Good food and beaches almost always go hand in hand. Below, we’ve listed our favorite destinations for gourmet getaways, featuring haute cuisine, cooking classes, authentic street food, and exotic produce in some of our favorite warm weather destinations.
Miami’s cultural diversity is evident in its culinary offerings, from Little Havana’s classic Cuban eateries to the Downtown Design District’s multi-ethnic hotspots. For a taste of Cuba on the famous Calle Ocho, head to Los Pinarenos Fruteria (1334 SW 8th St) for steaming cortaditos and Cuban-style tamales. Then dine at the renowned Versailles and be sure to order picadillo (spicy ground beef) with fried plantains, black beans, and rice.
In the Design District, a few key players are reenvisioning Miami’s modern culinary scene, offering upsclale food experiences in non-pretentious settings. Star chef Michelle Bernstein is leading the way with her Mediterranean-inflected Michy’s (photo, top) while chef Michael Schwartz explores the flavors of Asia and Latin America at his restaurant Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink.
And don’t forget the seafood: stone crab, conch, and Florida lobster are reasons enough to venture into town.
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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
An upscale modern Mexican cuisine has emerged in Puerto Vallarta, fusing local flavors and ingredients—including excellent tuna, sea bass, and shellfish—with international cooking styles. Foodies swoon for duck carnitas and chile en nougada at El Arrayán, seafood enchiladas at La Palapa, and La Ola Rica’s creative presentations and beachside location. The town is also home to celebrated gourmet festivals and farmer’s markets.
For a hippie-chic vibe, head north to Sayulita for a slew of farm-to-table restaurants.
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The Big Island, Hawaii
The Big Island is a foodie destination renowned for its excellent farmer’s markets, modern Hawaiian restaurants, and acclaimed Kona coffee. Memorable food experiences abound.
On the sunny Kohala Coast, the luxurious Mauna Kea Beach Hotel offers the best luau on the island and beachside clambakes, along with stunning meals at its various restaurants.
On the Hamakua Coast, foodies stay at the Palms Cliff House Inn, where they can pick macadamia nuts and exotic fruits from the extensive gardens, and are treated to a daily breakfast feast.
Coffee aficionados flock to Kona, where numerous plantations welcome visitors for tastings, and casual eateries feature locally grown products.
Asked in the Forums: “What are the must try restaurants on the Big Island in your opinion?”
The Caribbean is a treasure trove of foodie experiences, from tours of rum distilleries to cooking classes at the CuisinArt Resort and Spa in Anguilla. The top gourmet scenes are on St. Martin, St. Barths, and Anguilla.
On St. Martin, more than 400 restaurants cover the 37 mi island, featuring fine cuisine and excellent roadside barbecue stands.
On St. Barths, after a day on the beach, head over to Gustavia Harbor for tapas and wine, then to one of the town’s nearly 100 restaurants for an elegant evening meals.
On Anguilla, the smallest of the foodie isles, it’s possible to dine one night at a barefoot beachside grill, and the next at the world-class, contemporary Caribbean restaurant Blanchard’s. With about 70 restaurants—most of them quite good—it’s hard to find a bad meal in this slice of paradise.
Asked in the Forums: “What restaurants do you recommend on Anguilla?”