To celebrate VegNews naming the Top 10 Best Vegan Cities in America (found in our May+June 2017 issue), we asked our favorite vegans to explain why their winning town should be atop every meat-free traveler’s list.
Miami is known for beautiful beaches, warm weather, and sexy locals, but adding to that list is the burgeoning vegan scene. Although Miami might be a step behind some larger American cities, the spread of cruelty-free cuisine has been swift. With high-end restaurants from Matthew Kenney and the plant-based Seed Food and Wine Festival, Miami is making a name for itself as a vegan destination. The only problem with the growing vegan scene is narrowing the choices! For those who need help navigating the seemingly endless vegan possibilities, here’s a cheat sheet to guide you through the city.
Top 3 vegan eateries
1. Plant Food + Wine: One of the most beautiful and sophisticated vegan restaurants in Miami is Plant Food + Wine. The innovative cuisine is elegant and delicious and has quickly become a must-visit in Miami. Come for brunch to experience an exceptional menu with kimchi dumplings and homemade coconut cashew yogurt.
2. Della: If you’re looking for live music, a chill atmosphere, living gardens, and some of the tastiest plant-based bowls in Miami, then you need to visit Della test kitchen at The Wynwood Yard. Pro tip: Order the Caribbean bowl, and ask for extra sauce.
3. GLAM: New to the Miami vegan scene is GLAM (Green Living Animals Matter), a stylish and hip restaurant where chef Todd Erickson masterfully perfects vegan dishes such as Meatless Meatballs and Farro Risotto. Get the sausage flatbread, and pair it with a Thai Basil Coconut Curry Soup.
Top 3 non-vegan restaurants with vegan options
1. Alter: Alter prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients with an emphasis on seasonal flavors. Many items on the menu can be requested vegan.
2. Soul Tavern: Soul Tavern is located in South Beach and offers beautiful décor, vegan and vegetarian plates, and elixirs for unique drinks and cocktails.
3. Lemoni Cafe: Lemoni Cafe is an intimate restaurant located in Midtown Miami that offers an array of vegan options such as quesadillas, salads, wraps and more. All plant-based options are clearly noted on the menu.
Favorite vegan item in Miami
One of my favorite vegan menu items is the arepas from Love Life Cafe. These plant-powered beauties are made with a base of spinach, chlorophyll, and chia and are filled with black bean sofrito, avocado, and plantains with cilantro aioli.
Ultimate vegan meal
I would first go to Full Bloom Gourmet Vegan Cuisine to enjoy cocktails and a cheese platter overlooking Biscayne Bay. Then, I would head to Plant Food + Wine for the the Cacio Pepe kelp noodles in a cream sauce with black olive “dirt.” For dessert, I would get Guava and Passion Fruit cupcakes from Bunnie Cakes with an espresso from Vice City Bean.
First stop for a visiting vegan friend
When a vegan friend visits, the first place we visit is Atlas Meat-Free Delicatessen. Miami’s first plant-based butcher offers classic sandwiches such as pastrami on rye, meatball marinara, and burgers with all the fixings.
Top 3 vegan desserts
1. Holi Vegan Kitchen: What’s better than a chewy, fudgy brownie with a scoop of the creamiest vanilla ice cream? Pretty much nothing tops that, so if that’s your sweet of choice, you must order this local fave at Holi Vegan Kitchen.
2. Choices Cafe: Who said doughnuts can’t be healthy? At Choices Cafe, the superfood doughnuts have chia seeds, matcha, fresh fruits and more. My favorite is the Maple ‘Bacon’ Doughnut.
3. Latteria Italiana: At Latteria Italiana, the vegan gelato options are abundant, and the flavors are incredibly delicious and unique.
Favorite non-food activity
My favorite vegan non-food activity just outside the city is going on an Everglades bicycle tour. It’s such a unique landscape that not many people get to enjoy, and the wildlife is abundant.
Vegan king and/or queen of Miami
If I had to anoint one person to be the vegan king or queen of our city, it would have to be Alex Cuevas, the founder of Choices Cafe, one of the oldest vegan cafés in Miami. His perseverance and commitment to animals and the planet has definitely helped transform the vegan scene in the city to what it is today.
One amazing vegan thing in Miami every city should have
I might be biased, but I think every city should have a Seed Food and Wine Festival. Our gathering is a week-long celebration of the plant-based lifestyle and includes a bloggers event, fashion show, burger battle, elegant dinners, and a Tasting Village that offers more than 200 exhibitors, chef demonstrations, speakers, and more.
Alison Burgos is the co-founder of Seed Food and Wine Week, the premier plant-based food, wine and blogger conference.