way to end your meal.

Kafta Kebab

Our final stop on the tour takes us to Greece, the Cradle of Western Civilization. While Greek and Lebanese cuisines share many dishes in common, there are some subtle differences that can only be discovered by trying them both.


Kalimera Restaurant at 71 Street & US 1

Veteran restaurateur Hussein Lamaa, who ran Marhaba on Sunset Drive for 20 years before the pandemic forced him to close, is back and ready to don his apron once again, partnering with the owners of La Pizza on a new concept that will be opening soon next door to the popular pizza place on S.W. 71st Street just off of U.S. 1. Kalimera’s menu will feature Greek “classics” such as Greek Salad, Grilled Octopus and Lamb Chops, plus a variety of dishes from Chef Hussein’s homeland of Lebanon, including Tabbouleh, Falafel, Kibbe and Kebab. Specialties, he says, will include Kafta, a savory dish of ground lamb and beef, onion, parsley and seasoning that’s cooked on the grill; Hot Fish, which features salmon baked in a spicy tahini sauce; Kibbey Mayeh, a dish of ground raw beef and lamb, and Kalimera Shrimp, sauteed with garlic, blackberry seeds, lemon and olive oil. The 150-seat restaurant will have indoor and outdoor seating and a full bar, says Chef Hussein.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes our tour of SOMI’s top international dining spots. We’re very glad you joined us and hope you’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy the wonderful variety of international flavors available in our South Miami Town Center, whether it’s at one of these restaurants or one of the many other eateries to be found here. Remember to check with the restaurant to see if they offer a special menu for Miami Spice, which runs through October. ¡Buen Provecho!


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