Skip to content

City Guide: Miami

Catch the culture

One of the biggest criticisms about the Magic City 20 years ago was that it was devoid of culture. With the ADRIENNE ARSHT CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY located in a César Pelli-designed building that emulates a cruise ship, and world-class museums such as the PÉREZ ART MUSEUM MIAMI, that charge can no longer be levied. Wynwood’s gallery scene, which hosts annual Art Basel festivities, is also quite engaging. The street murals here, an international “Museum of the Streets” commissioned and encouraged by visionary and enjoy a Cubano-rolled cigar. End with ham-and-pork Cuban sandwiches, vaca frita (fried steak) and Moros y Cristianos (white rice mixed with black beans) at rambunctious VERSAILLES RESTAURANT where the political conversations are always fascinating – and, like everything else in Miami – infectious.

ADRIENNE ARSHT CENTER\ *1300 Biscayne Blvd., 305 949 6722\*

PÉREZ ART MUSEUM MIAMI\ *1103 Biscayne Blvd., 305 375 3000\*

VERSAILLES RESTAURANT\ *3555 SW 8th St., 305 444 0240\*

Restaurants to dine for

Miami has always been a place to savour a variety of genuine Latin cuisines, particularly Cuban, Argentine and Brazilian. Recently, an upscale Peruvian trend has emerged, resulting in venues such as LA MAR BY GASTÓN ACURIO in the Mandarin Oriental Miami and COYA MIAMI, American outpost of the famed London establishment. You won’t find better examples of freshly made ceviche and tiradito – raw fish lightly “cooked” with citrus and other flavours. Chefs are also demonstrating a renewed passion for fusing Asian flavours with South Florida ingredients, and the results are deliciously evident at South Beach restaurants TALDE (at the aforementioned Thompson Miami Beach); chef Michael Pirolo’s BÁZÍ MIAMI in the Marlin Hotel and NAIYARA, the spot for authentic Thai street food helmed by Piyarat Potha Arreeratn, a.k.a. “Chef Bee”. For truly impressive regional fare from chefs who have no ethnic allegiance but are loyal to excellent, sustainable product and their own imaginations, check out chef Bradley Kilgore’s ALTER in a renovated Wynwood warehouse and the longrunning yet still revolutionary MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD & DRINK in the high-end Design District, owned by chef Michael Schwartz. He also operates the classy CYPRESS TAVERN nearby.

LA MAR BY GASTÓN ACURIO\ *500 Brickell Key Dr., 305 913 8288\*

COYA MIAMI\ *999 Brickell Ave., 305 415 9990\*

BÁZÍ MIAMI\ *1200 Collins Ave., 305 695 0101\*

NAIYARA\ 1854 Bay Rd., Sunset Harbour Shops

ALTER\ *223 NW 23rd St., 305 573 5996\*

MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD & DRINK\ *130 NE 40th St., 305 573 5550\*

CYPRESS TAVERN\ *3620 NE 2nd Ave., 305 520 5197\*

Café cool

The Downtown district bustles during the day with people doing business and others who are at leisure. For deal-making, upscale Mexican restaurant CANTINA LA VEINTE RESTAURANT, DELI & CAFÉ located behind the Viceroy Hotel, is a terrific spot for both lunch and happy hour. Order a horchata, a traditional Mexican drink, for an addictive, refreshing pick-me-up during the former, and tequila from an impressive range of bottlings during the latter. If you’re shopping the luxe boutiques in Midtown, Mary Brickell Village or the Design District, Mediterranean café APEIRO KITCHEN & BARBLUE COLLAR and THE FEDERAL FOOD, DRINK & PROVISIONS are all prime spots for a more laid-back, midday meal that makes the most of Miami’s gorgeous weather. Consider them buenas recommendations for brunch as well.

CANTINA LA VEINTE RESTAURANT, DELI & CAFÉ\ *495 Brickell Ave., 786 623 6135\*

APEIRO KITCHEN & BAR\ *3252 NE 1st Ave., The Shops at Midtown, 786 800 5389\*

BLUE COLLAR\ *6730 Biscayne Blvd., 305 756 0366\*

THE FEDERAL FOOD, DRINK & PROVISIONS\ *5132 Biscayne Blvd., 305 758 9559\*>

Sip and salsa like a local

Two things Miamians know how to do: knock back drinks and swivel their hips. If you want to hang with the locals, you’ll need to practise doing them simultaneously at places that offer both Latin music and innovative libations. We’re fond of MO BAR + LOUNGE (in the aforementioned Mandarin Oriental) and LILT BAR & LOUNGE in the Epic Hotel. For groundbreaking mixology, don’t miss THE BROKEN SHAKER in the Freehand Miami. For speakeasy elegance that channels Prohibition (along with a lot of antiques), LIBERTINE is a no-sign, late-night haunt for aficionados with a sense of direction. But if all you crave is simplicity – say, really good tacos and tequila shots in a hidden, back-room bar – head over to Wynwood’s COYO TACO. Or stop by THE BUTCHER SHOP BEER GARDEN & GRILL for a choice steak, sausages and a beer tower.

LILT BAR & LOUNGE\ *270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, 305 351 7403\*

THE BROKEN SHAKER\ *2727 Indian Creek Dr., 305 531 2727\*

LIBERTINE\ *34 NE 11th St., 305 363 2120\*

COYO TACO\ *2300 NW 2nd Ave., 305 573 8228\*

THE BUTCHER SHOP BEER GARDEN & GRILL\ *165 NW 23rd St., 305 846 9120\*

Beachfront hotels of the future

In keeping with the times, 1 HOTEL & HOMES located on the beachfront at the northern tip of the South Beach Art Deco District, is completely eco-friendly, made with organic materials, using natural light and serving sustainable food – most notably in Tom Colicchio’s seafood-based restaurant, Beachcraft. Away from the madding South Beach crowds, Mid-Beach hotels attract with renovated art deco architecture, exclusive ocean access, terrific food and mixology, and entertainment that ranges from bowling alleys to ice-skating rinks. They include the boutique THOMPSON MIAMI BEACH where hometown chef Michelle Bernstein and her husband, David Martinez, manage Seagrape (as well as the renowned CENA by Michy on the Upper East Side); the long-awaited FAENA HOTEL MIAMI BEACH, the artsy complex that stretches four blocks; and the MIAMI BEACH EDITION, where Jean-Georges Vongerichten curates the fare.

1 HOTEL & HOMES\ *2341 Collins Ave., 305 604 1000\*

THOMPSON MIAMI BEACH\ *4041 Collins Ave., 786 605 4041\*