A trip to Miami is also a figurative trip to almost anywhere in the world, thanks in part to a multicultural array of excellent restaurants. Why update your passport and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous jet lag when you can visit Europe, virtually via your own taste buds, right here? Jet set your appetite around the continent in one weekend with European cuisine at Hofbräu Beer Hall, Fratelli La Bufala, and Estiatorio Milos by Costas Spiliadis: three excellent, savory representatives of their respective countries within a mere few miles of each other.
Hofbräu Beer Hall
Hofbräu Beer Hall may be in the heart of bustling pedestrian thoroughfare Lincoln Road, but once you’ve got your hands on one of their icy cold steins, you feel as if you could almost be in its hometown of Munich, where the original has been in biz for over 400 years. Here, it’s year-round Oktoberfest: a tradition tapping into brews from original recipes handed down by the Duke of Bavaria when the beer hall first debuted. Imported straight from Bavaria, the beer includes the full-bodied Hofbräu Original lager, the dark Hofbräu Dunkel (“the archetypal Bavarian beer”), and the wheaty Hofbräu Hefe Weizen.
In addition to these year-round offerings, there are seasonal suds like the rich Oktoberfestbier, the venerable, circa-1614, bocky Maibock, and the coffee-esque Hefe Weizen Dunkel. Sip or chug from an outdoor table from which you can view major soccer—er, football—events on TVs or, if it’s too hot, tuck away inside where the scents of schnitzel, wursts, and freshly warmed pretzels help to get you all hopped up.
Fratelli La Bufala
Long before coal-fired pizza joints started popping up almost as frequently as Seattle-based chain coffee shops on city street corners, there was Fratelli La Bufala—Miami’s answer to Naples (Italy, not Florida) in the form of uber-authentic Neapolitan-style pizza perfectly blistered in an old-school brick oven and slathered with the freshest mozzarella this side of the buffalo it comes from. The quaint, unpretentious café situated at the Washington Avenue entryway to the culinarily blessed SoFi neighborhood of South Beach offers sidewalk and indoor dining—but it’s the menu that’s a magnet for the cheese and pizza lovers who make pilgrimages here. This is not your mama’s mozzarella (unless your mama happens to have a herd of buffalo in her backyard). Creamy, rich, burrata-esque bufala mozz is what makes this place stand out from the herds of other pizza restaurants in town. Have it plain, with tomato, with meat, on dough, or breaded—but have it.
Pizzas range from the traditional margherita to the unorthodox Mugnanese: bufala mozz, tomato sauce, wurstel, and French fries. (How’s that for European cuisine?) There are also pastas and, for the homesick who insist on eating American with an FLB twist, a buffalo burger with, yep, bufala mozzarella.
Estiatorio Milos Miami by Costas Spiliadis
South Beach is lovely, but it’s no Greek fishing village. Enter Estiatorio Milos Miami by Costas Spiliadis. Housed in a modern, airy space with white curtains and blond wood, Milos (as it’s fondly known) is almost like an ersatz Greek fishing village and market—albeit a swanky one known for the freshest seafood in town, which is flown in (no disrespect to Florida) from the Mediterranean on a daily basis and prepared to order on mega grills in an open kitchen.
A market sells an impressive variety of fish by the pound, as well as Greek classics such as a tzatziki sauce which, if eaten with your eyes closed, could very well transport you to a taverna in Mykonos (or, at the very least, to an empty bowl) in no time. The sushi-quality Mediterranean grilled octopus is so fresh you could swear it was pulled off of the lines of a remote village and served straight onto your plate. And, actually, it sort of was…