by Rick Munarriz - 406 Reviews - 155 List
The best meals are often the ones tucked away in unexpected places. Miami has plenty of places for culinary double takes. From a lavish tapas bar at the other end of a gasoline station to an offbeat winery in the heart of South Florida's farm country, we reveal our picks for unearthing Miami's surprising adventures. (Photo: Courtesy of El Carajo International
Updated: February 01, 2010
Navigating through a BP gasoline station to get to a tapas bar can be worth the trek through the unleaded fuel fumes. It's a Spanish getaway on the other side, complete with Moorish bricks, raised seating and wall-to-wall wine racks.
Drivers have to navigate through a mile of nature trails at Matheson Hammock before arriving at the coral rock building that houses one of the most romantic eateries in town. It is deep inside a county park--so the libations are limited to beer and wine--but the bay-front dinner setting is tough to top on special occasions.
Straddling the long stretch of Tamiami Trail--with the Florida Everglades several miles west and civilization a mile or so east--this barbecue joint is a beacon in the swamp. It's also willing to veer from the usual pork, chicken and beef barbecue fare to offer everything from gator to frog legs on the menu.
No one will confuse the agricultural farmlands of Homestead with Napa Valley, but this winery gives it a locally sourced shot. Produce grown on its fields are the bottled stars here. Guava, mango and even avocado get cranked out into one-of-a-kind wines.
This artsy eatery may be just a couple of blocks from the upscale theater district, but its neighbors are mostly vacant and unkempt warehouses. It cleans up nicely with art gallery exhibits and a game-friendly menu that offers diners rare opportunities to dig into deer steaks, boar chops and even alligator egg rolls.
A West Dade strip mall isn't rich in Zen points, but this tea lounge doesn't hold back by offering four dozen varieties of loose leaf teas. Complimentary board games, Wi-Fi and computer stations find tea sippers leaving the asphalt jungle behind.