A delicious 3 day getaway in Downtown Miami with plenty to eat, drink, see and do!
“I only came for two days of playing.
But every time I come I always wind up stayin’
This the type of town I could spend a few days in
Miami is the city that keeps the roof blazin’
Welcome to Miami! Bienvenidos a Miami”– Will Smith
Will Smith’s catchy 90’s song about Miami holds true so many years later. Miami is still sizzling hot. But the action is no longer only in famously hip South Beach. I had the chance to spend an Epic Foodie Weekend in Downtown Miami compliments of the InterContinental Miami Hotel and could not believe the changes in this now vibrant part of town.
If you’re looking for a fun foodie getaway, this is it! With plenty to eat, drink, see and do, you may find two days is simply not enough. Read on for my action packed and taste-bud tempting 3 day itinerary. I got plenty of exercise too, both of the fork to mouth variety as well as walking to offset the calories. I can’t wait to share Downtown Miami with you… read on and watch my InstaStories Highlights to see more of the action.
I hope it inspires you to #MakeSomedayHappen and celebrate the good life in Downtown Miami!
Why Foodies Will Love Downtown Miami
- Considered one of the country’s fastest-growing 24/7 neighborhoods, Downtown Miami has come alive with new arts, entertainment, dining, shopping and transportation options.
- World-Class Restaurants, from James Beard nominated to “Best of Miami” favorites, there’s plenty of restaurants with menus spanning the globe all within a short walk or drive.
- Easy to Get Around. If you know Miami traffic, you know you want to avoid it at all costs. If you drove, you can park your car upon arrival and not see it until you depart. If you flew or took the Skyline you won’t need a rental car in Downtown Miami.
- Fun Stuff To Do Between Meals. From museums to shopping, movie theaters to art galleries, you’ll find many activities to stimulate more than just your taste buds.
- Luxury Accommodations: every foodie needs a posh place to rest their head and recharge the batteries. The InterContinental Miami is centrally located and a great choice for all the eating and drinking, sightseeing and culture-seeking of Downtown Miami.
Where To Stay in Downtown Miami
The InterContinental Miami is the perfect home base for foodies and culture seekers exploring Downtown Miami. It’s been an iconic part of the Miami skyline for over 35 years and after a $30 million renovation, continues to be as posh as ever.
Foodies will swoon over meals at renowned Chef Richard Sandoval’s Toro Toro Restaurant. Crafty cocktails, Pan-Latin tapas and an epic Sunday brunch await. A central location with a variety of public transportation options, gorgeous views of Biscayne Bay and Port of Miami, and loads of techie features which make the place feel like a mix of Vegas and Miami, are just some of the many reasons for foodies to stay at the InterContinental Miami Hotel. I recommend reserving a Club Level room for the extra foodie perks of their Club Lounge.
If you’re driving to Miami, you’ll be happy to valet park your car upon arrival at the InterContinental Miami because you won’t need it again until you’re ready to leave. Downtown Miami transportation options from bikes to scooters, rail to Uber, will let you take a break from the hellish traffic.
If you arrive early enough for lunch, head to the 5th floor pool deck and enjoy Bluewater Restaurant. The views of Biscayne Bay are fantastic.
A Little Pampering at MySpa.
Melt away the stress of the work-week and start your foodie weekend on the right note, with a spa treatment at MySpa. Located on the 5th floor of The InterContinental Miami, it was a needed retreat.
A glass of champagne, quiet time in the relaxation room and sauna followed by a perfect massage got me to forget the near four hour drive from Orlando. I-95 inflicts the type of knots that require at least 50 minutes to work through but my massage therapist did amazing with the 25 minutes I had available.
Book your treatments in advance and inquire about any specials. If traveling in July and August, “Miami Spa Month” promotions are a great moneysaver.
Happy Hour & Salsa Night.
Stat the evening with cocktails before dinner and take in the views at the Skyline Happy Hour, Monday – Friday 4pm-6pm with special priced cocktails. DJ’s are common sightings in Miami, and you’ll find one here on Wednesday and Thursdays. On Friday night, we got a chance to experience a bit of Salsa Night with complimentary rum tasting and dancing.
Private Dining at Table Forty.
Nestled in the kitchen of Toro Toro Restaurant is the private chef’s table where we experienced an interactive cooking demo with Chef Tim Ormonde. It’s the only Chef’s Table in Downtown Miami and a unique spot for an exclusive dinner.
We learned how to make Toro Toro’s Ceviche Nikkei and even got crafty with plate presentations. This Peruvian – Japanese fusion dish was incredibly flavorful with multiple components including avocado cream, ponzu sauce and crispy quinoa garnish.
