If there is one word to describe Miami, it is sexy. That vibe permeates all aspects of the city—including the food—which is why we think it should rank among the best vegan cities in the U.S.
The sex appeal of Miami has shifted over the last few years. It was once known for its fast lifestyle, with drugs, clubs, late nights, and turn-a-blind-eye debauchery. This was, at its core, Miami’s sex appeal. As healthy has become the new sexy, the city has changed gears. This isn’t to say that the aforementioned behavior is no longer present, but it isn’t the heartbeat of the city. Miami has developed a more health-conscious lifestyle that encourages clean eating and experiential outings. Healthy is the new sexy, so this city is on fire.
The food scene in Miami rivals those of other U.S. heavy weights (no pun intended). The heat, humidity, and tropical glamour of Miami lends itself to light, fresh, and exotic creations. As an international hub, you’ll find a striking mix of cuisine and flavors.
With visitors spending about $16 billion in 2017, it’s easy to see that Miami has a lot to offer weekend warriors, day-trippers, jetsetters, and digital nomads.
Whether you have two hours, two days, or two weeks in Miami, here are two vegan-friendly spots that you must see while in town.
Lilikoi Organic Living
Lilikoi is located south of 5th, nestled among the high rises and quiet SoFi streets. The eatery is as unique as the name. It is open, airy, and reminiscent of something straight out of Hawaii. In fact, the owners brought their farm-to-table experience from Hawaii to Miami.
We found this place while we were en route to DIRT. It happened to be closed (changed locations) so we needed to find an alternative fast. Someone was getting hangry (finger pointing to Kellen). As soon as we walked through the doors, we knew we were in for a treat.
The white walls and bohemian decorations create a surf chic feel, with a homey touch that encourages relaxation. Orders are taken at the counter, located next to the bar, where breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served. Lilikoi promotes clean, healthy living which is reflected in their menu. The ingredients are organic, locally sourced, and seasonal produce. You will find colorful salads, light wraps, and hearty bowls, as well as juices and smoothies. It is a vegan and plant-based dream. There are plenty of alternatives and add-ons available.
The eatery thoroughly caters to dietary restrictions- items are labeled vegan, gluten free, and vegetarian. Wraps can be made gluten-free by being served as a salad or rice bowl. We tried the quinoa and hummus salad bowl and falafel salad bowl. The presentation was beautiful and the food was equally as delicious (read: we were drooling and are counting down our return). The Vegan Nacho Platter, Probiotic Bowl, and Mushroom Risotto are next on our list. This eco-conscious spot is a must when you visit Miami. Eat there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We won’t judge. We considered doing this.
Shift your attention from South Beach to our favorite part of Miami, Wynwood. Wynwood, located on the main land, reminds us of a love child between New York City and Miami. It is edgy, colorful, and cool. It is known for its street art, eclectic fashion, vibrant restaurants, and unique bars and entertainment venues. It only seems right that a place like 1-800-Lucky would find its home in Wynwood.
We blindly agreed to meet friends there for dinner and to be honest (spoken like a true Sagittarius), we thought it was—er—how do we put this? Exotic bar? Extreme burlesque establishment? Ok, ok. We thought it was a strip club. But, hey. We’re always down for an adventure.
While deciding what to wear, we caved and googled 1-800-Lucky. Heads up, include “Miami” or “food hall” when googling or you will have some interesting results.
As it turns out, 1-800-Lucky is not a strip club and we were jazzed about the results. Not that we weren’t up for a good time (you just thought, “for a good time call…,” didn’t you?). We were hungry and on the hunt for new vegan options. Our Uber dropped us about a block from the location, which made for the perfect entrance. We soaked up the energy of Wynwood and we walked toward the glowing neon sign, 1-800-Lucky.
As we opened the door to the entrance, we were hit with an array of smells, sounds, and sights. The dark décor and bright lights felt like we stepped into an underground, hidden gem in Los Angeles or NYC. To our left, there was a convenience store/record shop. Straight ahead was a mecca of dining options.
Lucky is an Asian food hall, born from the owners of Coyo Taco. It is 10,000 square foot space that contains seven restaurant vendors, a karaoke room, two bars, and a record shop/ convenience store. The restaurants or eateries were curated by the owners. Our first hit of LA and NYC was spot on. The owners approached some of the top chefs and restaurants in NYC and Los Angeles to collaborate. As a result, Lucky has top notch, distinctive dining atmosphere that is memorable and affordable.
In theme with Miami’s new health vibe, the produce is fresh, healthy, and flavorful. The place is buzzing with a mix of guests, from visitors to young professionals. After 10pm, the DJ kicks in and spins until 3 a.m. Some of the best vegan options are served at Poke OG. They have a variety of vegan bowls where seafood can be substituted for veggies and fruits. Other options include sushi, ramen, Chinese wok, and a Vietnamese deli. Lucky is a great location to start off your night or if you’re an early bird, eat up the energy of the Miami nightlife and still get to be before 10 p.m. Again, not judging.
The extremes of these two restaurants are part of what we love about Miami. Lilikoi Organic Living encompasses the light, airy, tropical beach side. It fosters relaxation and a feeling of home. On the other hand, 1-800-Lucky encompasses the dark, edgy, street style of Miami’s Wynwood Art District. It transports you to something unknown. As different as they both seem, their food is outstanding. And their vegan options? Some of the best in the city.