Miami: Vegan & Vegan-Friendly Eateries
December 15, 2011
By Guest Blogger
Whether you’re shaking it on the dance floor, strolling cool ’hoods on art and architecture walks, doing yoga on the beach or sampling the newly hot bicycle scene, Miami gives you a workout. Good thing this sexy city also gives you hip and healthy places to refuel and rehydrate.
So where can you find sazón (sassy seasoning) – while keeping your pH and budget in balance? My Miamian gour-mates fed me their secrets, so now I’ll dish them out to you.
T.H.R.I.V.E. (The Raw Inspired Vegan Experience)
A true insider secret, this new oasis is tucked within a busy South Beach block. Look for the sidewalk sandwich board; pass through the blossom arbor and alley; then behold an Eden of breeze-blown sashes, lush foliage and beachy sofas. The all-vegan raw and organic dishes are phenomenal, attracting daily visits from eco- and physique-conscious foodies. Rich in enzymes, vitamins and flavor, tantalizing choices reflect the globetrotting owner’s wide-ranging tastes: spiralized zucchini with Tuscany-inspired sun-dried tomato marinara or basil pesto, nut meat/cabbage tacos, sprouted seaweed-veg pate nori roll. The new Sunday brunch includes tofu with sweet potato hash browns. Note: Sweet potatoes are culinary bliss to Miamians; the orange superfood pops up in foods from fries to pies … and in beauty and detox diets! 1239 Alton Road, South Beach. *Juice bar
Aside from the honey, it’s raw vegan rapture, from the “wild milk” (Brazil nut-based) and goji shakes to the pumpkin nut-meat plus nut-cheese burrito, veggie-flaxseed pizza and lasagna layered with alt-Alfredo macadamia pine nut sauce, spinach and Irish moss-erella. Seeking chlorella, spirulina and blue green algae? Craving mamey or carob? Got it. In the throes of ecstasy, you might miss the mission statement, which outlines goals of cellular nourishment and rejuvenation, tapping self-healing powers and “spreading a sense of well-being, sanity and happiness.” Sounds and tastes great. 1248 SW 22nd Street, Coral Gables.
La Vie En Raw Cafe
Run by a vibrant integrative nutritionist and certified raw chef, this totally vegan, mostly organic cafe starts working its magic with the revitalizing local art gracing the walls. The menu changes with the seasons, but pounce on the Beet “Raw-violi,” ground walnut-and-carrot faux tuna with creamy avocado, any sea vegetable or nut-cheese dish – and the chocolate pie. 3808 Southwest 8th Street, Coral Gables. *Juice bar
Mac’n Food Truck
Miami has a new food truck – and it’s vegan. Feel like having mac ’n cheese with portobello and plant-based mozzarella? Fresh-cut sweet potato fries? Fried green tomatoes? Just-picked watermelon with fresh basil and sea salt? Step right up! Check the website for locations, which change daily.
Catch Grill + Bar
Across the muy bello Venetian Causeway, the recently renovated Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay houses a cool new indoor/outdoor bayfront restaurant committed to sustainably sourced fare. The chef can veganize some dishes or whip up a seasonal veggie platter. But even more fun: plant-based teasers plus mocktails. Go for the zesty hummus, eggplant-abulous baba ganoush, munchy edamame and lightly fried plantain with yummy guac. Then greet the starry night with handcrafted healthy cocktails, such as a most refreshing pineapple juice splashed with agave and pink peppercorns. 1633 North Bayshore Drive, near the Port of Miami.
Metro Organic Bistro
This hip haven in historic MiMo (Miami’s Modern Architecture district) serves several vegan entrees such as a Green Burger and crispy Chickpea Cakes. Or make a meal of fresh-off-the-farm sides such as grilled fennel. 7010 Biscayne Boulevard, MiMo district.
Long committed to organic, sustainable and divine, this chic Italian bistro introduced a raw-vegan menu late last year. Indulge in such delicacies as a gingery butternut tagliatelle with ginger, lasagnette layered with pesto, pine nut-derived ricotta, eggplant and squash, and spiced vegetables wrapped in Swiss chard. 1311 Washington Avenue, South Beach.
The Cafe at Books & Books
One of the few Lincoln Road sidewalk cafes offering inspired vegan dishes. Helmed by a pioneer of New South Florida cuisine, temptations include a perfectly seasoned Cuban black bean soup, grilled tofu fajita wrap with roasted corn salad, and tropical wild rice with coconut. 927 Lincoln Road, South Beach.
Sweat Records Cafe
At this all-vegan coffee shop, great tunes pair well with Unicorn Love Bomb Espresso, Dirty South Chai and mouth-tingling cupcakes – coconut lemon-iced, anyone? (They even serve vegan empanadas: spinach/sun-dried tomato and curry.) 5505 NE 2nd Avenue, Little Haiti.
Coconut Grove Saturday Organic Market
Eco-conscious, plant-based diners rejoice! In addition to just-picked veggies and raw deli, raw tostadas, raw pizzas, you can indulge in raw tiramisu and raw pies with moist crusts of dates, nuts and spices. 3300 Grand Avenue, Coconut Grove.
Peace A’ Cake
Pure vegan food porn made by a holistic health coach from spelt flour, apple sauce, coconut palm nectar, dark chocolate chips and raw almonds. Sold at local health marts and juice cafes; website lists locations.
Indulge for health’s sake – you’re in Miami! Want to add to our list? Dish and tell!
Robin Soslow is a writer/photographer who pedals and noshes her way through cities and countrysides. Embracing the credo “Be the change you wish to see,” she lives small, volunteers with animal welfare groups and enjoys having omnivores lust after her vegan dishes.