I got a job offer from the chef for my handy work. But I think the Pisco Sour helped. And now I have the recipe to attempt at home, although I would much rather have the talented Toro Toro chefs prepare it for me.
Global Flavors at Toro Toro.
The contemporary Pan-Latin menu features shareable plates and churrasco style grilled meats bursting with flavors. You can read more about this Flavor Explosion and the 14 Things You Must Eat and Drink at Toro Toro here. The ambiance is dynamic, sultry and sexy like Miami. A DJ in the lobby immediately adds the party vibe. Who needs the hassle of driving to a club when you have club and restaurants right in your hotel lobby?
Daring craft cocktails like the “Encierro” a smoky Old Fashioned with Woodford Reserve in a smoked glass was beautifully presented and perfectly balanced. I got the campfire vibe without smelling like one.
The table was filled with a variety of dishes for us to share. There’s nothing like food to make friends of strangers and we were quickly devouring the Beet Salad with pistachios and Hamachi Tiradito with habanero passion fruit aguachile. Light and refreshing starters.
Tuna Aranitas with guajillo mojo, Miyasaki Tartare, Grilled Octopus with cilantro sauce, and Chicharron de Camarones, were fantastic seafood options.
Prime Ribeye Anticucho, Chuleta Kan Kan, and rodizio-style Toro Toro Skewer of grilled picanha, achiote chicken, Colorado lamb chop and Argentinian chorizo were hearty entree offerings to ensure no one left hungry.
Every dish was bursting with flavor, my kind of food and tough to pick favorites. But you gotta order the fries…
To end the night, this ice cream fanatic was in high heaven with the signature La Bomba dessert! A hard chocolate shell filled with dulce de leche and strawberry ice cream, fresh berries, cream cheese mousse, and almond cookie crumbs, is dropped in unison on the table as you yell “Uno, Dos, Tres, Bomba!”
The chocolate cracks open making a delicious mess for everyone to dig in. And that we did! Right after they drizzled caramel, vanilla and berry sauces. It was a childhood dream to play with ice cream at the dinner table!
Late Night Drinks in Downtown Miami.
Miami is a late night town so if you feel like heading out after dinner, you’ll find plenty of options within a short walk or Uber ride from The InterContinental Miami.
Step into Lost Boy Dry Goods on 157 E Flagler Street for a lively neighborhood bar scene amongst vintage Americana decor. Once the site of a clothing store staple of Downtown Miami, the owner decided to go from selling classic jeans to pouring classic cocktails like GTs, Old Fashioneds and Negronis. We found a comfy leather couch to sit and sip in a very relaxed and casual atmosphere reminiscent of an English pub. The mix age crowd is local and authentic. Not the perfectly beautiful “plastic” crowd you might find clubbing in South Beach, and that’s a good thing.
If catching your favorite game on TV is on the agenda, then Black Market Miami on 168 SE 1st Street is the place to go. The large sports bar evokes the glory days of 80s sports when Dan Marino, The Dolphins and University of Miami Hurricanes dominated the football landscape.
Breakfast With A View.
A leisurely breakfast in the Club Lounge on the 29th floor is the perfect way to start the day. The selection includes a variety of pastries, breads, fresh fruit, eggs, hot items, and my favorite, smoked salmon with all the accoutrements. Lavazza coffee was a welcome treat too. And you can’t beat the view!
Must Do’s Between Meals:
If you’re wondering if this foodie guide is only going to tell you where to eat and drink, think again. Want to know what to do between meals? Downtown Miami has plenty of options. From museums to world-class shopping, local art, sports, entertainment and more.
Getting Around Downtown Miami.
Take a stroll along Bayfront Park, use the free Metromover (the stop is right across from the hotel on Biscayne Blvd.) or hop on a scooter. This new form of public transport is quite popular. Just pick up an “abandoned” scooter on the sidewalk, use Uber or Lyft app to unlock it and zip on over to your desired destination. You can leave it there when you’re done but be sure to follow the prompts on the app to complete your ride.
Located 1.1 miles from The InterContinental Miami, you’ll find Museum Park right on Biscayne Bay. The large complex houses the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science and the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Take the Omni Loop train to Museum Park station, and arrive steps from the museum entrance.
Fun For All Ages at Frost Museum.
The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science is fun for the whole family. Opened in 2017, it’s a leading science museum where you can embark on a journey from the ocean to the Everglades, and from the human cell to outer space.
The 250K sf Frost Science campus is divided into four buildings: the Frost Planetarium, Aquarium, and North and West Wings. My favorite area was the aquarium, where you can even touch stingrays and starfish if you’re so inclined.
