Miami Beach… places to go, dining, shopping and unique experiences

Restaurants…

Breakfast/Brunch

Sun brunch at Setai Hotel is spectacular, with the most beautiful food and limitless Tattinger champagne for $75 (plus service/tax).. stunning setting.

A La Folie, casual French crepe place – very charming and authentic (located on Espagnola Way), serene ambiance.

Betsy Hotel, Ocean and 14th St, amazing popovers!  Lovely setting.

Dinner

Lively and chic, Mr Chow’s restaurant in the W Hotel – also the big bar in the back of the main floor is usually filled with cool people.  Also, a new sister restaurant, Philippe, opened Dec 2011 beautiful space and very nice staff, good happy hour drinks .. (36 Ocean Drive)

Ciccone in Soho House (Collins/44th) – open to public in the otherwise private club.  Nice scene.. lovely setting, wide menu choices

“Hot” hotel and restaurant, lovely outside restaurant on the bay, uber-cool crowd (I’m a member there) – Standard Hotel.  Bright and happy place!  “Health-conscious” menu.. BEST spa!! and hamam… amazinggg.

Another restaurant option – which has DJ;s most nights is Sushi Samba on Lincoln Rd Mall – sushi, creative food, not only sushi, I love the sea bass.. fun vibe!

Fun place for drinks and ANY meal in the restaurant – Betsy Hotel.

Meat Market, 915 Lincoln Rd.. chic and beautiful decr, yummy food, and a bit of “New York” feel.. makes it one of the best on Lincoln Rd, and nice ambiance.

 New addition to Lincoln Rd (at Alton) Rosa Mexicana, of the New York group.  Nice spot, good food.. Mexican!

 Romantic and luxurious setting – worth the price! The Villa, Versace Mansion – 1116 Ocean Drive, http://www.thevillabybartong.com/

 Casa Tua – ditto comments of The Villa, 1700 James St, http://www.casatualifestyle.com/hotel/

 Miami Beach has tons of steak houses, which is not my specialty.. but Smith & Wollensky’s is fun, beautiful waterfront setting, with a lively bar scene and some tables outside on the rocks.. another great sunset spot.  They have many good fish and veggie options too!

 The Miami Beach institution… Joe’s Stone Crab – celebrating 100 years in 2013.  Great food, huge space.. hustle-bustle  feeling..  “Old school” charm and classy service.  They also have a great casual breakfast/lunch café adjacent, and take-out with most of the same items from the restaurant menu.  I live for the Lobster Reuben… worth every calorie.

 Drinks

 W Hotel, has a nice bar in the back of the hotel,  the new more casual “Dutch” and poolside tikki bar are all frequently fun and lively spots.  The nicest W Hotel I have seen, with beautiful art work and soaring ceilings in the lobby.. great space!

 Drink at Rooftop bar of Gansevoort Hotel – a MUST! Best ocean view in Miami

 Best sunset – Mondrian Hotel, fun casual “tikki bar” for a drink.  Also a good choice for dinner – great food!

 Dream Hotel, 1111 Collins, is a newly renovated hotel, with rooftop pool and bar.  An intimate ambiance, and lovely city views…  

 Standard Hotel!  (see comments above)

 Art, Culture and places of interest

Vizcaya Mansion – Lovely place to visit during the day – (estate, museum and cafe) near Key Biscayne – about 20 minutes from Miami Beach

ART/PERFORMING ART

The Bass Museum is centrally located, and a little jewel of the city..  (very small, only need about half an hour);

MUST see – New World Symphony – opened a year ago; Gehry design; NWS company created by the fabulous MTT – it is a stunning location and worth any visit, performance, etc…

Wolfsonion, Collins and 10th St… highly regarded museum, but not my personal favorite. 

SHOPPING – please avoid Ocean Drive.. it is overflowing with the “Vegas-type” tourists… and no good stores instead, STROLL Lincoln Rd Mall.. a mix of very expensive boutiques, and Pottery Barn-type franchises- very unique to Miami Beach and great people-watching!  BEST Nespresso coffee bar (really good small menu for lunch too) !!!!! Semifreddo is very popular with the international locals. ALSO, right around the corner is Espagnola Way.. cute, several blocks long.. “only in Miami” quaint to see the little shops. A bit further North is Bal Harbour, the “Madison Ave” of Miami Beach… lovely indoor/outdoor mall with all of the beautiful fashion and jewelry shops, and several good restaurant options as well!   Parking lot is easy and not overpriced.

Botanical Gardens – directly across from the Convention Center, is a bit of respite and peace from the Lincoln Rd, and tourist scene… ice place to relax for a little while… and learn about the local flora and fauna.

 Nightlife

Miami Beach is a very late night city.. so it will seem “dead” at times – sunsets are great happy hour times in the places I mentioned, and dinner is better later (like 9pm reservations).. the city becomes very entertaining!!!

I am not into the nightclub scene.. but there are many places that offer DJ music and dancing.. all night long.

Amnesia and Pearl are new, recently reopened hot spots – both South of Fifth.  Nice crowd!

Not on my list

Places that are “hot” but are not on my list…

Prime 112/Prime Italian/Vic and Angelo’s – good food/sketchy people

Barton G (who own Mansion) – too “over the top” presentation/pretentious service

Voila!  Hope that helps