By Paul Rubio
In line with Miami’s growing epicurean culture, the city can’t seem to get enough of the food hall trend. Unlike chain-laden food courts, food halls feature curated collections of artisan food stalls and boutique dining experiences elevated by vibrant, high-design settings.
From Downtown to Aventura, here’s the scoop on the big names in Miami’s latest dining craze.
La Centrale, Downtown Miami
The grandest food hall in Downtown Miami just might be La Centrale, located in the Brickell City Centre. The 40,000 square-foot, tri-level food hall houses an inspired collection of Italian food stations, restaurants, bars, cafés, markets, and a wine shop. Comparisons to Eataly are warranted; however, La Centrale is a more refined iteration of the Italian food hall. There’s true decadence in the design details, from the first-floor food market echoing Rome’s principal train station to the second floor’s Instagram-perfect cocktail bar, which takes cues from an archetypal Puglia piazza.
Also on the second floor are a number of excellent, thematic restaurants including the seafood-centric Pesce, the meat-heavy Carne, and vegetarian-forward Stagionale, which serves an impossibly perfect vegan spaghetti carbonara. On the third level, enjoy antipasti and small plates at wine bar restaurant Enoteca or take a pasta-making class at the in-house cooking school. By and large, La Centrale is more of a must-do Miami experience than a food hall.
Photo: Courtesy of La Centrale/Michael Pisarri
Wynwood Yard, Wynwood
An evening at The Wynwood Yard is the complete food, art, music, and people-watching experience one desires from buzzworthy Wynwood. (Proof: it even inspired Shakira to perform an impromptu concert when visiting one night.) And the vendors at the outdoor culture hub are as personality-driven as the neighborhood itself, like the full-service CHARCOAL Garden Bar + Grill, constructed entirely out of modified shipping containers. Unfortunately, the yard shall be cleared come late spring 2019 to make room for a new mixed-use brick-and-mortar project. So, get your Wynwood Yard fix now while you can or wait until its mirror image, Doral Yard, opens in 2020 in the Miami suburbs.
St. Roch Market, Design District
After staunch success in New Orleans, St. Roch Market brings its winning recipe to Miami with an eclectic, twelve-vendor food emporium in the Design District. The food hall serves as incubator of sorts for rising chefs looking to make their name in the national food scene (without the mega-capital required to fund a full restaurant venture). The result: meticulously executed cuisine from personable chefs at prices far below Design District standards. From Peruvian-style sushi at Itamae to handmade pastas and house-made sauces at Dal Plin, a meal at St. Roch Market never fails to impress.
Photo: Courtesy of St. Roch Market/Andrea Lorena
Treats Food Hall, Aventura
Located in a new Carlos Zapata-designed wing in the expanded Aventura Mall, Treats Food Hall replaces the mall’s former food court, Treats at Aventura. There’s great debate among Miami food writers whether the new iteration of Treats is indeed a food hall or remains a food court — on one hand, visitors will spot an Auntie Anne’s kiosk and a Chipotle. But a fabulous lobster roll from Maine-based Luke’s Lobster or a slice of fig-topped pizza from Figs + Mozzarella by Todd English is sure to enhance a day of retail therapy in the country’s third-largest shopping mall.
Lincoln Eatery, South Beach
Lincoln Eatery made its Miami debut in late January 2019. The 9,600 square-foot venue sits just off the busy Lincoln Road thoroughfare, so it’s perfectly located for a quick bite when shopping or sun worshipping in South Beach. Of the eatery’s thirteen vendors, the two not to miss: Cake Thai Kitchen, serving highly-addictive, Thai street food, and Gaijin by Cake, dishing up Japanese gastropub eats like dumplings and yakitori.
On the Horizon
Set to open in late spring 2019 in South Beach is Time Out Market, an outpost of the Lisbon, Portugal-based food hall that reigns as the European city’s top tourist attraction. The Miami version will include food stalls from 17 noted regional chefs, including season 13 Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford, owner of Stubborn Seed in South Beach. Also on deck for late spring 2019 is Central Fare, a 20-vendor, three-restaurant food hall on the second level of Downtown Miami’s new state-of-the-art station for the high-speed Brightline trains (soon to be rebranded Virgin Trains USA).
Photo: Courtesy of Time Out Market
Soon enough, we’ll be able to get our food hall fix just about everywhere in Miami. Thankfully, in Sunny Isles, the top choice remains at close range: Acqualina’s very own mini-food hall, which includes the likes of Il Mulino New York, AQ Chop House by Il Mulino, Sushi by Yakko San, and AQ Kosher Marketplace.
Featured Photo: Courtesy of La Centrale/Michael Pisarri
About the Contributor
Travel journalist Paul Rubio is a Miami native who has traveled to more than 130 countries over the past fifteen years. Rubio’s writing appears in Condé Nast Traveler, LUXURY, Robb Report, Private Clubs, and The New York Times.