Appetizers can make or break a meal. If the starters at a restaurant are underwhelming, that sets the tone for the rest of the experience. Thankfully, you can count on these six spots to always deliver great appetizers to the table.
We love a place that offers a diverse menu and delivers on all of it. Case in point: Café Americano at Brickell City Centre. The Latin-inspired spot serves up a wide range of standout starters that set the bar for the rest of your meal. On the starter menu: tuna tostadas, truffle fries, homemade empanadas, crispy calamari and more. Each of these items is sized generously; these appetizers could be meals on their own. That said, don’t overdo it because the rest of the menu is just as delicious.
CJ’s Crab Shack
CJ’s Crab Shack on Miami Beach is known for its namesake item, but if you’re a regular, you know that the appetizer selections feature some tasty gems. Case in point: the drunken shrimp steamed in beer and cajun sauces (a great hangover, by the way). Other stellar starters here include the spinach and artichoke dip with crab meat and fried popcorn shrimp. You can fill up on just appetizers and call it a day—this is a place where you definitely get your money’s worth.
Down in Key Biscayne, Costa Med is serving up stunning Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. It’s a very low-key (hehe) restaurant, but the food speaks volumes—especially the appetizers. Guests can—and should—start their meal with at least one appetizer from the menu: calamari fritti, crab cake pops, steak tartare, escargots… You really can’t go wrong with anything. Should you visit for dinner, definitely consider the French onion soup if you have stomach space—it’s divine.
You can never go wrong with classic French cuisine, and Pastis Miami is a great example. The popular Wynwood outpost doesn’t mess with perfection: Items like steak tartare, onion soup, escargots and burrata are items you can find on a lot of menus, but they’re divinely done at this beautiful restaurant. The wait for a table can be long: We like grabbing a seat at the bar, ordering 2-3 starters and soaking in the sights with a dirty martini.
Pastis Miami is located at 380 NW 26th St, Miami, FL 33127. For more information, visit their official website.
At Riviera Focacceria Italiana in Midtown, there is only one starter you should be considering: the focaccia di recco. Don’t even think about anything else until you order this. All the other starters are great, too, but this housemade dough with Italian stracchino cheese is unlike anything you’ve ever had. If you’re still hungry afterward, then you should order the fried artichokes or eggplant parm. But if you’re only going to eat one thing, make it this—trust us.
Root & Bone
For some starters with a little punch, check out the offerings at South Miami’s Root & Bone. The Southern-inspired spot features an assortment of memorable appetizers like drunken deviled eggs. Fried green tomato “BLT”, chicken biscuits and wagyu mac carpaccio. The smoky bacon board is especially nice for sharing with its mouthwatering pork belly bacon and crispy skin – it’s a beautiful thing. For something on the lighter side, the beet tartare is worth a bite.
Root & Bone is located at 5958 S Dixie Hwy, South Miami, FL 33143. For more information, visit their official website.