Hot Spots: MiamiLEFAIR
Writer: Kate Ferguson
The appeal of Miami is unparalleled. The city is rich in culture, pulsing with heart, and one of the more influential cities in the country. Miami Beach is synonymous with vacation style warm weather. It also happens to be in hurricane territory. The recent damage of Hurricane Irma could have been twice as catastrophic had the storm not veered course, but that is not to say that it did not cause a lot of issues. In the heat of September, a lack of climate control is not simply a discomfort but actually life-threatening, and was ultimately the reason some lives were lost. Older buildings suffered structurally, trees were uprooted, and flooding and debris threatened to overtake residential streets
One of the key considerations for Miamis recovery was getting the hospitality sector up and running as quickly as possible. Because tourism is the leading industry in Florida, Miami is simply not functioning at full throttle without its hotels and restaurants open for business.. The more businesses with open doors, the more help can be offered to locals. For instance, many hotels opened their doors at reduced rates for neighbors who were misplaced by the hurricane. The quicker the economy can turnaround, the quicker the city as a whole can recover.
The following restaurants are some of our favorites in Miami. They, like every one else, have been affected by the hurricanes but have remained committed to getting back to normal as quickly as possible.
Area 31 Terrace
The views from the terrace where Area31 is located cannot be beat – but neither can the restaurants commitment to good food! The name of the restaurant pays homage to Fishing Area 31, which is a zone that has been designated as a sustainable fishery by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Area31 supports sustainable cooking, like using herbs from their on-site herb garden. Talk about fresh.
The restaurant is located on the 16th floor of The Kimpton EPIC Hotel, located in downtown Miami. That means beautiful views of downtown, Biscayne Bay and Brickell Key. The open-air restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as seafood and such to the sunbathers on the hotel’s pool deck. The ceviche and yucca fries are must haves on the appetizer menu. Mushroom risotto, pork belly, and crab cakes are favorite main courses. And of course, the molten lava cake is an obvious dessert choice.
Area31 tends to fill up for happy hour…in a good way. The restaurant draws an elegant crowd in appreciation of quality cocktails with a view.
270 Biscayne Boulevard Way Miami, FL 33131
Baoli has a strong commitment to sophistication and secured its name in the haute cuisine world with its first location in the French Riviera. Baoli Miami offers a similar ambiance, merged with the feeling of a trendy bar scene.
The extensive menu is made up of Mediterranean and sushi fare. It would be impossible to try everything of interest in one visit, but luckily sharing small plates is encouraged within the social atmosphere. Executive Chef Gustavo Vertone uses fresh ingredients that are local to South Florida, while calling upon traditional recipes from countries like France, Italy, and Spain. Key menu items include golden lobster tempura, Saikyo miso sea bass, and the Thai wok fried wagyu beef.
Zuma was renowned in London, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Dubai, and Bangkok before opening in Miami, where it received a welcome reception at the Epic hotel in the downtown area. The restaurant serves up chef Rainer Becker’s unique style of Japanese cuisine. While authentic, the menu is not intended to be traditional. The design style of the restaurant on the other hand, was inspired by the traditional yet informal Japanese dining style of Izakaya.
The lobby level restaurant has views looking out over the Miami river, where boats can be seen coming and going out into the bay. The atmosphere is refined and mellow (even when the DJ is playing), which encourages multiple courses and sharing plates as the menu intends.
Guests can expect bold flavors and quality ingredients at Zuma in addition to impeccable presentation. The cold menu includes items like seared salmon, while the grill portion offers beef skewers and grilled scallops. Starters like spicy edamame and unique cocktails weave it all together.
270 Biscayne Boulevard Way Miami, FL 33131
Cecconis expertly mixes old school with hip elegance, which is reflected in all seven of their locations in hot spot cities all over the world. The restaurant is synonymous with style and the Miami location does the name plenty of justice. Cecconis is located in the courtyard of SoHo Beach House with a romantic dining ambiance created by way of trees decked out with soft white string lights.
The classic Italian spot serves up homemade pasta from brunch through dinner. Pizza, pasta, and salad round out a large part of the menu and the wine pairing options are endless. Popular entree items include the lamb chops, chicken paillard caponata, and halibut with broccolini and wild mushrooms.
Cecconis is a great restaurant for a lingering over a meal on any occasion, but their Sunday brunch is a great reason to extend a stay and soak in the ambiance. Executive chef Sergio Sigala delivers a memorable buffet that offers everything from cheese and charcuterie to a seafood station and every expected breakfast item in between. Plus, of course, mimosas.
Soho Beach House
4385 Collins Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33140
Los Fuegos is located within the Faena hotel of Miami Beach. Chef Francis Mallmann brings to the table (literally) the ancient art
of South American live-fire cooking, using his specialized grill that he designed and built in Texas. It runs on both charcoal and oak and provides a variety of cooking styles for the meats, vegetables, fish and pasta he prepares.
The fare at Los Fuegos may seem simple, in the sense we might be talking about a roast chicken and bread, as opposed to a deconstructed creation. However, the flavor profile is anything but. The use of local ingredients adds a freshness to the traditional Argentinian dishes. Grilled lemon, garlic, olives and paprika abound. We won’t even get started on the deliciousness of the sweetbread doused in chimichurri.
On the main menu you’ll find dishes such as King Salmon Confit and Beef Tenderloin Milanesa. A la carte items can be paired with baked potatoes and ravioli, although those side items could also stand alone.
It needs to be said that the deeply chic dining environment of Los Fuegos is just as savory as the dishes. The main dining room is rich in red and gold, balanced by the poolside patio. Come in the evening and you’ll likely find a live jazz band creating sounds to dine by.