Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Where to eat in Miami

miami-swim.jpg
mimai1.jpg
bainca.jpg
miami.jpg

Lauren Smith, stylist.co.uk’s editorial assistant spent four days devouring seafood, sipping potent cocktails and eavesdropping on celebrity conversations at the Delano Hotel in South Beach, Miami.

The last time I went to Miami, I got lost on the beach. Not accidentally and romantically swept up in the blue skies and beautiful scenery… Literally lost. I was seven years old and, after deciding to go exploring by myself, caused a panicked threehour, beach-wide search and a near heart attack for my parents. I was found safe and sound, and talking the ear off a bored lifeguard, but it permanently put the Smith family off a return visit.

Several years on from my Baywatch moment, I was keen to reacquaint myself with that same wide stretch of sand. But I didn’t just want to lie on it for a week – in the intervening two decades, I’ve developed a culinary obsession. So, as Miami now has one of the most vibrant restaurant scenes in the USA plus the annual Miami Food and Wine Festival (which runs from 18-21 April 2012), it was the perfect getaway choice.

Hotel Cuisine

South Beach’s iconic Art Deco District, dotted with pastel-coloured buildings, is one of the city’s biggest tourist draws and the Delano Hotel is right at its centre. Something of a Miami institution – Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously stayed at the hotel with his mistress in its historic heyday (hence the name) – it was to be my base for a culinary tour of the city. Philippe Starck restored the faded hotel to glory in the Nineties, completely transforming the space into a high-concept space, packed with Salvador Dalí artworks and surrealist furniture. This year, it has been revamped further with the opening of two new restaurants and the transformation of the in-hotel nightclub into a ‘moody speakeasy’.

A more laid-back alternative to many of the noisy nightclubs that can be found along South Beach, the subterranean FDR Lounge still has a notoriously tough door policy (handily, hotel guests can queue-jump), but it’s worth braving the clipboard even if you’re not staying there, as the intimate setting, dark padded walls and wickedly strong signature cocktails (I loved the Lucy – a potent mix of chambord, prosecco and St Germain – named after FDR’s mistress, Lucy Page Mercer Rutherford) are seriously good.

ABOVE: Bianca at The Delano

My favourite additions to the hotel, however are the restaurants – Bianca, a sophisticated alfresco Italian overlooking the beach, and Umi Sushi and Sake bar. At Bianca, we devoured the fresh seafood platter, grilled octopus and truffle pasta. And we couldn’t resist the succulent rib-eye steak too. At Umi, I discovered cold sake which was delicious, and refused to share my plate of Delano rolls (filled with lobster, Wagyu beef and black truffle) with anyone.

The hotel’s restored bedrooms, in a palette of white and silver, are not for the faint-hearted but feel fresh and cool after a day in the Miami heat. They also come with a green apple on a daily basis with a plaque to remind you that “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”.

Variety Fare

Like LA, there’s a restaurant or cafe to cater for every taste in Miami. It’s an insane mix of health-conscious, belt-loosening and innovative, where organic cafes serving protein shakes and egg white omelettes sit next to fusion Latin American restaurants and greasy diners with wipe-clean tablecloths serving cheeseburgers as big as your head. I’m in the midst of marathon training, so the organic healthy option was ideal for me.

Fuelling up for a run, I downed a morning smoothie from Java and Juice, and found myself overwhelmed by the selection of ready-made salads at the gargantuan Whole Foods Market on Alton Road. A few miles down the street, the slightly more low-key Apple A Day Natural Food Market is where health nuts head for steaming bowls of vegan soup and wheatgrass shots.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t indulge though. While dining at Asia de Cuba at South Beach’s Mondrian hotel, where the huge platters and big round tables encourage sharing, I watched the sunset over Biscayne Bay while sipping on a super-strong caipirinha (strong cocktails are a running theme in Miami) and tucking into a delicious calamari salad, miso-cured cod and plantain fried rice with fresh avocado.

ABOVE: The view from the Mondrian bar

The ideal mix

After-dinner drink spots abound on South Beach but don’t expect them to get going until after midnight. We headed to the Moroccan-themed Skybar at Shore Club (above). Nestled on huge floor cushions and surrounded by lanterns, we spied Adrian Grenier from Entourage, and heard how Axl Rose had hosted a two-day party in the penthouse the night before.

Feeling foggy the next day, I hired a DecoBike (Miami’s bike rental service) for a leisurely ride along the beach boardwalk, which cost only $5 (£3) for an hour. After an amble along Ocean Drive and a walk around the boutiques of Collins Avenue, I was ready to lounge by the hotel pool – and relish my next meal. With beautiful beaches, amazing cuisine and friendly locals, I’m one member of the Smith family who has not been put off a return visit.

Rooms from £277 per room per night excluding taxes; delanohotel. com. Virgin Atlantic flies direct to Miami from £445 return; virginatlantic.com

5 Places to Eat in Miami

1. FRONT PORCH CAFE

The granola pancakes with banana and chocolate at this friendly restaurant are so hearty, they come with a menu health warning.

2. JOE’S STONE CRAB

Now in its 99th year, Joe’s is a must-visit from October to May for fresh crab meat. The Lobster Mac ’n‘ Cheese is ridiculously indulgent.

3. THE CAFE AT BOOKS AND BOOKS

This local book shop is also a great lunch spot, popular for vegan dishes like black bean houmous sandwiches and Yucca fries.

4. TERRAZZA, SHORE CLUB

The A-listers come here for Nobu but the Shore Club’s lunch spot gets our vote for its dessert of cannoli chips – a Mexican take on the Sicilian treat – with cannoli tubes re-imagined as nachos and the filling served in a dipping bowl. Heaven.

5. NEWS CAFE

Since 1988, News Cafe has been the go-to place on South Beach. The 24-Hour newsstand/restaurant is more about its prime people-watching location than the food – but the huevos rancheros (eggs, tortilla and salsa) are exquisite.

Related

CapeTown-splash.jpg

Top 5 foodie spots for 2012

exhibitions.jpg

8 Exhibitions Worth Going On Holiday For

Cambodia_Song-Saa-splash.jpg

Top 5 beaches for 2012

Comments

More

Last-minute mother-daughter getaways to book for Mother’s Day

From spa retreats to gin tasting

24 Mar 2017

The insider tips to help you bag a cheaper holiday

Sneaky flexi-flight tricks and Sunday arrivals

by Amy Swales
23 Mar 2017

It's official: This is the world's best holiday destination

And you might be surprised by which destination came in second.

by Hayley Spencer
23 Mar 2017

The top six #springtime photos taking over your Instagram feed

Believe it or not, spring has sprung...

22 Mar 2017

Uncover art and hidden history in the Bavarian city of Munich

Stylist discovers there's more to Munich than beer and sausages

by The Stylist web team
21 Mar 2017

Travel expert reveals cheapest and most expensive days to fly

Read this before you book your big summer holiday…

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Mar 2017

It's official: these are the world's 10 best cities to live in

And most of them are in Europe

by Sarah Biddlecombe
14 Mar 2017

Here’s what the new “UK Disneyland” will look like

Dazzling sketches of the upcoming resort have just been released.

by Moya Crockett
13 Mar 2017

Take time out to refresh your body and palate in Iceland

Stylist's editorial assistant tastes home-grown goodness in Reykjavik

by  Moya Lothian-McLean
06 Mar 2017

You and your BFF could Instagram your way around Europe for free

This actually sounds like the best job in the world

by Kayleigh Dray
28 Feb 2017