Carissa Chesanek


  • Miami, FL, USA

Carissa Chesanek is a correspondent who lives in Miami and covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. She has her Master’s in Journalism and is involved in the Writers’ Network of South Florida. An avid eater and expert diner, she has used her fascination with food to write culinary-inspired pieces for various publications including, Dining Out Magazine, Zagat Survey and When she’s not busy eating, Carissa works as the Miami Editor with, a locals guide to must-see places and happenings, and finishing up her first novel. Follow what she’s up to on her website,

  • On July 18, 2013
    Carissa Chesanek answered the question: Carissa Chesanek

    What are the best coffee shops in Miami?

    Eternity Coffee Roasters
    Need a caffeine pick-me-up? Well, Miami is known for some killer Cuban coffee, but it also provides tons of other caffeine-filled beverages to everyones liking. Here are the top best coffee shops that the city has to offer, for every palate.

    Eternity Coffee Roasters
    A downtown coffee house staple, Eternity Coffee Roasters offers some seriously unique drinks, including Columbian estate farms and Micro-lots made in-house, and green coffee beans that everyone is talking about; all found in a charmingly cool espresso bar.

    Panther Coffee
    You’ll know when you get close to this Wynwood coffee shop because you can smell the aroma of Panther Coffee miles away. Inside this laid-back hipster roaster, you’ll find specialized small-batch coffee bean roasting and tasty treats too (think: huge, gooey chocolate chip cookies).

    Sitting pretty along Lincoln Road, Nestle Nespresso offers a modern style coffee shop right smack in the middle of ample foot traffic. If you’re looking for a great cup of premium blend coffee in a swanky setting, this spot is the place of choice.
  • On July 17, 2013
    Carissa Chesanek answered the question: Carissa Chesanek

    Where is the best ice cream in Miami?

    The heat is on, so what better way to cool down than by grabbing a tasty cold treat at one of these top ice cream parlors in Miami?

    The Frieze Ice Cream Factory
    A place that has been a staple to Miami Beach for over two decades, The Frieze Ice Cream Factory offers plenty of different flavors to choose from, including the in-store “fancy flavors” like the Mom’s After Dinner Mint and the Run Raisin that change on a daily and weekly basis.

    While this adorable ice cream parlor offers a great happy hour, there is no comparison to the massive sundaes they shell out. Just try to pick through the several different choices of Outrageous Banana Split, “Can’t Say No Sundae,” and the Forbidden Broadway Sundae, all served in gigantic portions.

    Todo Frito
    You’ll find plenty of yummy treats here, known to serve them up “Miami style” with Cuban coffee-focused sweetness, the Cafecito Joe. Some of their signature tropical flavors include Coco Cabana (coconut ice cream) and Senorita Mango, along with the Sizzling Pineapple served with banana slices and hot guava syrup.
  • On July 17, 2013
    Carissa Chesanek answered the question: Carissa Chesanek

    What are the best places for breakfast in Miami?

    Looking for a quick place to grab a delicious breakfast? Head over to any of these small spots with tons of tasty menu options, and you won’t be disappointed.

    Mo’s Bagels & Deli
    Sure, it might be known as a solid bagel shop, but Mo’s offers much more than your average bagel. Inside this cozy deli space, you’ll be able to score some equally decent regular breakfast items such as the extra thick veggie omelet with onion, green pepper, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes, served with your choice of potatoes, tomato, or grits along with either a bagel or toast.

    Bagel Cove
    Hit up this Aventura staple for some of the best bagels in the area. Choose from a plethora of different kinds along with lox, cream cheese, or jelly for toppings. The cheese bagels are also drool-worthy, especially the muenster and alpine lace.

    Buena Vista Deli
    Located right in the Miami Design District area, this tasty French deli is known to provide some of the most amazing homemade baked goods around, including those most talked about massive cream puffs everyone loves.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Carissa Chesanek answered the question: Carissa Chesanek

    What are the best vegetarian restaurants in Miami?

    Miami has plenty of food venues to offer. Whether you’re craving a juicy burger, or you want some decent Italian, this city has an array of choices. However, if you’re looking for something healthier, you might not necessarily know where to go in a city full of food. To get you started, here are some of the best vegetarian restaurants to check out.

