The city has a tasty new vice: restaurants with famous chefs, fresh ingredients and generous servings of foodie cred. The best scenes of Miami Bites are here...
Soho Beach House, 4385 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach.
The who’s who of Miami are members of this newest outpost of the Soho House clubs, but anyone who can get a reservation is welcome to dine at Cecconi’s. The open-air courtyard space lets diners check out VIPs as they swan by the pool or cozy up to the restaurant’s comfy-glam bar. Italian food is nothing new in Miami Beach but the Cecconi’s version – Venetian, simply prepared – is a welcome addition. “Plin” agnolotti with sage and Parmigiano is both basic and decadent, while snapper carpaccio, roasted scallops and spaghetti with Maine lobster remind you of the ocean just over the hedge.
Wynwood Kitchen & Bar
2550 N.W. 2nd Avenue, Miami (Wynwood/Midtown).
This buzzy newcomer in Miami’s Design District is a work of art – literally. The club-like dining room is overseen by a huge mural by superstar Shepard Fairey, and works by other artists grace the walls and garden. The owners keep their artsy clientele happy with modern editions of comfort food classics – grilled cheese sandwiches, fish and chips, plus an array of burgers. And, for those popping-in between gallery stops, there are beef skewers for dipping, small plates for snacking, wines by the glass and craft beers on tap.
The Raleigh Hotel, 1775 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach.
This deco jewel of South Beach had been lacking some heat ever since André Balazs sold it in 2009. But thanks to this new restaurant from bold-name chef John DeLucie (of Manhattan’s The Lion and The Waverly Inn), the hotel is hot stuff again. While DeLucie’s menu for Miami echoes his New American-style gastropub grub from New York, The Royal relies more so on fish – local snapper and grouper are popular; so too the stone crabs, when in season. You can sit indoors but that would be a shame – the Raleigh’s famous art deco pool has one of the best tableside views in town.
3470 N. Miami Avenue, Miami (Wynwood/Midtown).
Noodles and Asian fare are the craze du jour in Miami dining, but there’s no need to waste money at overpriced Chinese restaurants in big-name hotels. Nestled in the up-and-coming Wynwood hood, Gigi hits on a winning formula of pork buns, noodle-bowls-meets-BBQ-ribs, beer and sake – all at addictively low prices. Even better, the industrial-cafeteria-style space is open late (until 3am Monday-Thursday; 5am Friday & Saturday), making it the city’s most delicious option for nightcaps and snacks.
db Bistro Moderne
JW Marriott Marquis Miami, 255 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Miami.
Many of Miami’s movers and shakers now live in the once-deserted Downtown, partly thanks to swish new condo towers and sparkly new hotels such as the JW Marriott Marquis, which opened in October. Top-shelf restaurants with star chefs like Daniel Boulud don’t hurt, either. db Bistro Moderne Miami, with its classy Yabu Pushelberg interiors and French maestro pulling the strings, has fast become the city’s go-to resto for power dining – whether that means ordering the Original db Burger or French classics like Duck Confit and Boeuf Bourguignon. Leave time for a cocktail at the meandering mirrored bar.
Blue Door Fish
1685 Collins Ave, Miami Beach.
You can’t get much more iconic than the Delano Hotel in this neck-of-the-woods. The hotel still rules for classic cool and its restaurant has just emerged from a fresh-as-the-freshest-fish-in-the-sea makeover. Blue Door Fish (surprise), has gone seafood-centric, with sushi, scallops a la plancha, caramelised octopus with a black olive potato salad, and red snapper with Antiboise sauce, all part of the menu. The décor shines like the inside of a wine glass, and after dinner, you’re just steps away from one of the beach’s hottest boîtes, The Florida Room, designed by Lenny Kravitz.
4525 Collins Ave, Miami Beach.
At last, the beach goes farm! Farm to table, that is, thanks to chef Paula DaSilva’s dedication to finding Miami’s best seasonal produce. In January, small plates included roasted baby beets and pork belly tacos, and for mains, a whole fried yellowtail snapper and hickory rubbed pork loin chop from a Floridian farm were there for the taking. We say trust the chef and spring for the five-course tasting menu – paired with wine, naturally.