On level four we found the outdoor Royal Caribbean Vista Deck, aptly named as I could see the Port of Miami and RCL cruise ships in the background.
Indoors, levels two and three offered different views of the deep, inside the aquarium. The AC is a welcome escape from the Miami heat and seeing the sharks and fish of all kinds was breathtaking and peaceful.
We caught the movie inside the 250-seat Frost Planetarium, narrated by Whoopi Goldberg. It uses 16-million-color 8K projection, surround sound and a vast dome screen to take you on dazzling visual odysseys to outer space. It’s also a great place for a nap. My advice is only pay the additional ticket fee if you are really into learning about the cosmos.
The kids area on the ground level on the other hand is quite fun for all ages. If you have little ones with you, don’t miss it. The movement tracking dance floor will make you feel like Tom Hanks in the movie BIG.
Modern Art at PAMM.
After stimulating the left part of our brain with science, we walked across the campus to the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) to indulge our right brain’s love of art with a guided tour. This modern and contemporary art museum is dedicated to collecting and exhibiting international art of the 20th and 21st centuries. Exhibitions highlight Miami’s diverse community and pivotal geographic location at the crossroads of the Americas. On display was Colombian artist Beatriz González works and if you are into Modern Art, this stop is for you.
The swings outside the museum and the blue string art installation were fun photo ops.
Lunch by the bay at Verde.
All of our senses stimulated, we worked up an appetite which was wonderfully satiated at Verde, the quaint modern cafe located inside the Pérez Art Museum Miami. The weather allowed us to enjoy outdoor seating with sweeping views of Biscayne Bay. It further reminded me of how this area has changed. So many wonderful places to enjoy this spectacular view.
I couldn’t resist ordering the creamy burrata with spring peas, shaved asparagus, and truffle oil to share with the table.
Roasted Beet Salad with Florida orange segments, gorgonzola, pistachios and a light orange chili dressing was superb paired with a glass of Rose. Squash blossom pizza and Eggs Benedict were all beautifully executed. This is the Miami posh life we all know about! Modern, casual and delicious.
Eating fabulous food, sipping great wine, and exploring the museum exhibits takes a toll… it’s vacation after all, so a little chill time is in order.
Retail Therapy at Brickell City Centre.
After lunch, it was time to work off the calories with a little shopping. The ultra-chic Brickell City Centre located at 701 S. Miami Ave. spans three city blocks and it’s only four stops from The InterContinental Miami on the free Metromover. It features a blend of luxury and contemporary stores like Zara and Saks Fifth Avenue along with dining and entertainment including CMX, the VIP Cinema Experience.
Of course shopping makes you hungry. And you’ll have some tasty options at Brickell City Centre. Stop in for inventive sushi at the hip Pubbelly Sushi, one of the famous eateries helmed by 5 time James Beard Nominee Chef Jose Mendin. Or do as we did, and take a cooking class at La Centrale. Because there’s nothing better than finding a Must Do activity that also involves eating!
La Centrale is Miami’s premier Italian food hall, a three level, 40,000 square foot gastronomic emporium of Italian-inspired restaurants, bars, caffés, markets, plus a wine shop and cooking studio.
The hands-on cooking classes are offered regularly with a variety of specialties. We had the opportunity to learn how to make pizza, and although I need a lot of practice to make the perfect Neapolitan pie it was definitely a tasty experience.
We sipped our choice of white or red wine as the chef guided us through stretching the dough and adding our toppings. I didn’t dare attempt to fly the dough in the air but afterwards we sat at the communal table and enjoyed comparing each other’s creations. I highly recommend booking a class during your visit.
A night in Wynwood, Miami’s Artsy Neighborhood.
We returned to the hotel to relax for a second before heading out to dinner at Beaker and Gray. The trendy restaurant located in the Wynwood district on 2637 N. Miami Avenue is less than 3 miles from the InterContinental Miami, about a 12 minute drive.
The collaboration between Executive Chef Brian Nasajon and Bar Manager Ben Potts is dynamic. The crafted cocktails are equally as elevated as the shareable plates menu. I enjoyed a Mint Julep with passion fruit (in honor of the Kentucky Derby). The Borbory Bracer, their version of an Old Fashioned with barrel aged Redemption rye, madeira and orange bitters garnished with an apricot was a fun departure.
Other creative libations ordered at the table included Un Poquito Maduro, a tropical rum drink with Bacardi Carta Blanca and Bacardi Cuatro and a blend of Maduro (ripe plantain) and pineapple topped with coffee “cafecito” bitters. Wow!
One of my favorite things is seeing a variety of dishes passed around the table. We started with filling little bites of cheeseburger croquettes with wagyu beef and bacon (talk about Cuban American fusion). Crispy chicken wings with a wonderfully sticky tamarind, sesame and brown sugar sauce were also popular.