    Miami Juice
    This small organic eatery sitting in Sunny Isles, offers solid, healthy food including fruit salads, organic juices, and topnotch tuna salads, along with also providing a place to buy fresh produce inside their small market.

    Here Comes the Sun
    Healthy vegan food is what makes up this North Miami staple, where you’ll find incredible menu items such as fresh garden salads, veggie burgers, and tofu dishes with basmati rice.

    Metro Organic Bistro
    You’ll find this spot right alongside Biscayne Boulevard, where it offers tasty tuna tartare, grilled sweetbreads, and an avocado crab salad worth salivating over, all inside their cozy modern space, known as the first organic fine dining venue in the area.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Carissa Chesanek answered the question: Carissa Chesanek

    Where can I go watch sports in Miami?

    Since, you already know where to go for live sports: Marlins Park, SunLife Stadium, it’s now time to talk about places to watch televised sports with a cold beer in hand. Here are the top best sports bar this city has to offer, providing great chill spots to watch sports.

    Finnegan’s on the River
    This Downtown Miami sports bar is the place to go when craving late night burgers, satisfying lunches, or a few brews while watching the game on one of the 18 TVs found inside a comfortable pub setting.

    Sandbar Sports Grill
    Found in the heart of Coconut Grove, this beachy themed local hotspot provides excellent sports watching with two massive screens and 24 plasmas, along with lots of arcade games, pool, and solid happy hour, making this “Home of the Fish Taco” venue a staple in Miami.

    Duffy’s Sports Grill
    Located right in North Miami along the bay, you’ll not only get ample water views alongside the patio, but you’ll be right in view with the game thanks to the many flat screen TVs sprawled throughout the space -- both inside and out.
  • On June 26, 2013
    Carissa Chesanek answered the question: Carissa Chesanek

    What are the best indoor activities in Miami?

    While most people like to spend their time outdoors while here in Miami, however there are times when heading indoors is best -- especially during the hot summer months. Whether it’s a hot day or a complete rainy wash out, here are a few fun indoor activities to give a try.

    Art Galleries
    Miami is known for its cool art scene and most galleries don’t even cost a cover, so you can spend the day walking in and out of new exhibits, especially when you head to Wynwood to take in all the local artwork.

    Indoor Sports
    There are tons of fun indoor sporting activities to do here in Miami including checking out X-treme Rock Climbing, Xtreme Indoor Karting, and Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park.

    Sure, New York has Broadway for all its stellar shows, but Miami also has its fill on plays and musicals too. Now is the time to check out what the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade has to offer this season, including 8cho at the Ziff Ballet Opera House.
  • On June 26, 2013
    Carissa Chesanek answered the question: Carissa Chesanek

    What are the best stores for designer clothes in Miami?

    Finding designer clothes in Miami is relatively easy. There are so many shops and boutiques in this city shelling out fancy high-end items, that shoppers really can have their pick. You can choose to search through the most expensive places (Bal Harbour Shops) for the brand new labels, or you can head over to the discount consignment stores (C Madeleine’s) for cheaper prices.

    The Aventura Mall also offers some high-end shops including Bloomingdales and Louis Vuitton, while the Design District has their share of swanky designer boutiques such as Cartier, Hermes, and Christian Louboutin. But if you’re looking to save some cash while at the mall, you’ll find some great deals on designer items when you either head over to Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise or the Dolphin Mall in Sweetwater, offering outlets on all designer stores.
  • On June 26, 2013
    Carissa Chesanek answered the question: Carissa Chesanek

    What are the best outdoor activities in Miami?
    There are a plethora of outdoor activities to enjoy when visiting Miami. Not only can you have fun in the sun while hitting up the beaches, but you can also enjoy heading over to some tasty farmer’s markets along with doing some fun outdoor shopping.

    If you’re looking to stay in shape and get some excellent exercise while here, you’ll have your pick as to which activities to choose from. Enjoy kayaking on the bay or surfing in the ocean. Biking is also a lot of fun for many and now with the Deco Bikes found all over the city, it can’t get much easier. Free yoga is also offered at many beaches including on Ocean Drive and at One Bal Harbour Resort & Spa.

    For the adventure seekers, there’s always heading over to the Everglades to power through a airboat ride in the swamp to discover alligators, while Parrot Jungle Island provides animal viewing in a more tropical setting.
  • On June 26, 2013
    Carissa Chesanek answered the question: Carissa Chesanek

    Where is the best architecture in Miami?

