You've beaten your way through the crowds and secured your elusive holiday shopping payload. Your mission was a success, and now you're famished. But — gasp — you're at a mall! There's nothing to eat except the usual chains. There has to be something better. And there is.
Miami-area malls and shopping centers have a surplus of good restaurants. From the megamalls out west to the upscale districts near the beach, here's a list of the best places to eat while you do your holiday shopping.
1. Pubbelly Sushi Market at Aventura Mall. The multistory Aventura Mall is already one of the top three largest malls in the United States, and it’ll only grow later this year when it expands with a huge food hall. Until then, visit Pubbelly Sushi Market. The storefront offers grab-and-go versions of everyone’s favorite raw fish dish, along with Pubbelly favorites such as tuna pizza and butter krab rolls. 19501 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 069, Aventura; 786-522-7889; pubbellysushi.us. Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sunday noon to 8 p.m.
2. Le Zoo at Bal Harbour Shops. Restaurateur Stephen Starr has brought a bit of Paris to Bal Harbour with Le Zoo. This French brasserie serves authentic bistro cuisine such as veal Milanese and escargots with Chartreuse-spiked hazelnut butter. Maybe you can't afford to buy that Chanel handbag, but you can splurge on a second glass of rosé. 9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour; 305-602-9663; lezoo.com. Lunch Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; dinner Monday through Saturday 4 to 11 p.m. and Sunday till 10 p.m.; brunch Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
3. Tacology at Brickell City Centre. Next time you go for tacos, it should be a place that uses fresh ingredients that taste great. Tacology is exactly that kind of place, combining the activity and authenticity of a Mexican market with the convenience of a lively stateside restaurant. Here you’ll find not only tuna and mushroom tacos on tortillas made from non-GMO corn but also grab-and-go breakfast in the morning and alcoholic beverages such as tequila and margaritas for after work. 701 S. Miami Ave., Miami; 786-347-5368; tacology.us. Sunday through Thursday noon to 11 p.m., Friday through Saturday noon to midnight.
4. Roberta's Pizza at Miami Design District's Jungle Plaza. If you find yourself flitting from Gucci to Givenchy in the Design District, look no further for a bite than Roberta’s, a pop-up of the Brooklyn pizzeria that’s taken the Bushwick neighborhood by storm. Seriously, this place is so good it was featured on Viceland’s The Pizza Show. Order a Famous Original and you’ll know what the hype is about: The crust is puffy and perfectly blackened, and the cheese is gooey and mild. Jungle Plaza, with entrances at 3801 NE First Ave. and 140 NE 39th St., Miami. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through April 2018.
5. Earls Kitchen + Bar at Dadeland Mall. Earls serves a wide range of items, from American classics such as burgers and steaks to trendy items like poke. But take a look at its website, and you'll see this place is huge in Canada. Specifically, the chain has taken over the western provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, with dozens of locations in major cities such as Vancouver and Calgary. There’s even one all the way in the Yukon. Clearly, Earls is doing something right. 7535 N. Kendall Dr., Unit 2510, Miami; 305-667-1786; earls.ca. Monday through Tuesday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Wednesday 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m., Thursday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
6. Sakaya Kitchen in Midtown Miami. Craving kimchee? In Miami, it can be difficult to find the kind of spicy delights found in Korean cuisine. Sakaya keeps it simple, offering a menu that has something for everyone. Korean fried chicken and honey-orange baby-back ribs offer tasty twists on more Western fare, while the bulgogi beef and dae ji pork bowls can easily fill two stomachs. 3401 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-573-8886; sakayakitchen.com. Lunch Monday through Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; dinner Sunday through Thursday 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., Friday through Saturday 5:30 to 11 p.m.
7. The Café at Books & Books at Lincoln Road Mall. Lincoln Road tends to be famous for three things: tourists, chain shops like American Eagle and Victoria’s Secret, and loud restaurants with outdoor seating that’s usually right in the hot Florida sun. The Café at Books & Books is a bit different: Nestled in a shaded alcove that’s easy to miss, it provides a quiet refuge from the hectic South Beach foot traffic. It’s also, of course, right outside the Miami Beach location of South Florida’s largest independent bookstore chain, meaning you can chow down on an ancient-grains burger as you peruse the latest issue of your favorite design magazine. 927 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 305-695-8898; thecafeatbooksandbooks.com. Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
8. Zinburger at Sawgrass Mills. Navigating the labyrinth of shops and stalls can be taxing on both the body and the mind. Once you’ve had enough shopping, venture outside to Zinburger for a truly deluxe beef and cheese sandwich. Choose from one of the chain’s many mouthwatering options, from the fire-roasted-jalapeño-and-pepper-jack-cheese El Diablo to a delectable take on the classic French dip, or customize your own. For an extra $5, you can also change your patty meat to Kobe beef or an Angus-beef-and-prime-rib blend. Next to Bloomingdale's, 1800 Sawgrass Mills Cir., Sunrise; 954-846-360; zinburger.com. Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
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9. Kobe House at Dolphin Mall. Hasn’t it been too long since you last had teppanyaki? Just think back to your last confrontation with the chef and his tabletop grill, tossing food around as if he were an Olympic-level food fighter. Recall the savory teriyaki steak and chicken and the chopped vegetables doused in sauce. Nothing is quite as fun and thrilling as somewhere such as Kobe, where dinner and a show are rolled into one. Plus, you might make some new friends out of the people sharing the table with you. 11401 NW 12th St., Miami; 305-591-1414; kobehousemiamifl.com. Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to midnight, Saturday noon to 11:30 p.m., Sunday noon to 10:30 p.m.
10. American Girl Bistro at the Falls. OK, this place ain’t exactly gourmet, but it’s the kind of delightfully bonkers dining experience that demands consideration. This place is made for the girliest of little girls. Everything, from the walls to the menus, is pink. The food is fun-sized, with mini hot dogs and cupcakes served on lace doilies. Strangest of all, you are encouraged to dine with American Girl dolls, either ones you purchased in the adjacent boutique or temporary companions you can choose upon being seated, each receiving their own tiny teacup and saucer for you to take home. They stare at you with a loving, steady gaze while you nibble your miniature hamburger. The experience is basically one big tea party — what’s not to love? 8888 SW 136th St., Suite 395A, Miami; 877-247-5223; americangirl.com. Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.