The Authentic Miami Guide

Aventura / Sunny Isles / North Miami Beach / Bal Harbour:

 Where to shop:

  • Aventura Mall: Complete shopping center with Nordstrom, Macy’s and Bloomingdales as anchors and a wide variety of shops in between.
  • Bal Harbour : Beautiful shopping center, with high end designers stores and great restaurants. Make sure you check The Webster , Santa Maria Novella and Books and Books.
  • Epicure: Great gourmet market.www.epicuremarket.com
  • Matrioshka Market: Since Sunny Isles is home for a big Russian Community, this market provides all sorts of imported Russian specialties. From vodka and caviar to candy.

Things to do:

  • Beach activities: For me, the best beaches in Miami are actually in Sunny Isles. Turquoise water and white sand. You can rent equipment for paddle board and kite surfing. Play beach volleyball. Rent a bike. Or just enjoy a cocktail and relax.
  • Kite park at Haulover Park: One of my favorite places in this area. You don’t need anything to come, the Kite Shop has everything.
  • Osceola National Park: Right in the middle of the City of Aventura this nature’s lover paradise. Picnic area, kayak, mountain bikes for rental, private beach, fly fishing. You can spend a whole day here.
  • Rent a Boat: For fishing or just for fun. www.sailairborn.com

Places to Eat:

  • Miami Juice: Farm to table, organic food. Wide variety of salads, entrees and juices. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Carpaccio : Italian in Bal Harbor. Can’t go wrong here, everything on the menu is perfect.www.carpacciobalharbour.com
  • Novecento: Meat lovers are always happy at this place, but their salads and grilled salmon are delicious too. For dessert: Dulce de Leche filled crepes.
  • La Estancia Argentina: Very casual argentinian market with the most delicious empanadas, milanesas, alfajores, to enjoy there or to go.www.laestanciaweb.com
  • Food Trucks Tuesday: At Haulover parking lot every tuesday from 5 to 10pm a Food Truck party takes place.
  • Laduree: A cart with all the flavors of the french macarons now at Bal Harbour
  • Makoto: Japanese in Bal Harbour. My favorite place for sushi in Miami. Try the Robata Grilled vegetables. www.makoto-restaurant.com

 

Miami Beach/ South Beach

 Where to Shop:

Things to Do:

  • New World Center and Symphony Park: The Center was Designed by non other than Frank Ghery. The new adjacent 2.5 acre park named Miami Beach SoundScape allows a great audience to watch the concert live in a 7000 sq foot wall, with outstanding sound quality – according to some the best outdoor amplification in the world .
  • Stroll around and enjoy the craziness of South Beach: Always entertaining and free of charge. There are also City Bikes available there.
  • Colony Theater Miami Beach: Check their page for events.
  • The Basement at the Edition Hotel:   Literally installed in the basement of the hotel, opens everyday from 5 pm till 12, visit the place for bowling or ice skating and finish the night upstairs at The Matador Bar.
  • Miami Beach Convention Center: Check their page for upcomming events

 

Places to Eat:

 

  • Nobu: Of course you have to top the list with Nobuyuki Matsuhisa’s restaurant. Inside the Shore Club Hotel. Reservations recommended . www.noburestaurants.com
  • Drunken Dragon: A little hole in the wall, with delicious food. Not to be missed!
  • Prime 112: Always full, always noisy, always extraordinary. www.prime112.com
  • Joe’s Stone Crab: A classic in Miami. The must order are: Stone Crab Legs and Keylime Pie.www.joesstonecrab.com
  • Hakkasan: Modern Chinese restaurant inside the famous Fountain Bleu. www.hakkasan.com/miami
  • Ice Box Café: Great food and the best Chocolate Cake in Miami.
  • Yardbird Southern Table: Great Seafood and Pecan Pie. But if you are craving Fried Chicken , this is the place. www.runchickenrun.com

 

Night Life:

  • The Raleigh
  • Cecconis: www.cecconismiamibeach.com
  • The Rose Bar: At Delano Hotel.
  • Purdy Lounge
  • Arkadia
  • LIV: Inside the Fountainebleu Hotel.

