While in Miami last week for a friend’s bachelorette party, part of the itinerary included a food tour of South Beach. I would recommend this to anyone who’s interested in trying out local cuisine or visiting the area for the first time.
We met up with our guide Lana and the rest of our tour group at Manolo. Here we had the churros, one of their specialties. Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and filled with caramel. Needless to say, it was delish!
Stop number 2 was Bolivar. Their menu includes various South American dishes with a Colombian flair. We were served ceviche (sadly, I don’t remember what type of fish was in it) and empanadas filled with meat and potatoes with a side of spicy aji sauce. I only tried a bit of it since it contained habanero, which is over my heat tolerance. These pheNOMenal bites were washed down with the restaurant’s signature drink, the refajo. It’s a mix of beer and Columbiana, a carbonated drink similar to cream soda.
Sudden rain caused us to rush to the next part of the tour, Larios on the Beach. This was opened in 1992 by Gloria and Emilio Estefan, and features award-winning Cuban cuisine. Here we sampled a shredded beef dish called ropa vieja, which came with mariquitas (sweet plantain chips) and mojo (a sauce with a base of garlic and lime juice). Simply dip one of the chips in the mojo, then top with the beef and enjoy. Such a fun dish!
After the brief period of wet weather had passed, we were on our way to The Tides. This hotel had been a popular stop for celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra. The inside features the Art Deco style that parts of Miami are known for. The dish we had here was chicken with a tomato based sauce, topped with a fried plantain.
At this point, most of us were on the verge of being full. But we still had 2 more stops to go! While walking along Ocean Drive, our guide showed us The Villa Casa Casuarina, also known as the Versace Mansion. In the years following Gianni Versace’s untimely passing, the estate has been converted into a luxury hotel.
Our last piece of savory fare was had at Blocks Pizza Deli. The Sun Dried Hippie pocket contained sun dried tomatoes, feta, baby spinach, basil pesto, and kalamata olives.
Our tasty tour ended on a sweet note at Milani Gelateria. The shop offers both dairy and non-dairy based gelato. My choice was the Ferrero Rocher. It tasted just like the candy!
This was my first guided food tour, and I really enjoyed it. South Beach is one of 3 area food tours that the company offers. You can also schedule a private tour if you happen to have a large group. Feel free to visit their site for more information.