Vegan Eating in Miami, Florida
New York City was recently blizzarding, so I knew I had to take a mini vacation. Where do I go to in the middle of February? Miami of course! With its sandy beaches, 80 degree weather, and Vitamin D packed sun, I packed my bags and headed down south.
Where I stayed:
I stayed at the FontaineBleau, which is a beautiful hotel with 11 pools. It’s where the original James Bond movie was filmed, so there’s definitely an old-school glamorous appeal to this place. It’s right in the middle of Miami Beach, so it was conveniently placed between Miami the city and Miami Beach. The only annoying part of this hotel is the valet parking, which costs $42 per night. Valet Parking is pretty common in Miami Beach, but since I’m from NYC, I don’t mind walking a bit to save some parking money, so I ended up parking at the public garages, the closest one to the hotel is on 27th Street & Collins Avenue. For $8, you can park overnight, and it’s only a 10 minute walk to the hotel in a not-so-bad 80 degree weather. You can find a list of all Miami Beach public parking garages here.
My favorite part of the FontaineBleau hotel are the fitness classes. I think it’s so easy to be on “vacation mode” when I travel, but I always eat so much that I crave exercise. FontaineBleau’s gym offers $17 group fitness classes that happen outdoors on the grass every morning at 9AM. The classes range from yoga (which they do with Green Monkey), core conditioning, lean body, and more. If you’re not a group fitness class kind of person, they also offer personal training sessions, and there’s also an indoor gym space with machines.
As for food, I ended up eating out a lot (no surprise), but I looked through the room service menu, and I saw there was a vegan breakfast option full of tofu and vegetables that sounded pretty appetizing. The Mini Bar snacks are also pretty healthy and vegan friendly like nuts and pretzels.
Places to Eat:
Thanks to everyone who gave me advice on where to eat in Miami and in Miami Beach.
Under the Mango Tree ($$)
This is a cute cafe known for its Acai bowls and vegan banana cake. It’s part of Miami South Beach, and it has a very “namaste” vibe, but I love how thick and not watered down the acai bowls were. I also got the dragon fruit bowl, which is a nice option for those who like pink bowls more than purple ones.
Plant Food and Wine ($$$)
Matthew Kenney is pretty famous in the vegan world as a raw vegan chef, and Plant Food and Wine is his baby. The restaurant doesn’t advertise itself as raw, but most of the food is raw, which is perfect for the warm weather. I got the kimchi dumplings, which have a nice spicy kick in each bite.
I also got the Cacio E Pepe which are kelp noodles, peppery greens, green olive puree, and sundried olives. I could taste the olives very strongly in the dish, and the pepper made it nice and spicy. Overall, this dish was very refreshing.
My boyfriend got the zucchini lasagna, which has a heirloom tomato, spicy marinara, macadamia ricotta, and a basil-mint pesto. The cheese was my favorite part because it was so creamy and blended well with the marinara sauce that gave a very umami flavor to the dish.
Della Test Kitchen ($$)
Della Test Kitchen is located outdoors in Wynwood Yards, which is an outdoor food court with many vegan options. Della Test Kitchen specializes in bowls which have a grain base, some sort of protein, topped with some sort of vegetable, and house made sauces. I made a bowl with purple coconut rice, lentils, crispy broccoli, the yellow curry sauce, and an extra topping of avocado. I love bowls because they’re so well balanced, and this place really knows how to make them well.
This small cafe is good for a quick bite, and they have vegan crepes! The batter of the crepe is vegan, but the ingredients inside are not always vegan, but they’re super receptive to vegans and making a vegan crepe. I got a raspberry filled jam crepe to pair off with my acai bowl.
Bunnie Cakes ($)
I found heaven in Miami, and it was at Bunnie Cakes, a gluten-free and vegan bakery that specializes in mini cupcakes. The founder, Mariana has been on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, and was featured as “Miami's best cupcake 2016" by Miami New Times. These mini cupcakes are small, but filled with flavor. The frosting isn’t too sweet, which is what I like, and the cake is spongy and moist. My favorite flavor was the passion fruit, but the flavors change regularly, so be sure to check this place out when you visit. They also have doughnuts, beverages, and vegan lunch items! The bakery is also super cute, featuring a lot of bright pink.
Places I didn’t get to try but people recommended:
The Salty Doughnut - they always have one vegan doughnut, and they’re Cooking Channel’s Sugar Showdown Champions
Darbster (West Palm)
Christopher’s Kitchen (Palm Beach Garden)
Green Bar and Kitchen (Ft. Lauderdale)
Things to Do:
Who doesn’t love a National Park? The Everglades are about an hour away from Miami, and it’s a water heaven. I recommend doing the Everglades Anhinga Trail because you’re able to see alligators, birds, and walk along a nice paved path.
I also did the Airboat tour, which puts you on an airboat so you can boat along the Everglades. The Airboat doesn’t pollute the waters or hurt the plants growing in the water, so it’s a great way to get close to the alligators. The alligators aren’t afraid of airboats because they come so often, and I was able to see baby alligators too! My tour group was the River of Grass, and for $50, they take you on a semi-private boat ride (max 6 people). They provide headphones to protect your ears from the sound of the fan, and be sure to bring a jacket because it gets windy on the ride.
I think this is a given. You can find any beach on Miami Beach to be amazing with soft sand and great waters.
I was supposed to snorkel, but my boyfriend got sick (on our vacation, I know!), so we skipped out, but this is a popular thing to do if the water is warm enough. It was warm enough in February, and there are many companies (which you can find on Trip Advisor) who will take you out to the water and rent you equipment! Key Largo is a popular area to snorkel because you can touch the Christ of the Abyss statue (a Jesus statue underwater!).
If you love shopping, Lincoln Road is for you. It’s an outdoor mall with all kinds of shops and restaurants. It’s incredibly lively, even at night, so it’s a good place to hang out with friends, take a break from the beach, and drink a cup of coffee.
Miami is known for its nightlife, hot clubs, and great bars. Unfortunately after my boyfriend got sick, so did I, so sadly I do not have much to say on this front.
Of course, I love eating and relaxing on vacation, so you can always just spend all week doing that!