 

Coral Gables, Coconut Grove (and Little Habanna):

 

Where to shop:

  • Violeta’s: Home design and accents. In general everything is pretty here. www.violetashomedesign.com
  • Peace and Love World: Great quality and beautiful design clothing line by a Miami designer.
  • Village of Merrick Park: Open Air Mall with Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom as well as small boutiques. 

Things to Do:

  • Walk around Miracle Mile coffee shops, boutiques, restaurants and bars.
  • Biltmore Hotel: Iconic hotel in the middle of Coral Gables.
  • Coral Gables Art Cinema: www.gablescinema.com
  • Vizcaya Museum and Gardens: Was constructed by James Deering in 1916, to resemble Lake Como Mansions. The fountains, the pool, the rose garden make you feel in Northern Italy for sure. Don’t miss the furniture from the 16th century that decorates it. www.vizcayamuseum.org
  • Domino Park in Little Habana: This place is so unique I always recommend people to visit it once. The energy of the place is very special and the characters you will find there are full of stories. Mostly cuban, playing domino like their lives depended on it, talking about “Fidel” is of course a must. They are very friendly and chatty. If you get hungry there is a authentic cuban place called: El Pub.
  • The Tower Theater also in Little Habana: Offers a wide variety of independent films. www.towertheatermiami.com

 

 

Places to Eat:

 

  • Patagonias:  Casual place. Easy argentinian menú. Everything is great quality and fastly served.
  • Eating House: Capitan Crunch Pancakes, Heirloom Tomatoes Salad, Chicken and Waffles…. You get the idea. This place is a must when visiting Miami.www.eatinghousemiami.com
  • Bread + Butter: Self defined as Cuban Gastro Pub. Meat lovers will rejoice here with the chorizo burger with kimchi and a side of  Sriracha fries.  www.breadandbuttercounter.com

 

 

Downtown/Brickell

 

Where to Shop:

Village of Mary Brickell: Open air shopping center.

Things to Do:

  • American Airlines Arena: Go watch a Miami Heat’s Basketball game, and enjoy the food offer around the stadium, my personal favorites are the Gyros.  For other events check their page. www.AAarena.com
  • PAMM: Go for the art inside the museum and the architecture of the building. Read a book at one of the hammocks outside the terrace, while you enjoy the swinging gardens and the views. www.miamiartmuseum.org
  • Bayfront Park: All sorts of activities going on here always, from free yoga lessons to circus acrobatics at the trapeze school.
  • Adriane Arsht Center: Broadway Musicals, Ballet, Concerts, there is always something going on here.www.arshtcenter.com

 

Places to Eat:

  • Trulucks: Delicious seafood. Best carrot cake I have ever tasted, still have dreams about it.
  • CVI. CHE 105: Peruvian cuisine.  www.ceviche105.com
  • Azul: New American cuisine restaurant inside The Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Great seafood dishes and Raw bar.
  • Cipriani: The famous Venetian restaurant is also in Miami and doesn’t need an introduction. Just the fact that Giuseppe Cipriani in 1948 invented the Bellini’s is more than enough.  www.cipriani.com

 

Design District/Wynwood

Where to shop:

  • Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Cartier, Hublot, all the big names are here, so could be a good workout for your wallet.
  • Wynwood Letters: For all of us who enjoy paper in all its shapes and forms, this place is heaven. They offer calligraphy courses too. www.wynwoodletterpress.com
  • Jonathan Adler: www.jalanmiami.com

Things to Do:

Places to Eat:

