This place has always fascinated me. The crossroads of crazy party people and jetset from all around the world, busy all year round, always glamorous but never friendly. And still, this is the place where a lot of magic happens: South Beach.
I like to come here every other year or so, mainly to catch some sun before going back into the cold north. Miami is great in wintertime, and so is South Beach. And while winter is not really the time to swim in the sea, there’s still plenty time to sunbathe, party hard and eat a lot. Today, let’s talk about the latter: Eating!
What quite surprises me is that you would expect an abundance of gastronomic choices in this busy tourist place. But quite the contrary is the case: Sometimes it takes a while to find some really good places. But lucky enough, there’s a few of them. I’ve tested a few this winter season and can’t wait to share them with you.
Probably the best place in terms of overall happiness was Cecconi’s Restaurant at the Soho Beach House. A tiny spot in a tiny hotel, this proved to be a real gem. The patio restaurant and bar is neatly designed, and features wooden decor and moroccan tiles. And, well, any place with moroccan tiles makes me happy. This one, to our delight, also had a modestly priced and really beautiful lunch buffet, and a well-balanced a la carte menu. Love it!
Another place for great lunch is Lola Restaurant & Grill. Situated within an apartment complex and not visible from the street, this very personal, family-style place serves outstanding Italian fare and great steaks. The owner is from Argentina, and he takes turns with his 10-year-old son to wait the tables. Nice!
For dinner, we’ve taken reservations a few days earlier for a night out at Juvia, which is within the Lincoln Road Mall. A very fine rooftop venue, we had good food and cocktails, a great view and a fun crowd around. This place is upscale but very popular among the young and wealthy. Good DJ outdoors and just the right breeze! I loved the Foie Gras and the grilled octopus.
And then there’s another few places we didn’t manage to go due to lack of time, but which are on my list for the next time. The Bazaar by José Andrés, located in the SLS South Beach, is a must for anyone who loves gastronomic dining. The catalan chef operates a few of these very fine restaurants in hand-picked locations such as Vegas, South Beach and Dubai. Shall I say more?
Another one is Baoli. The restaurant turns into a club Fridays and Saturdays, but with tables and very fine food. Order way ahead, and prepare yourself for a spectacular night out. Located directly on Ocean Drive, this is right in the middle of all the action. A couple other clubs and lounges are located just across the road.