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Ten Best Salads in Miami

Brazilian sausage for the win.
Brazilian sausage for the win.
Photo by Carina Ost

It's summertime, and the eating is easy and light. It's too hot for ovens, stoves, and heavy dressings and sauces. Cold food reigns supreme. Yes, we're talking salads. But not all are limited to sides and diet-conscious duty -- some are meant to be stars. Fresh produce is highlighted with hunks of meat, fruit, nuts, and other treats that make salads all they are tossed up to be.

What follows are the ten best, most unusual, and unbelievably hearty salads that will have you overlooking that hot and heavy entrée.

See also: Ten Best Restaurants in North Miami

All hail Caesar.
All hail Caesar.
Photo by Carina Ost

10. Deconstructed Caesar at Fish Fish

If your regular caesar salad is just a bit too bland, try Fish Fish's deconstructed masterpiece ($12). The romaine lettuce is grilled and served with a thick piece of toast in lieu of croutons. Shaved cheese tops the salad, and anchovies are off to the side along with creamy classic dressing. Cut this salad up and reconstruct it where it counts -- in your mouth.

The namesake, in salad form.
The namesake, in salad form.
Photo by Carina Ost

9. Special Green Papaya Salad at Green Papaya

The special green papaya salad ($7.95) at Green Papaya is worthy of the word "special" in the title. It's a must-order dish. However, we have yet to settle on the correct choice of meat to top it with -- the pork, shrimp, and chicken are all strong contenders. The fragrance and fresh flavor of the sweet green papaya, fish sauce, mint, carrots, jícama, red onion, peanuts, lime, cilantro, and the highly addictive fried shallots steal the show.

 

Country Cobb.
Country Cobb.
Photo by Jackie Sayet

8. Multiple Salads From Giardino Gourmet Salads

This home-grown salad franchise with eight locations in Miami is a favorite for its crisp lettuce, thoughtful combinations, and tasty toss-ins mixed in front of your eyes. The Country Cobb ($6.95 for a small) proved victorious in our Plato Royal showdown against a national competitor. Another favorite is Giardino's tropical salad, featuring mixed dried fruits and mixed nuts in a sweet and peppy mango poppy seed dressing. Also, the homemade croutons turn every salad into a winner.

Fluffy falafels below.
Fluffy falafels below.
Photo by Carina Ost

7. Falafel Salad at Maoz

When you can't be trusted at salad bars to keep the scale from tipping over the $12 mark, Maoz comes to the rescue. This international vegetarian fast-service chain is refreshing. Right in the heart of South Beach, it serves filling and healthful lunches that won't leave you broke. Fluffy falafels are placed in a salad ($7.95) with your choice of two add-ons (such as hummus, feta, hard-boiled egg, and eggplant), and then you get a visit to the free salad bar, where you can top to your palate's content. Cauliflower and broccoli are favorites; then squirt on some hot sauce, yogurt, or garlic sauce to make it your own.

 

Fruity.
Fruity.
Photo by Carina Ost

6. House Fruit Salad at Miami Juice

A fruit salad may seem like a simple dish you bring to a potluck, but when it's well executed, it can be so much more -- it can be glorious. The house fruit salad ($6.95 for small, $12.95 for a large) at Miami Juice uses a bounty of the freshest seasonal fruits topped with honey, shredded coconut, mixed nuts and seeds, and even dried fruit to get it all meta.

Not so mini salad.
Not so mini salad.
Photo by Carina Ost

5. Shrimp Mini Salad at Go-Go Fresh Food Cafe

If jumbo shrimp is an oxymoron, then a mini shrimp salad ($6.70) seems pretty smart. In fact, so smart that we are willing to brave the road construction canker on Alton to reach this go-to café. Go-Go Fresh offers a build-your-own big salad, but this time-tested crustacean creation is a favorite. It showcases steamed shrimp, green peas, palm hearts, and mixed greens in a cilantro-lime dressing for a fresh, flavorful, and zesty combination.

 

Now that's a big salad.
Now that's a big salad.
Photo by Carina Ost

4. Big Salad at Mi Vida Cafe

Blame Seinfeld's Elaine Benes. We always want a big salad -- something to leave us full from a bowl we can't stopping digging out of. Along with positive vibes and a cell-phone-free atmosphere, Mi Vida offers just that. The big salad ($12) is served with whatever is in season and in the fridge, but you can expect sprouts, arugula, avocado, and seeds in a light ginger and shallots vinaigrette. The scoop of creamy avocado with sesame seeds on top is like a savory version of sorbet with rainbow sprinkles.

Conch salad.
Conch salad.
Photo by Carina Ost

3. Lanbi Pike Nan Ji Sitwon at Tap Tap

There was a time when a scoop of tuna salad on a garden salad was the ideal lunch. In Miami, we can get a far better version of that elementary dish with South Beach mainstay Tap Tap's spicy marinated conch salad. The minced onion, celery, conch, peppers, and lime is bold, and the crisp bed of lettuce helps cut the spicy heat. At this Haitian hot spot, the refreshing dish banishes the heat of a sweltering summer night.

 

2. Fried Green Tomato Salad at Whisk Gourmet Food & Catering

There's no question -- fried green tomatoes are worthy of a feature-length movie. At Whisk, these firm green fruits are offered as an appetizer or in a salad ($8.95). The golden disks of wonder come served with crumbled bacon bits and shaved Parmesan in an herb-perked buttermilk dressing over organic mixed greens. This is how the South does salad, and it is awesome.

Brazilian sausage for the win.
Brazilian sausage for the win.
Photo by Carina Ost

1. Salada Little Brazil at Little Brazil

Brazil is many things, but little it is not -- and neither is this enormous salad ($14.95). It comes with the mightiest of players: sausage, prawns, and palm hearts. The bits of linguiça sausage -- Brazilian sausage packed with juicy pork and a mild touch of heat -- burst at the seams atop a bed of lettuce. The juices of the succulent shrimp, sautéed in a garlic, white wine, lemon, and butter sauce, seeps onto the lettuce, tomato, carrots, and palm hearts. This salad may not be light, but it is massive and utterly delicious.

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Related Locations

miles
Fish Fish - Closed

13488 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33181

786-732-3124

fishfishmiami.com

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Green Papaya
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Giardino Gourmet Salads

11402 NW 41st St. # 110
Doral, FL 33178

305-629-9553

www.giardinosalads.com

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Maoz Vegetarian

1657 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-534-6269

www.maozusa.com

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Miami Juice

18660 Collins Ave.
Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160

305-945-0444

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Go-Go Fresh Food Cafe

926 Alton Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-673-3137

www.gogomiamibeach.com

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Mi Vida Cafe

7244 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33138

305-759-6020

www.mividacafe.net

miles
Tap Tap

819 Fifth St.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-672-2898

www.taptaprestaurant.com

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Whisk Gourmet Food & Catering

7382 SW 56th Ave.
South Miami, FL 33143

786-268-8350

whiskgourmet.com

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Little Brazil

6984 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33141

305-397-8215

littlebrazilrestaurant.com


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