Nothing make a dinner complete like an unforgettable dessert. It wasn’t that long ago that we were all fawning over those chocolate spheres that melt under a drizzle of sweetness, and Instagram is still heavy with images of macaroons of every color. But while some are partial to trying desserts that are popular and new (or new to us), there are others that crave something that reminds them of home. We’ve tracked down a number of the city’s best classic desserts and listed them here for your sweet tooth’s benefit.
1. Carrot Cake at Prime 112
Prime 112’s reputation as a magnet for celebrities and other A-listers is well known, and everyone knows their steak is second to none. But it’s also one of the best places in South Florida to get a slice of that understated classic: carrot cake. Their slices are scrumptious, large enough to share with the whole table, and topped with just the right amount of cream cheese icing.
2. Key Lime Pie at Joe’s Stone Crab
There probably isn’t a classic dessert more beloved by Miamians than the key lime pie at Joe’s Stone Crab. Featured on numerous lists and even an episode of Giada’s Weekend Getaways on the Food Network, this pie is famous even beyond the 305. And while some would contest getting key lime pie outside of the keys, for Joe’s, anyone would make the exception.
3. Coconut Cake at KYU
You don’t have to be a coconut-fanatic to enjoy a light and fluffy slice of mom’s coconut cake at KYU. The recipe is based on one created by Chef Michael Lewis’ mother, and is certainly worth saving room for. Each slice of this divine dessert is expertly served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream atop shredded, toasted coconut.
4. Tiramisu at Spasso
New Grove addition Spasso is just the spot for authentic Italian cuisine as well as decadent desserts. Their tiramisu, a popular cocoa-dusted delight served in a coffee cup, is the perfect way to end a meal of hearty pasta, fresh bread, and fine wine. After all, the dessert’s name translates to “pick me up” and that’s exactly what it’ll do for you.
3540 Main Highway, Coconut Grove; 305-441-0219
5. Doughnut Holes at Red The Steakhouse
When you’re looking for a dessert that screams down home comfort, there’s nothing quite like some doughnut holes. Of course, at Red The Steakhouse, you aren’t just getting a bag of powdered goodies from the corner store. These doughnut holes are heavenly and can be enjoyed alone or alongside caramel, raspberry, and chocolate sauce for an added bit of indulgence.
6. Ho Ho at Big Pink
Ho hos have been making folks smile since the 1920s, originally created by a small bakery in San Francisco. Today, you can find an exceptional version of the popular, cream-filled snack cake at Big Pink in the SoFi neighborhood of South Beach. You’ll find they do the ho ho justice by jumbo-sizing the chocolate dessert, served with a side of vanilla ice cream.
7. Chocolate Mousse at Essensia
Just because most classic desserts weren’t originally created as vegan doesn’t mean we can’t recreate them sans animal products and still end up with a brilliantly rich dish. That’s just what the wonderful folks at Essens ia at The Palms did with this unbelievable chocolate mousse. This version is a true crowd pleaser, made for the masses (gluten-free and sugar-free), and topped with maple roasted almonds, blood orange and rum-infused raspberries, and a raspberry foam.
8. Baked Alaska at Christy’s
Who ever thought that putting ice cream in an oven would yield an incredible dessert? We might be too late for National Baked Alaska Day (that falls on February 1st), but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy one of our very own at Christy’s in the Gables. This must-have dessert is generous in portion, and is flambéed tableside, making it a winner in flavor and presentation.
9. Puertorican Tres Leches at LoKal
Tres leches might not be considered an American classic dessert, but it’s definitely a popular sweet among various Latin populations from Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. There are a number of variations on the wet and spongey cake, but the one at LoKal is done Puerto Rican style. As the name suggests, three types of milk are used, and Lokal’s rendition comes with bananas, berries, a milk marinade, caramel, and whipped cream.
10. Flan at Versailles
Another classic Miami dessert is the ever-popular flan. Plenty of places serve it, including a number of grocery stores, but we all know they’ve got nothing on the flan at Versailles. Bear in mind that you can order a few different versions, like chocolate, coconut, or cheese. But if you want the tried and true, go for the caramel.
11. Chocolate Cake at Truluck’s
You can give a chocoholic a Hershey bar, a box of truffles, or even some chocolate ice cream, but they’ll all tell you that nothing compares to the divinity of that old favorite, the chocolate cake. And when you’re in Miami in search of such a treat, you’d better go to Truluck’s. This ultra-indulgent (not to mention enormous) slice of layer cake is delivered to your table and then drenched in a warm chocolate sauce because really, who wouldn’t want to see that?