MUSTs and MISS South Beach Miami Restaurants list | Miami, United States | Last week I spent 5 days in Miami Beach. I came to review and experience a few new luxury hotels (post to come soon), and at the same time do a revision of the restaurant scene. Of course this was not my first time to Miami, as a matter of fact I have spent half of my life coming here, and I have seen many transformations and faces of Miami and SOBE, over the years. I tried a few options either new to me or new to the Miami Beach Scene. Here are my MUST and MISS South Beach Miami Restaurants list, based own experiences.
OK lets begin with MUST TRY options and from there down. Top of the list ranks CASA TUA. Unparalleled cuisine, fine art, impeccable service, in South Beach. Escape the frenzy of SOBE at this Mediterranean inspired villa and garden. A place to enjoy our delicious Northern Italian cuisine, fine wine, and exquisite art. Whether it’s the cozy feeling in their library, the glow of the lantern-lit trees in their lush garden or the festive atmosphere of their 20-seat Chef Table in full view of all the kitchen action, Casa Tua offers unforgettable moments that set it apart from any other restaurant.
Second is JUVIA Miami Beach. Super cool outdoor / indoor rooftop off Lincoln Road. Eclectic food & drink & South Beach views in an ultramodern space atop a designer parking garage. A trinity of French, Japanese and Peruvian cooking styles, studied and meticulously crafted. Juvia’s cuisine is the convergence in collaboration of three of the most talented chefs, using only the freshest of ingredients.
Third PAO by Paul Qui at the recently inaugurated FAENA Hotel Miami. Pao boldly reflects celebrated chef Paul Qui’s renowned brand of modern Asian cuisine drawing from his background and range of international styles, including Filipino, Spanish, Japanese, and French. Signature items include crudo specialties, original rice dishes and fresh fish and meats seared table-side over Japanese binchotan charcoal. Pao is located at the Dome guarded by a $6.5 million gold-leaf unicorn sculpture by Damien Hirst. The Dome space is a highly modern sphere with ocean views overlooking the courtyard of the hotel. It is the hot spot of Miami Beach – or better should I say the FAENA District. My dinning experience was rather enjoyable, and dish after dish hit the mark, specially the Sea Urchin dish. Now the “big elephant in the room” or in this case should I say the “big – Damien Hirst – Mammoth in the room, was: I did not understand the Japanese with Filipino influence concept other than the Chef being born in Manila, Philippines. Anyways high marks and you should try it.
Since I was staying at the FAENA Miami, after dinner, I invited my guests for drinks at the lounge and later at my suite. Flithy Vodka Martinis overlooking the moon over the waters of South Beach from my private balcony, was priceless.
Fourth Cecconi’s Miami at SOHO House never disappoints, same as sister property Cecconi’s West Hollywood in Los Angeles. Now I must say that I enjoy their ambiance more for dinner than lunch. Located in the courtyard of Soho Beach House, Cecconi’s is a modern day classic Italian restaurant open for brunch, lunch, cicchetti, and dinner, seven days a week. Cecconi’s originated in Venice and serves hand-made pasta, seafood, and dishes from Northern Italy using the finest, freshest ingredients. In addition to the flagship restaurant in Mayfair, London, Cecconi’s has outposts in West Hollywood and another opening in Istanbul. HINT: The octopus, lemon capers, celery & olives is a must try.
Without a doubt, when traveling and staying in hotels, once of my favorite meals is breakfasts. I take my time to enjoy it, and I choose carefully where to have it. The ones that stood up during my resent Miami experience where: J&G Grill at the St Regis Bal Harbour. I mean, talking about an inspiring way to start your day, with this gorgeous room and breathtaking ocean views. You have the options of both the Buffet Breakfast or a-la-carte inspired by international star Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
At FAENA Hotel Miami, I tried both indoor and outdoor breakfast and both were equally delightful. Outdoor over the pool, and indoors at the lovely Veranda Restaurant.
Now as for those venues and experiences that were just fine but did not quite impressed me, were: First MATADOR Terrace at EDITION Hotel Miami. With ocean and poolside views, Matador Terrace is set beneath a custom pergola covered with climbing bougainvillea and lush tropical greenery. An extension of Matador Room, menus feature Jean-George’s interpretation of Latin and Caribbean fare prepared with fresh, seasonal and local ingredients. It is a lovely terrace to enjoy lunch, but the menu I found it to be very limited and overpriced.
The Terrace of Bazaar by Jose Andres South Beach at the SLS Miami Beach. Food was good but the service was not the highlight. Was slow and they forgot to order half of our dishes. It is a lovely terrace as well, but if you are like me and you enjoy peace and quiet, only visit Monday through Thursday. TRUST me. !!!
Now as for the huge disappointment of my Miami gourmet experience, the TO BE MISSED award goes to Drunken Dragon Restaurant. Keep in mind that I am a big fan of Korean food, so my expectation where very high. I did love the concept of a shabby facade with a neon sign saying MARKET, next to a Subway, concealing a fine dinning restaurant inside. Something like La Esquina Restaurant in New York. Now as for the menu, hmmmm was quite a disappointment ” Americanized Korean “. Can someone explain me that? I mean a Korean restaurant without Bibimbap or BBQ Table is technically, NOT a Korean restaurant. ANYWAYS, what do I know right? The menu was literally a disappointment. Imagine that my dinner ended up being Hamachi and French Fries. Does that proves my point? #NOTKOREAN.
Well this was my week scouting, exploring and experiencing new restaurant options in Miami Beach. A few are still on my pending list, unfortunately I did not have enough time, but some of those I have saved for my next visit are: NaiYara -Thai street food, sushi, Asian specialties & cocktails served in a cool space with a Bangkok feel. The Continental – where Stephen Starr offers eclectic fare in vintage-feel digs at this spin-off of the Philly original. Seaspice Restaurant – Chic spot with an outdoor patio, globally influenced seafood an adjacent hot-stone & crudo lounge. And Pied a Terre – Hidden away in the historic Cadet Hotel, this refined restaurant serves seasonal Mediterranean fare. So more reasons to return.PS: Oh and before I forget, I don’t have photos, I think I was too busy eating and enjoying the food and this super casual Italian Bistro, called Sylvano. If you want a nice meal, at a fair price and in a causal restaurants, you should try it. Carlos Melia Luxury Travel Curator – www.carlosmelia.com
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