My South Beach diet

Miami Beach was a much needed break from the long Canadian winter–five days of gazing at swaying palm trees, sipping on super-sized cocktails and dipping my pasty feet into the warm, turquoise ocean. (My skin is finally a shade darker than the sand.)

Miami Beach 1
Art Deco urban with a mellow Cuban vibe.

At the heart of the action is South Beach, where it always seems to be happy hour. Beyond the charming Art Deco buildings and over-the-top sports cars, eating vegan was sometimes challenging. Not surprisingly, the menus were heavy on the meat, seafood and pastas. But I did some research beforehand on the area’s veg-friendly choices.

Miami Beach 2
Top left: fuelling up for another beach day with a berry fresh smoothie.

Here are some highlights:

  • Plant Theory Botanical Cafe, a 100% vegan restaurant at the Whitelaw Hotel, serving up colourful and creative burgers, salads, fresh juices and smoothies.
  • Cafe Del Mar, a 24-hour spot with all-day breakfast. The extensive menu has plenty of plant-based options, including a falafel hummus baguette sandwich, grilled portobello mushroom and tofu salad and Middle Eastern platters.
  • Havana 1957, where the patio has enviable ocean views. I had a big bowl of quinoa salad with black beans, avocado, mango and a vinaigrette dressing. Inside, check out the glam Cuban-inspired decor.
  • Puerto Sagua, a family-run diner offering classic Cuban fare that won’t break the bank. My carnivorous travel buddy is still raving about the Cuban sandwich and stuffed tilapia. Plant-based items include black beans and rice, plantains and yuca (cassava) fries.
Miami Beach 3
Bottom left: be sure to order the salad dressing on the side.
Miami Beach 4
Bottom right: the ice cream isn’t vegan but so pretty to look at.

In between meals I snacked on oranges, grapefruit, nectarines and bananas. A fresh juice or smoothie also hit the spot.

Looking for afternoon and evening cocktails? Pop into an Art Deco hotel bar on Collins Avenue, which is a bit quieter than the main touristy stretch of Ocean Drive. The 10 Collins bar, situated in a stunning courtyard of the Fairwind Hotel, makes a killer mojito and daiquiri.

Miami Beach 5
Top left: the “tunaah” burger from Plant Theory is made of jackfruit with a hint of seaweed, topped with a cilantro cole slaw, all stuffed in between toasted millet bread.

Until next time, Miami! Thanks for brightening up our winter.

All photos were shot with an iPhone.

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