  • Gigi’s: Asian inspired food. Cool place to eat. Industrial decor. Opens late, so is frequently visited by a crowd of party goers afterwards. www.giginow.com
  • Michael’s Genuine: One of my favorite restaurants in Miami, by Chef Michael Schwartz. www.michaelsgenuine.com
  • Zak The Baker: His baking goods has everybody raving about it. Healthy menu with fresh ingredients. www.zakthebaker.com
  • Mandolin Aegean Bistro: Just thinking about this place makes me hungry. Farm to Table concept, the decor transports you automatically to a Greek Island. www.mandolinmiami.com
  • SugarCane Raw Bar Grill:  The decor suggests that you have traveled back in time to a Caribbean Island and Ernest Hemingway is about to show up.  The food is presented in small dishes and meant to be shared. www.sugarcanerawbargrill.com
  • Wynwood Kitchen and Bar: www.wynwoodkitchenandbar.com
  • Try the best Pies in Miami at Fireman Derek’s (2818 N.Miami Ave. Miami Fl )

 

 

Kendall and South Miami:

 

Where to Shop:

  • Capretto: Great place to find “it” things. Lots of designers shoes and bags.www.caprettoshoes.com
  • Dadeland Mall: Big mall with Saks, Nordstrom and Macy’s as anchors. If you are a fan of big portions there is a Cheese Cake Factory here. The Nordstrom Bistro is also a great option for lunch.

Things to do:

  • Drive in Cinema: Blue Starlite, is the only open cinema in Miami. www.miamiurbandrivein.com
  • Knaus Berry Farm: Pick your own strawberrys, enjoy a fresh fruit smoothy, spend half a day here, the trip is totally worth it.www.knausberryform.com

Where to Eat:

  • Shibui Japanese
  • PF Chang  www.pfchangs.com
  • Bobby’s Burger Place: inside Dadeland Mall.

Other Suggestions:

Best Hotels:

Best Spa:

Best Hair Salon:

Best Yoga:

Best Family Fun Place:

  • Sky Zone Miami

 

The Authentic Miami.

I don’t think Ms. Tuttle imagined what Miami would turn up to be, neither Mr Henri Flager, when after a lot of insistence accepted to build the train rails from St Augustine down until where Downtown Miami is today.

Those who love her will be forever grateful to both of them, particularly her: Julia Tuttle, known by some as “The Mother of Miami”, because in 1891, after she bought 640 acres by the Miami River, she set her mind to found there a city. She convinced Henri Flagler and together  built the Royal Palm Hotel, the first one in the city that would be latter named “Miami” because of the aborigines “MAYAIMI” that inhabited the area.

They probably didn’t guess either that in  1959, because of the Cuban Revolution the first 280000 exiled cubans would arrive an become a key factor in the growth of the city. Neither that in 1980 the Liberty City riots would take place there too, as well as the violent and sad era known as the “Cocaine War”.

Blissfully the violent Miami that some television shows portrayed, is gone. The new century –thank to great local government, tourism and the energy of the constant migrants that arrive filled with hope of a new better life – has brought with it, a new radiant Miami, and this radiance allures Russian, British, Chinese, Canadians, and of course lots of Latin-Americans that keep dreaming about her.

For her is easy to please everyone visiting, offers a wide variety of things to enjoy: shopping, restaurants, nightlife, sports, art galleries, museums and amazing beaches. Miami also hosts wonderful events like Art Basel, Sony Ericsson Tennis Tournament, Ultra Music Festival, Antique Fair Show and a very interesting Book Fair.

 

It’s personality is a result of the Melting Pot it has become. Around the streets you can hear Cubans, Argentinians and Ecuadorians, You can eat arepas just like in Caracas; empanadas like in Buenos Aires and for dessert the perfect “suspiro limeño” like in Lima. The variety of nationalities is also accentuated by the very different cultural background of its habitants: Political exiled, journalists, bankers, singers, writers, models and retired. Miami’s air feels full of stories and history, on the streets you perceive hope, and also melancholia and longing.

