Skipping Miami steakhouses for occasional meals at the local salad joint is one thing, but it would take a carnivore Herculean effort to embrace vegetarian restaurants. Miami eateries have made the meat-free proposition less heroic by tapping into the local Latin you’d find at a Miami Cuban restaurant and sourcing produce from nearby farms. The result? Nourishing food that’s good for you and the beach body you’ve been sculpting at a Miami gym.
Best vegetarian restaurants in Miami
Celebrated raw-food chef Matthew Kenney has made die-hard carnivores fall in love with vegetables at his plant-based concept inside The Sacred Space (which happens to be directly adjacent to his eponymous culinary academy). His training in French technique comes through in the beautifully plated dishes, delivering a kaleidoscope of colors and intricate shapes that are as tasty as they are stunning. His muse? The locally sourced vegetables he wields into all sorts of interesting creations, such as kelp cacio e pepe and the too-pretty-to-eat kimchi dumplings. Wine is all organic, as are the flavored cocktails made using seasonal fruits and herbs.
Farm-to-counter doesn’t get as much play as farm-to-table, but the reality is that most of us don’t have the leisure of time at every meal. That’s where South Beach restaurant Dirt comes in, serving healthy, locally sourced dishes all day long. Much like other fast-casual restaurants, you’ll place your breakfast, lunch or dinner order at the counter. Liquids rule the breakfast menu, from espresso-based drinks made with Dirt’s own private-label coffee and house-made nut milk to cold-pressed juice and chef-blended smoothies. Lunch and dinner feature veggie-forward offerings, many of which can be ordered as a gluten-free, paleo-friendly or vegetarian version. Need a little extra protein? Top your dish with a farm-fresh, organic poached egg—you won’t regret it.
Manna Life Food, serving meals that nourish mind and body, makes it easy to come to terms with the notion that we are what we eat. What’s the secret? Superfoods, nutrient-dense seeds, beans, greens and berries, which owner and nutrition expert Sabra Seligman sneaks into every dish, drink and cold-pressed juice she sells. Everything on the menu is house-made, gluten-free, plant-based and organic—and tastes incredible. There’s a superfood version of the traditional Venezuelan arepa that’s made from ground corn, chia and golden flax seeds and cooked in coconut oil. Order one topped with cashew-nut cheese and roasted red peppers for a wholesome alternative to pizza. Once a month, Manna hosts a free wellness workshop with local health coaches and dieticians.
It takes some digging to find Full Bloom, and perhaps an intuitive GPS, but the food you’ll experience warrants an expedition to the Belle Isle restaurant—which is tucked deep inside Costa Brava Condos just near the water’s edge. Vegans, particularly those with a love for Latin food, will enjoy the range of Mexican-inspired dishes, raw tapas and hearty entrees, such as the chimichurri tempeh. It's been known to sway a carnivore or two. Desserts are tropical in nature and feature fresh coconut, key lime and other local flavors.
For Italian food that won’t stick to your ribs or upset your gut, head to VeganAroma Organic Café, where everything on the menu is raw, vegan and unprocessed. That’s not to say the food here isn’t filling, because it is. A serving of mushrooms stuffed with nut cheese or the delicate beet ravioli will do you in. There are other items on the menu too, such as salads, noodles and dessert, which is also vegan and organic—so it’s practically guilt-free.
This no-frills vegetarian restaurant has managed to turn characteristically unhealthy Latin food into something that’s actually good for you. Plus, it’s cheap. For less than $10 you’ll get a mound of beans, vegan versions of pastelón (Puerto Rico’s answer to shepherd's pie) and a vegetable side served inside a large Styrofoam container, perhaps the least environmentally friendly thing here. Specials change daily, but there’s always some sort of Latin-inspired trio available, as well as freshly made juices and smoothies.
Speed doesn’t stand in the way of wholesome nutrition at Della Test Kitchen, a stationary food truck parked inside the Wynwood Yard that’s whipping up custom, nutrient-dense food bowls. The concept is simple: customers pick a base, a protein and a topping, all of which are plant-based and free of gluten, sugar and peanuts—eliminating concerns related to common food sensitivities. Because the truck is parked, Della’s literally put down roots, creating its own onsite garden that grows many of the herbs used to flavor the variety of sauces available.
French women may not get fat like Americans do (or whatever the popular diet book says) but they’re not immune to the unhealthy consequences associated with eating bread, cheese, butter and other staples of Gallic cuisine. Though not at Eden in Eden, a little vegetarian French café, giving local Francophiles an opportunity to have their gâteau and eat it too. Crepes are vegan and gluten-free, quiche is made without the use of eggs or dairy products and the classic French ham sandwich, croque monsieur, is vegetarian. The pièce de résistance of any meal here is the creme brûlée, sans cream, of course.
South Florida restaurant chain Choices Café has helped demystify vegan eating by bringing affordable, healthy food to the local masses. Typical lunch fare, such as burgers and sandwiches, are sold as meatless alternatives and paired with baked “fries” and wholesome sauces. To challenge the idea that all vegan food is expensive, Choices Café offers a selection of items for $10 or less. This newest location in Coconut Grove is a large, indoor-outdoor café, whose upstairs neigbhor happens to be a yoga studio.
This funky café brings the Wild West to the Design District, with tongue firmly in cheek. There are wagon wheel chandeliers, a Grand Canyon mural and posters of John Wayne. Drinks are served in Mason jars. The menu is vaguely Southwestern: think burritos and black bean soup, with lots of vegetarian fare (meatless chilli, omelettes). Microbrews on tap hit the spot with local hipsters.