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If there was one restaurant I was really looking forward to trying in Miami, it was definitely Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink.

The restaurant is located in the high-end design district where there’s plenty of street parking available. Given the area, I thought we’d get gauged on parking. Turned out to only be 75 cents an hour when we dropped by for lunch. When we commented that parking was dirt cheap down here, one of the locals said “Cheap? You guys aren’t from here, are you?” That obvious, eh?

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

Michael’s Genuine (@MGFD_MIA) has plenty of outdoor seating and since it was nice out we opted to sit outside in the courtyard. There were a lot of fancy, well-to-do people dining here for lunch as well but the atmosphere here was pretty laid back and casual. Nothing pretentious.

The restaurant is brought to you by James Beard award-winning Michael Schwartz (@chefmschwartz). The philosophy here is cooking what’s in season and what local farmers have to offer. For lunch, they have a large menu of appetizers, pizzas, sandwiches, salads and entrees. Oh, and make sure you save room for their desserts!

Since we were on vacation, we had to order some lunch cocktails! The first one I had was the Strawberry Basil Caipirinha – Mae De Ouro aged Cachaca, fresh lime and sugar ($11). Strong but delicious!

The Cabarete & Strawberry Basil Caipirinha

The second one I tried was the Cabarete – aperol, St. Germain sparkling wine, soda, fresh watermelon and orange bitters ($11) which was much lighter than the caipirinha. It was very light and refreshing – perfect for an early lunch.

If you’re gonna order one thing from Michael’s Genuine, it’s gotta be the Crispy Pig Ears ($6). If you have some reservations about pig ears, don’t think of it as eating pig ears. You’d never know!

I’ve eaten a lot of pig ears and these were easily the best I’ve had. Extra crispy and heavily seasoned with a cajun seasoning which made them so incredibly addictive. Loved ‘em!

Crispy Pig Ears

The second appetizer we ordered was the Crispy Sweet & Spicy Pork Belly – with kimchi, crushed peanuts and paradise farms pea shoots ($13). It was crisp on top and melt-in-your-mouth tender on the bottom. I enjoyed the sweet and spicy sauce but felt it could’ve used a little bit more of a kick. It was a tasty and well-balanced dish with the accompanying kimchi slaw which helped balance out the fattiness and richness of the pork.

Crispy Sweet & Spicy Pork Belly

For our entrees, we decided to share a few dishes. The first being the Short Rib & Fontina Cheese Panini – grilled onions, arugula, heirloom tomato chutney ($16). I liked that they were very generous with the amount of cheese on the sandwich and the short ribs were wonderfully tender and packed full of flavour. A grilled cheese for grown ups!

Short Rib & Fontina Cheese Panini

The panini was served with a small side of fries which were perfectly fried. Especially delicious when dipped in a bit of the sweet heirloom tomato chutney.


Another sandwich we ordered was the Banh Mi – country pate, crispy pork belly, pickled vegetables, sambal aioli and herbs ($14). Wow. Just wow. It was the best banh mi I’ve ever had! Who would’ve thought it’d come from Miami?

The Banh Mi

A thick piece of incredible pate, crunchy pieces of deep fried pork belly, pickled onions and a rich, tasty sambal aioli. All sandwiched between the perfect toasted baguette. Like I said, best banh mi ever. While the short rib panini was delicious, this sandwich definitely stole the show.

The Banh Mi

With an impressive list of salads, we decided to go with the Florida Rock Shrimp Salad – with greens, avocado, papaya, pickled pearl onion, toasted macadamia, jade dressing ($18). The ingredients were incredibly fresh and the combination of all the components worked together perfectly. I loved the pickled onions which are a welcome addition to any dish.

I appreciated the light application of the dressing as it really let the freshness of the ingredients shine. As far as salads go, it was a definite hit.

The Florida Rock Shrimp Salad

Like I said, you better save room for dessert! Michael’s Genuine is known for their phenomenal desserts by pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith (@hedygoldsmith), a James Beard nominee for outstanding pastry chef, 2013. After trying some of her desserts, I’ve gotta say, the nomination is well deserved!

Our first dessert was the Home Brew Sundae – malted caramel, housemade pretzels and marshmallows ($11). Today’s ice cream was beer. You heard right…beer ice cream! I couldn’t taste much of the beer at first but after a few spoonfuls you could taste its subtle flavour. A fantastic sundae for grown ups!

The Home Brew Sundae

I loved the layers of charred marshmallows in the sundae and the pretzels gave it a nice crunch and saltiness. The combination of the pretzels and malted caramel made it taste like salted caramel – one of my favourite things! Needless to say, we licked every bit of this sundae up.

The Home Brew Sundae

Our last bite of the day was the Lemon Creamsicle Pot de Crème – buttermilk doughnuts, basil syrup and housemade ricotta ($10). After seeing this on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” on the Food Network, we already knew we were going to order this even before arriving at the restaurant.

The Lemon Creamsicle Pot de Crème

Yet another dish that blew me away! The pot de crème was light, smooth and creamy and certainly did taste like a lemon creamsicle. The fresh doughnuts were perfect little fluffy bites which tasted ridiculous dipped in the pot de crème. A must-order!

The Lemon Creamsicle Pot de Crème

What a satisfying lunch! Even with the high expectations coming into this meal, I was still blown away. Highly recommended for anyone making a trip out to Miami!

The Lemon Creamsicle Pot de Crème

At a glance:
• Located in the design district of Miami
• Dropped by for lunch – loved the crispy pig ears, banh mi and creamsicle pot de crème
• Save room for their phenomenal desserts
• Plenty of cheap street parking
• Outdoor seating in the courtyard

Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4.5 stars
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 3 stars

Michael's Genuine Food & Drink on Urbanspoon

  1. Ken (Reply) on Tuesday 5, 2013

    Wow this food looks ridiculously good. I find it hard to consider Banh Mi for $14, but .. deep fried pork belly isn’t something you come across often either.
    I’m so impressed by all your food finds in Miami!!

    • Jess (Reply) on Tuesday 5, 2013

      While the price is pretty steep for a banh mi, it was well worth it! It was the perfect sandwich!
      I did a lot of research before heading down which certainly paid off. The food was amazing. If you ever head down, you know where to go!