The hamachi crudo with cilantro and buttermilk sauce was a vibrant contrast.
Hanger steak with chimichurri and Cobia with a super flavorful Thai coconut miso sauce provided the heartier entrees.
And when you think another bite is not possible, a selection of all the desserts arrived at the table! Be sure to save room for Cookies and Milk – a fun presentation of chocolate chip cookie doughnuts and vanilla milkshake shooters.
The giant skillet Guava Cookie with cortadito ice cream was sinful. (Again those Cuban flavors in wildly unique combinations.) This coffee lover was in heaven!
The light and fruity Pavlova with whipped sesame cream, strawberry and passion fruit offered a nice contrast and on its own it would have been the star, but right next to the favorite decadence of the night, the Liquid Dulce de Leche, it paled in comparison.
The butter crumb sugar tuille burst with the most decadent molten dulce de leche topped with sweet cream ice cream had us in “oohs and aahs”. Challenge accepted and completed!
After dinner, if you have any energy left in you, walk around Wynwood and check out the street art and various gathering spots. Music is playing and the scene is jumping everywhere. Just how you expect it to be in Miami!
This is the day you want to sleep in. Although if you’re like me, then you wake up at the crack of dawn to watch the sunrise and see the cruise ships arrive in port. I was so tempted to book my next cruise on the spot. The InterContinental Miami is a perfect hotel for a pre or post cruise stay and they offer special cruise packages.
Sunday Funday, It’s Brunch Time at Toro Toro!
Sunday’s are made for brunching and The InterContinental Miami’s Toro Toro restaurant features one of the most popular brunches in town. Available every Sunday from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., the $55 menu offers an endless collection of small plates highlighting chef Richard Sandoval’s delectable, Latin-style brunch specialties.
I enjoyed the make your own Bloody Mary Bar and the bottomless mimosas. You can also choose margaritas, caipirinhas, pisco sours, mojitos and Micheladas.
The grilled meats from the rodizio were right up my alley.
The variety of fresh salads offered a great balance.
The menu varies from week to week and on our visit during Cinco de Mayo, the chef included a fun taco station and themed ice carving.
Of course, I always save room for dessert and chocolate truffles. These did not disappoint.
As you can see there is plenty to eat, drink, see and do in Downtown Miami! This was definitely a surprise for me. As a former Miami resident, downtown Miami was not an area you desired to visit. How far it’s come! Now I can’t wait to return.
With a quick text to valet, my car was promptly returned and I was on my way. Before driving back to Orlando, I made a stop for a stroll in Wynwood to enjoy the street art. You could spend all afternoon exploring this artsy neighborhood.
A latte for the road is a must from Panther Coffee. One of the first specialty coffee shops in Miami got their start in Wynwood in 2010 and has quickly grown to multiple locations throughout the city. It reminds me of the coffee shops in Portland, Oregon. Very hipster, very popular and very good coffee.
Summer Hotel Special: InterContinental Miami Culture Seeker Package.
InterContinental Miami is offering a “Culture Seeker” package this Summer including:
- Two roundtrip tickets for travel to and from Virgin Trains’ Miami Central Station or complimentary hotel valet parking for one vehicle, for those who prefer to drive.
- Two tickets to the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science.
- Luxury accommodations at InterContinental Miami.
- Complimentary welcome drink or appetizer at Toro Toro Miami or Bluewater.
- Kids under 10 eat free at Bluewater.
The Culture-Seeker package is available for bookings between June 1, 2019 and September 30, 2019, with rates starting at $199. For more information, visit InterContinental Miami Website.
Summer Dining Special: Miami Spice Month
The months of August and September are made for Foodies in Miami with their popular Miami Spice promotion showcasing Greater Miami and the Beaches’ diverse cuisine. Toro Toro at InterContinental Miami is one of over a hundred restaurants featuring three-course meals reasonably priced at $23 for lunch/brunch and $39 for dinner.
I hope you’re inspired to go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time with an Epic Foodie Weekend in Downtown Miami. Please share your experience and tag your photos @GoEpicurista #GoEpicMiami so I can live the Miami fun all over again with you.
And if you have any recommendations for Must Eat, Must Drink, Must See and Do in Downtown Miami, please share in the comments section. I’m always looking to add to my list.
Disclosure: I was an invited media guest for promotional purposes only for some of these events. Others I paid for and donated my time and funds. I am under no obligation to share this post. As always, all opinions are my own. I only share with you products and experiences I love to inspire you to get together with family and friends, celebrate life and go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time! You can read more about my guidelines in my disclosure policy. Cheers!