With Miami being a largely Latin city — boasting a 70 percent Hispanic population while also ranking as the nation's eleventh-largest Hispanic population — it truly is a literal melting pot of Latin American cultures. To say our city's status as the national capital of latinidad is both a point of pride and somewhat easy to take for granted in the day-to-day is an understatement.
But as the rest of the U.S. gets ready to celebrate a month dedicated to its largest minority, from promotions like Latin Restaurant Weeks to Hispanic Heritage Month — it feels worthwhile to mark the occasion in the best way we know how: through food.
From September 15 through October 15, our nation celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month: four weeks dedicated to honoring the history, culture, and influence of our populace hailing from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
To help you celebrate all the Latin and Hispanic flavors Miami offers, we've rounded up ten restaurants that express the incredible variety of cuisines and experiences available as part of our multifarious dining scene.
From mom-and-pop cafés to high-end destination restaurants, representing cultures that span Cuban and Venezuelan to Mexican and Argentinian, here are the best restaurants to celebrate Hispanic and Latino heritage in the Magic City any time of year.
Doggi's Arepa BarMultiple area locations
eatdoggis.comThere are plenty of places to stuff your face with arepas in Miami, but at Doggi's, the arepas themselves are stuffed to the brim. Now numbering three locations in Doral, MiMo, and Coral Way, the chain is beloved by Miamians for its jumbo-sized sandwiches featuring the distinctive Venezuelan corn flour buns and whatever you could possibly desire sandwiched within. Try a classic arepa de pabellón with shredded beef and cheese, fried plantains, and black beans, or keep it healthy with a vegan portobello mushroom and green salad option. Burgers and hot dogs are also on offer, as are other Venezuelan favorites like patacones and pepitos.
El Atlacatl3199 SW Eighth St., Miami
elatlacatlmiami.comSometimes compared to Versailles for serving a similar community role as the Cuban restaurant, El Atlacatl on SW Eighth St. and SW 32nd Ave. serves some of the best Salvadorian cuisine in the city. It's legendary for its pupusas (cheese-filled tortillas) but the massive menu, rivaling its more famous Cuban neighbor down the street in breadth, means there's something for everyone at any time of day. Try one of the house specialties such as the native-style fish fillet or the criollo special meat platter, and save room for desserts like plantain empanadas and yuca nougats.
Elcielo31 SE Fifth St., Miami
elcielomiami.comQuickly becoming a restaurant empire with restaurants in Medellín, Bogotá, Washington, D.C., and two Miami locations, Elcielo is making a name for itself as one of the best places to find Colombian fare in the Magic City. And not just any homage to the dishes of its founder's home country but one among the first to receive a Michelin designation for its pioneering take on Colombian food informed by molecular gastronomy. Chef/owner Juan Manuel "Juanma" Barrientos is something of a celebrity in the culinary world, having worked under famous chefs such as Juan Mari Arzak. The daring, artistic 22-course tasting menu features innovative dishes that let diners wash their hands with melted chocolate or pluck spice-scented yuca bread from a metal bonsai tree. In other words, if you're looking for a ball-out, spare-no-expense Latin extravaganza, this is the place to do it.
Enriqueta's Sandwich Shop186 NE 29th St., Miami
305-573-4681Surrounded by high-rises, this legendary Cuban café in the heart of Midtown is a holdover from a bygone era when nearby Wynwood was a decrepit warehouse district. Founded by the late Jose Pla, who died in 2019, occasional rumors of its closure have spurred Miamians into fits of support; no one wants a simple good thing like this place to vanish. Maybe you've stopped counting how many times you've visited, or maybe you've passed by and never even glanced at the storefront while driving past on Biscayne. Either way, Enriqueta's is one place that deserves to be recognized as one of the area's last remaining establishments to offer true authenticity in a city. And obviously, the croquetas are divine and the medianoche to die for. Do you think they would have lasted this long if they weren't among the best in the Magic City?