    Miami is known for its beautiful beaches, but it’s also known for its stunning architectural  designs too. If you want to check out what kind of structures are found in this city, you’ll be able to get your fill at any one of these areas.

    Art Deco District
    Walk around South Beach between 18th Street, Collins Ave., and Ocean Drive and you’ll be mesmerized at the classic buildings with bold colors, modern shapes, and sleek lines.

    MiMo District
    Cruise along Biscayne Blvd in Miami’s Historic Upper East Side (MiMo) where you’ll find magnificent carefully crafted designs glowing under the city’s hot sun.

    South Beach Parking Garages
    While there are plenty of beautiful houses and hotels here in Miami that make up for some amazing architectural design, there are also really interesting parking garages. The 1111 Lincoln Road parking garage is known to have a truly modern appeal and hosts some amazing parties there as well.
  • On June 26, 2013
    Carissa Chesanek answered the question: Carissa Chesanek

    What are the best things to do in South Beach in Miami?

    Travel Channel

    If you’re traveling to South Beach, you might be wondering exactly what you should plan to do once you get there. The beach offers tons of things to do, so it’s important to have a plan to help ensure you get to do everything it is that you want. Here are a few ideas to help get you started.

    The Beach: If you’re coming to South Beach, most likely you’ll be hitting the beach on Ocean Drive. It’s a long strip and offers lots of action both on and off the sand. When you get hungry (or thirsty) just walk over to the shops and restaurants on Ocean Drive and you’ll have your choice of go-to tourist hot spots.

    Shopping: You can choose to head over to Collins Avenue for some shopping along their strip (Barney’s New York Co-Op, Sephora, Puma) or you can head over to Lincoln Road to shop, eat, and even take in a movie at the Regal Cinema.

    Espanola Way: Anyone interested in sipping on a really tasty margarita or mojito, should go about it here. This small section of South Beach right off Washington Ave. and 15th Street offers authentic Mexican cuisine along with a quaint atmosphere with a pretty sidewalk area, fun salsa dancing, and small shops.

    Outdoors Sports: If you’re into paddleboarding, wakeboarding, or want to try your hands on surfing, you’ll be able to get lessons, rent equipment and get out into the water to give it a go here in South Beach. There’s also lots of biking here too which serves as both staying fit and also taking a tour of the city.

    Clubs: South Beach isn’t known for its party scene for nothing. There are plenty of places for you to party here including the big name clubs (LIV, Cameo, Mansion) to the smaller lounges and bars (Fox Hole, Broken Shaker).
  • On June 25, 2013
    Carissa Chesanek answered the question: Carissa Chesanek

    What is summer like in Miami?

    For anyone who has not experienced Miami in the summer, it may be for good reason. While Miami is beautiful and sunny during these three months, it’s also extremely hot and humid. Sometimes even just walking from valet to a restaurant can cause you to sweat profusely, and if you’re AC doesn’t work in your car? Forget it. Those rolled down windows won’t do you any good with all that thick humid air seeping in. Most locals tend to hibernate indoors in the comfort of subzero temperatures inside stores, offices, restaurants, and local indoor sporting activities.

    During these summer months also marks the beginning of hurricane season so the weather can be very unpredictable, causing a perfectly normal day to turn into a tropical rainstorm, if not more.

    However, Miami is still a beautiful place even at its hottest and thankfully there is the ocean to swim and lots of poolside paradise options to relax by to help beat the heat. If you do opt for coming here during the summer, be sure to remember the sunblock as the sun is super strong, and always hydrate.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Carissa Chesanek answered the question: Carissa Chesanek

    What are the best sushi restaurants in Miami?

    Japanese Market Miami
    Looking for fresh, tasty sushi here in Miami? While this city has lots of fancy Japanese restaurants to choose from, let’s just skip the hype and get right down to the top best spots that serve up good ol’ fashioned, traditional sushi combinations.

    Moshi Moshi
    Sure, you can head over to their signature spot off Washington Avenue in South Beach, but if you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere (and free parking), try their newest space on Biscayne Blvd. Here, you’ll find delicious sushi including staple items: Dragon Roll and Spicy Salmon, alongside their own signature pieces featuring their Garden Shrimp Roll and Joe Roll.

