Beyond the Food Courts, Where to Dine at Miami's Malls

Wonton soup at midtown Miami's Blackbrick.
Wonton soup at midtown Miami's Blackbrick.

They say don't shop on an empty stomach or you'll leave the grocery store with a cart full of food you won't eat. Does the same rule apply to holiday gift shopping? Malls are crowded, parking is stressful, and unless you have a stockpile of snacks, you need a few good food options to stay fueled and fight the holiday chaos.

From Lincoln Road to Dadeland, malls are amping up their food offerings to keep holiday shoppers' sated. Mall shopping doesn't have to mean grabbing a soft pretzel or some slop at the food court. Sophisticated dining options abound. From French bistros to upscale burger joints, here are the best mall dining options in Miami.

Sugarfina, considered among the world's most exclusive adult candy stores, is open at Aventura Mall.
Sugarfina, considered among the world's most exclusive adult candy stores, is open at Aventura Mall.
Courtesy of Sugarfina

Aventura Mall
A go-to for locals and tourists, Aventura Mall has all the top department stores, but how do the food options rank? Cheesecake Factory and Grand Lux Cafe are the always-crowded options, or try Bella Luna for Italian specialties; SushiSiam for Japanese and Thai dishes; the Grill on the Alley for steaks, chops, and seafood; or Beluga Bar for fresh oysters. For a healthy, quick option, check out the OnJuice Bar for pressed juice or the Juice & Java Cafe at Equinox. Aventura also has shopping destinations for the foodies on your list. Sur la Table is a kitchen and entertaining lover's dream, while the Scarlett Letter has luxury stationary and unique gifts while also serving coffee and sweets. Check out Sugarfina and Teavana for stocking stuffers.

Le Zoo
Le Zoo
Laine Doss

Bal Harbour Shops
Even if you're simply window-shopping at this garden oasis of luxury retail, the restaurants at Bal Harbour Shops are unique dining experiences. Stephen Starr's Le Zoo is a French brasserie serving classic bistro fare. If you're in the mood for classic Asian dishes with a twist, Makoto, with its elegant dining room, patio, and sushi bar, is a must. Or check out Hillstone Restaurant Group's the Grill at Bal Harbour for signature American dishes. The restaurant sits above the main promenade, so you'll get great palm-tree views and people-watching.

Chef Andres Torres chooses fresh produce for his tacos.
Chef Andres Torres chooses fresh produce for his tacos.
Courtesy of Elle Taco

Dadeland Mall
There is no shortage of shopping or dining options at Dadeland Mall. Canadian-based Earls Kitchen + Bar is a solid sit-down option with an expansive menu of steaks, burgers, artisan sandwiches, and pastas. Inspired by roadside taquerias, Elle Taco offers shoppers traditional Mexican recipes and, of course, tacos. Try the carne asada or al pastor tacos with a side of yuca fries. Or stop into Aoki — a Japanese sushi bar, steakhouse, bar, and grill — where you can be entertained by a chef at a teppanyaki table or sit at the bar for a drink and some sushi. Bobby's Burger Palace is a good pit stop for a quick burger. Try celebrity chef Bobby Flay's crunch burger with potato chips on top or the "Miami," pressed with ham, Swiss cheese, and pickles. Add a shake, and you're good to go.

The behemoth burger, which weighs about five pounds, costs $49.99.EXPAND
The behemoth burger, which weighs about five pounds, costs $49.99.
Courtesy of Bowlero

Dolphin Mall
This mall's deals and dining are on point. Shoppers can avoid hunger pangs at mostly chain restaurants to accommodate parties of any size, and there's also a classic food court. Sit down at Burger & Beer Joint, Buffalo Wild Wings, Kona Grill, Brother Jimmy's BBQ, or Brio Tuscan Grill for casual bites. Or keep the family entertained at fun stops such as Dave & Buster's, CinéBistro, and Cool de Sac. If you're up for a challenge, Bowlero's five-pound behemoth burger will feed your whole shopping squad for $49.99.



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