Fiorito5555 NE 2nd Ave., Miami
fioritomiami.comHere's a kind of place that's hard to find in Miami – delicious and unpretentious. Modeled after a classic Buenos Aires bodegón and boasting a now-prophetic Lionel Messi mural on the outer wall, Fiorito is as close as one can get to Argentina in Miami. It's also a classic neighborhood favorite for residents of Little Haiti, serving delicious meat and pasta dishes that feel like home no matter where you're from. Carnivores will be very happy with fresh-off-the-grill fare like their sausage sampler or one of their many, many steaks, from churrasco to prime vacio. Vegetarians won't have to make do with salad, thankfully – they can try porcini mushroom ravioli or grilled corvina fish.
Caja Caliente808 Ponce de Leon, Coral Gables
caja-caliente.comThis Coral Gables Cuban café started out as a food truck serving "the original Cuban taco" and often pops up around town. There's more to Caja Caliente than just Cubanized Mexican food, however. Although the shop serves a variety of tacos from lechon with black bean pico to grilled octopus in rocoto pepper sauce, it's also famous for its disco voladores, a distinctive form of Cuban sandwich cooked over an open fire. Burritos, tamales Cubanos, croquetas, and empanadas in unique flavors such as curry chicken also feature on the menu alongside creative dishes such as a ropa vieja-stuffed avocado.
Maty's3255 NE First Ave., Miami
matysmiami.comLast month, when Itamae — the illustrious Design District counter service restaurant that earned one of Miami's first Michelin stars, thanks to its boundary-pushing Nikkei cuisine — gave people a fright with an announcement they'd be closing and reopening as an omakase-forward concept. While the menu won't be the same, stalwart dishes can now be found at the Chang family's newly opened Maty's in Midtown, a bright, beautiful sit-down bistro with less experimental dishes that hew closer to Peruvian classics. The big draw here is their oxtail saltado, with delicious fried potato chunks and onions coated in cherry tomatoes and a rich sauce. Ceviches of scallops and black grouper also feature along with whole fried dorado and a kanpachi tiradito with gooseberry and passionfruit. Okay, so not too classic.
Social 27 Supper Club2555 SW Eighth St., Miami
social27miami.comSupper clubs on Calle Ocho are as Miami as cafecito, and this classy, recently opened eatery just east of SW 27th St. joins others such as Calle Dragones and Cafe La Trova in reviving classic Cuban glamour. Helmed by the crew behind Doce Provisions, the menu is nuevo Cubano, elevating classic dishes known far and wide across the city. Their pork croquetas, for instance, are made with bacon and pork belly and come with yuzu mojo aioli. A tiradito "cienfuegos" pairs daily fresh fish crudo with charred sofrito leche de tigre and smoked salmon roe. The cocktails also mix up the classics, from an "El Viejo Fashioned" with blackberry bitters and miel to the mezcal and Colombian lulo-based "Mi Amigo en Cartagena."
Yambo1643 SW First St., Miami
305-649-0203Arguments have and will continue to rage over the best Nicaraguan fritanga in Miami, but Yambo on SW First Street in Little Havana definitely wins on personality. The restaurant's interior is festooned with knick-knacks and odds-and-ends like a Central American TGI Friday's. But the food is the real draw here, making it a takeout favorite among locals. Carne asada, served with a side of white rice or gallo pinto (red rice and beans) is their specialty, and the marinated beef is cheap and satisfying. Make sure to add a side such as tajadas (fried plantain slices) or queso frito, as well as a traditional drink like tamarind juice. It's truly a come for the vibes, stay for the food type of place.
Uptown 666600 Biscayne Blvd, Miami
uptown66.miamiIs this humble roadside taco stand on Biscayne Boulevard in MiMo in fact home to the best tacos in the entirety of the United States? Good Morning America's 2023 United States of Tacos competition thinks so. The GMA's team of judges declared Uptown 66 chef Nuno Grullon's birria taco tops in the nation, beating out entries from Chicago, Dallas, and Atlanta. Uptown's offerings go beyond birria to al pastor and hongos (a vegan taco). That said, tacos don't even make up half of Uptown's menu. The humble stand also prepares a range of seafood dishes, snacks like elote and nachos, and desserts, including churros and a tres leches cake. Swing by for happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. on weeknights to enjoy $3 beers and $1 oysters with your steak or shrimp burrito.