    Makoto Restaurant
    Sitting inside the beautiful lush Bal Harbour Shops, Makoto Restaurant is a staple sushi and Japanese hot spot for all elite eaters. Items including the Spicy Yellowtail and Negi Toro make up just some of the amazing sushi dishes, alongside the Chef’s Combination Sashimi Platter with bundles of fresh, raw fish delicacies.

    Japanese Market Miami
    While this family-owned market is known for shelling out tons of excellent produce and cooking essentials, the Japanese Market Miami also has a delicious sushi bar, serving up authentic rolls and sashimi. With all their fresh items, there’s a reason why many of the local media publications have claimed this hole-in-the-wall the best sushi Miami has to offer.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Carissa Chesanek answered the question: Carissa Chesanek

    What are the best steakhouses in Miami?

    There are plenty of restaurants here in Miami serving up countless slabs of meat, but when it comes to true steakhouses, there are only a few that truly make what they serve paramount. Hope you’re hungry, because these top best steakhouses will surely have you salivating.

    Red, The Steakhouse
    Noted as one of the sexiest steakhouses around, Red, The Steakhouse in South Beach offers quality meats without the excessively flashy scene. Inside this warmly lit setting with leather banquets and large wraparound bar, the menu excites the taste buds with items like the Certified Angus Beef Steak Tartare, 14oz New York Strip, and infamous Parmesan “Tater Tots.”

    Prime 112
    Sitting right smack in the middle of the elite South of Fifth neighborhood, Prime 112 is a steakhouse with an A-list scene. Known for a long wait list and ridiculously busy bar, this space also shells out amazing cuisine such as Oysters Rockefeller, 16oz Bone-In Filet, and the Colorado Lamb Rack.

    Bourbon Steak
    Celebrity chef Michael Mina offers up classic American dishes inside an ultimate classy setting here at Bourbon Steak. Located inside Aventura’s lovely Turnberry Isle Miami, this steakhouse serves prime and aged cut meats, Truffle Mac & Cheese, and amazing American Wagyu Burgers.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Carissa Chesanek answered the question: Carissa Chesanek

    What are the best farmers markets in Miami?

    Anyone who is looking for some fresh, healthy foods in Miami, can easily head over to plenty of local farmers markets to get the right products. If you’re in the mood for some tasty fruits and produce grown locally, here are the top best farmers markets in the area to try.

    Lincoln Road Farmer’s Market
    Every Sunday, local vendors take over Lincoln Road, supplying its customers with fresh fruits, vegetables, smoothies, and breads. While the food is the main feature here, there are other merchants to check out too, offering fresh flowers and vintage apparel.

    Normady Village Market Place
    Located in a fun, vibrant neighborhood, the Normady Village Market Place happens year round on every Saturday. Shoppers can find organic fruits and vegetables along with fresh fish, unique tropical fruits, empanadas, and yummy baked goods.

    Coconut Grove Organic Farmers Market
    Known as one of the oldest markets around, the Coconut Grove Organic Farmers Market is the place to go every Saturday. Not only will guests be able to scour a large selection of produce, there is also a raw deli, freshly squeezed natural juices, and a large salad bar.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Carissa Chesanek answered the question: Carissa Chesanek

    What are the best beaches in Miami?

    Miami is known for its beautiful beaches, and while South Beach is the main one that comes to most minds, there are plenty of other sandy spots worth checking out here too.

    Haulover Beach
    One of the few fully nude beaches in the area, Haulover Beach doesn’t leave anything left to the imagination. If you’re looking for a pretty beach without worrying about pesky tan lines, this is the area of choice.

    Bal Harbour Beach
    A picturesque sandy getaway, Bal Harbor Beach offers ample fun in the sun along with great fishing on the pier. A known spot for the surfers and yoga on the beach, this seaside escape might be small, but is a favorite among many locals.

    Crandon Park Beach
    If you’re with children and are looking for a great getaway from the South Beach mayhem, Key Biscayne might be the right option. Here, you’ll find Crandon Park Beach that’s ideal for picnics, water sports, and just some ultimate relaxing in a beautiful setting.

    South Beach
    One of the prime tourists destinations in Miami, South Beach offers lots of vibrancy during the day and after the sun sets. With ample people watching and miles of sandy beaches, you’ll never get bored hanging here.