 

Miami is what it is,  because of all the ones that came and keep coming willing and hoping for a life in democracy, freedom, tolerance and opportunities, something that the city seems still offers after all this time.

The authentic Great Miami experience is only found visiting every neighborhood: From Aventura to Kendall, South Beach to Wynwood and always stopping in Coral Gables and Little Habana. In my next post you will find a list of interesting activities on each neighborhood.

 

 

 

 

New Restaurants in Miami for 2016

  1. Bachour Bakery & Bistro

By Chef Antonio Bachour whose creations are gorgeous compositions of color and form, and best of all, they’re delicious. The pastry genius, along with Henry Hane, is opening a 40-seat bistro and bakery at 600 Brickell Ave., featuring breakfast and lunch offerings. Of course, the chef’s impeccable pastries will be showcased. Once the eatery opens, Miami could very well experience its own Dominique Ansel-like lines and frenzy for Bachour’s edible works.

  1. Alinea Pop-Up

The bad news is this amazing restaurant is not opening permanently in Miami, but this three-Michelin-starred restaurant by Grant Achatz and Nic Kokonas is popping up at the Faena Hotel Miami Beach. Alinea’s unique dining experience will be available from February 17 and continuing through March 13. The dinners are already sold out, but Alinea is accepting names for a wait list. Visit alineamiami.tocktix.com. for reservations.

3. Trust & Co.

By Chef Jerry Flynn this will be a chef-driven restaurant in Coral Gables that will offer craft cocktails. Located in the former Azucar Cuban Cuisine space (2 Aragon Ave.), will feature a menu of local produce, seafood, and proteins in an industrial-chic setting. The cuisine is described as “diverse American” with Latin, French, and Italian influences. Trust & Co. is expected to open shortly.

 

 

  1. Sullivan St. Bakery

James Beard Award nominee Jim Lahey is planning a commercial and retail bakery at 5550-5570 NE Fourth Ave. in Little Haiti. The 4,000-square-foot location will first house a wholesale business and eventually expand to retail. Lahey’s New York City operation supplies bread to about 250 restaurants. The baking chef has had his sights set on Miami for more than two decades, and now that he’s found a space, he’s not in any rush. “It’ll take us about six months to get into the groove with people. It’s a different labor market in terms of where people come from.” Don’t expect to enjoy Lahey’s famed bread in Miami in the immediate future. Pressed for a completion date of his new bakery, Lahey simply said, “It’s still TBD.”

 

  1. Quinto La Huella

This one has me anxiously waiting. Uruguay’s Parador La Huella is the most lauded restaurant in that country. Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants calls it a “breezy seaside grill, whose high-end beach shack appearance speaks of lazy lounging and barefoot walks along the sand.” Now the owners — Gustavo Barbero, Martin Pittaluga, and Guzman Artagaveytia — are bringing their high-end beach shack to the East Miami Hotel at Brickell City Centre. The restaurant, along with a rooftop bar, Sugar, was originally scheduled for a winter 2015 opening, but the hotel’s website takes reservations beginning May 1.

 

  1. Ariete

Will come to in mid January to Coconut Grove and join the great dining establishments of the neighborhood.. What makes this one special is the chef behind it. Michael Beltran, the former sous-chef at the Cypress Room, has worked alongside Miami’s culinary elite of Michael Schwartz and Hedy Goldsmith. The chef will serve family-oriented food, mostly prepared in the restaurant’s wood grill..

  1. Komodo

Opened its doors December 2015 at 801 Brickell Avenue. Behind the concept is the man responsible for mega-nightclubs LIV and Story,  David Grutman, along with Jeffrey Chodorow , who’s best known locally with his work with China Grill management. The menu is self-described as “Asian cuisine designed to take guests on a culinary journey of the Marco Polo trail.” The highlights are peking duck, dim sum, and the tuna dishes.  The restaurant is now open nightly for happy hour and dinner. For more information call 305-534-2211.