Mary’s Café near Coconut Grove may be housed in a literal laundromat, but that doesn’t stop nightcrawlers from hounding the place for its beloved Cuban fare. It may seem a bit, well, odd, to find a 24-hour café in a laundromat, but its incarnation does make sense: looking to service late-night washers who needed a spark of caffeine, the owners installed a space to whip up café con leche, poured into white styrofoam cups. It eventually morphed into a place for food: golden-brown croquetas, grilled medianoche sandwiches (stuffed with ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard) and creamy milkshakes.
On weekends, Versailles stays open until 2.30am, slinging morros, yucca croquettes and stuffed green plantains. Miami’s most famous Cuban restaurant in Little Havana is always packed for a reason, especially in the early hours of the morning: friendly servers, craveable snacks and the beloved Cuban sandwich, teeming with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese and pickles. As you munch on yucca fries and break into empanadas, you’ll want to also accompany your food with a cafecito – a richly sweet and powerful Cuban espresso.
At Big Pink, pink is taken very seriously: the two-story building is painted a bright pink, tabletops are a translucent neon pink, and even the inside is bathed in perpetual pink light. The restaurant is planted on a corner off Collins Avenue not too far from a number of South Beach late-night hangouts – which is why it’s permanently slammed. But that’s okay: it’s 4am, after all, and you’re here for enormous portions of American comfort food. Spoon into platters of baked mac and cheese, dip spears of chicken tenders into honey mustard or dive your fork into a stack of pancakes covered with butter and syrup. Big Pink is open until 5.30am from Thursday through Saturday, so nights need not be cut short to make it before closing.
Slinging stuffed sandwiches until 5am, La Sandwicherie has been catering to nocturnal South Beach crowds since 1988. Their sandwiches with a French flair are enormous, with fillings like smoked salmon, turkey, prosciutto and salami shoved into crusty baguettes. Each includes a choice of toppings (lettuce, green peppers, cornichons, black olives and a magic vinaigrette, among others), before it’s wrapped into foil and sent into the night. There are a host of signature sandwiches, too: the Tropical is a fruity, savory concoction loaded with avocado, mozzarella, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, papaya, mango and pineapple.
Night owls travel to the heart of Little Havana for a taste of this taqueria’s tacos. Chicken, steak and tongue are plopped on yellow-corn tortillas, flecked with bits of cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Most come for the tacos, but the menu also boasts enormous burritos, tostadas, sopes and griddled tortas. On weekends, there’s often a crew of people chowing down at plastic tables until closing time at 4.30am.
Walk into Pizza Bar in South Beach, and you’ll be greeted by platters and platters of round pies housed atop silver trays through 5am. As their slogan states, size does matter here. And in this respect, they’re not wrong: one slice of pizza is basically the size of two. You’ll find all the requisite toppings here – cheese, pepperoni, veggies – as well as some that are less traditional: BBQ chicken, vodka sauce, ham, pineapple and creamy alfredo sauce. If you somehow manage to power down an entire slice, you can finish off the night with a side of wings or a basket of oil-soaked garlic knots.
Cheeseburgers are unsurprisingly the move at this cheeky diner. Outfitted with a white-tile counter and black plastic stools, the burger-obsessed joint sees consistent lines curl out of the shop until 6am on weekends. Here, customers are searching for Baby’s Fave, a bacon cheeseburger crowned with a fried egg and pickles. The rest of the menu is divided into a tailored selection of burgers and sandwiches (the Philly cheesesteak is a hit, filled with shredded steak, grilled onions and green peppers and slathered with melted cheese). You’d be remiss to leave without a side of crisped-up fries, teeming with chili and cheese, before heading back outside to South Beach.
It’s all about wild hot dogs at Sweet Dogs in Flagami. These aren’t any ordinary hot dogs: the Marlin arrives strewn with sweet plantains, banana peppers, guava BBQ sauce and a fried egg; the Mac is so covered in mac and cheese and garlic croutons that you can barely see the frank itself; and the Sweet Dog is showered with smoked bacon, sweet peppers and crunchy La Choy noodles. Even with these bona fide wacky creations, there are more traditional versions as well, simply topped with beans and cheese or dressed up a little more with beef chili. In between hot dog bites, toss back fistfuls of popcorn, tinged with cheddar cheese or guava. On weekends, the joint stays open until 3am.
What’s better than a bar? A bar with a food hall attached to it. The sprawling, 10,000-square-foot (930-square-meter) Asian food hall stays open until 3am, hawking Peking duck buns, cavernous bowls of ramen, hand rolls bursting with sheaths of fish, and poke bowls to hordes of Miamians ending their nights in Wynwood. Save some room to hit Taiyaki – a New York City import – a Japanese ice cream stand that pipes colorful swirls of matcha and black sesame ice cream into warm fish-shaped cones.