Cuban food is what Miami does best, and it's not limited to the traditional haunts in Little Havana - the hearty, comfort food, notably rice and beans, fried plantains and shredded pork sandwiches, is found in every neighborhood. It is, however, complemented by sushi bars, American home-style diners, Haitian restaurants, Italian eateries and Indian venues, among a handful of other ethnic cuisines. Coral Gables stakes its claim in upmarket cafés and ethnic Italian and Greek restaurants, while Coconut Grove features American, Spanish, New Floridian - a mix of Caribbean spiciness and fruity Florida sauces - and even British. Seafood is equally abundant; succulent grouper, yellowfin tuna and wahoo, a local delicacy, are among five hundred species of fish thriving offshore. Stone crab claws , served from October to May, are another regional specialty. A tropical climate provides Florida with a juicy assortment of standard orange and grapefruit citrus, as well as the exotic flavors of the lychee, mango, papaya, tamarind and star fruits - many of which are used in sauces and batidos (light milkshakes). You'll also want to drink Cuban coffee: choose between café cubano , strong, sweet and frothy, drunk like a shot with a glass of water; café con leche , with steamed milk, and particularly good at breakfast with pan cubano (thin, buttered toast); or café cortadito , a smaller version of the con leche .
Ayestaran 706 SW 27th Ave, Little Havana tel 305/649-4982. The sprawling Cuban restaurant offers hearty daily specials and superb café con leche that you can mix to your liking.
Bambu 1661 Meridian Ave, Miami Beach tel 305/531-4800. Celebrity eateries are big business in Miami, and this one is co-owned by the actress Cameron Diaz. But the draw at this place is the food - great Asian fusion sushi and the occasional celebrity sighting make it a good place to splash out.
Big Fish Mayaimi 55 SW Miami Ave, downtown tel 305/373-1770. A lively spot on the Miami River, it has great fish dishes and a splendid view. The menu includes home-cooked fish sandwiches and fresh seafood chowder.
Big Pink 157 Collins Ave, South Beach tel 305/531-0888. Big portions of comfort food - mashed potatoes, ribs, macaroni and cheese, and classic "TV dinners" at 1950s prices - are served up.
David's Café 1058 Collins Ave, South Beach tel 305/534-8736. Cuban restaurant with two locations on the beach (the other is at 16th & Meridian Ave), where suited Cuban businessmen doing deals sit alongside cholo teenagers. The food is authentic and there's eat-in and take-out at both restaurants.
Fishbone Grille 650 S Miami Ave, downtown tel 305/530-1915. The busy, friendly restaurant serves excellent seafood with creative starters like shrimp potato fritters and smoked fish mousse.
Gino's 731 Washington Ave, Miami Beach tel 305/673-2837. Open 24 hours a day, it serves true New York-style pizza to shift workers and clubbers alike. It's famous, too, for a dedication to staying open, even in the face of hurricanes.
Greenstreet Café 3468 Main Highway, Coconut Grove tel 305/444-0244. Its terrific breakfasts make this café a real scene at weekends. It has a large number of outdoor tables for watching the world go by.
Joe's Stone Crabs 227 Biscayne St, South Beach tel 305/673-0365. A legendary restaurant, it is always packed for its superb stone crabs - if you're impatient, do as the locals do and head to the takeout window. Crabcakes, fresh fish and crispy fried chicken are also good. Open mid-Oct to mid-May.
Larios on the Beach 820 Ocean Drive, South Beach tel 305/532-9577. It is better known for being owned by singer Gloria Estefan rather than for its sophisticated - and surprisingly affordable - "Nuevo Cubano" food served in a Latin nightclub atmosphere.
Monty's 2560 S Bayshore Drive, Coconut Grove tel 305/854-7997. Skip the pricey indoor restaurant and head for Monty's Raw Bar on the waterfront. Sit in the tiki huts eating fresh fish and sipping well-priced drinks.
News Café 800 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach tel 305/538-6397. The established, fashionable sidewalk café has front-row seating for the South Beach promenade - although the food's unremarkable. Open 24hr at weekends.
Puerto Sagua 700 Collins Ave, South Beach tel 305/673-1115. The Cuban diner serves great, rich black bean soup and other filling meals.
La Sandwicherie 229 W 14th St, South Beach tel 305/532-8934. Don't be put off by the silly name. This place serves serious sandwiches starting at around $6 from its open-air lunch counter; each giant French loaf doorstop could make two meals, and it's open until 5am.
Tap Tap 819 5th St, South Beach tel 305/672-2898. Haitian food is at its tastiest and most attractive in one of the best-looking restaurants in Miami Beach, hung with local art.
Versailles 3555 SW 8th St, Little Havana tel 305/444-0240. At this legend in Little Havana, very little English is spoken. Local families, Cuban businessmen and backpackers congregate here for the wonderfully inexpensive Cuban dishes, served by one of the friendliest staffs in Miami.
Yambo 1643 SW 1st St, Little Havana tel 305/642-6616. Try the good, inexpensive Nicaraguan food at an undiscovered gem. Step out of the USA and into Central America without leaving Miami.
Yuca 501 Lincoln Rd, South Beach tel 305/532-9822. Discover Nuevo Cubano cooking at its best - and most expensive. Expect to pay at least $50 a head. Latin music at weekends.
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