Every year right around this time, hordes of art-hungry sophisticates swarm the good city of Miami, scouring the fairs in search the artwork of their dreams (unless they’re there for work, or for networking, or just to see and be seen). All that art hunting is enough to give anyone an appetite and the need for a stiff drink; to help, we’ve excerpted these five mouthwatering establishments from Phaidon’sWallpaper* City Guide: Miami. When fair feet slow you down, take a break and relax at one of these fine-dining hotspots.
DB BISTRO MODERNE
255 Biscayne Boulevard Way, T 305 421 8800, http://www.dbbistro.com/miami/
The term "bistro" is a little disingenuous for a restaurant in a luxury hotel such as the JW Marriott Marquis. But star chef Daniel Boulud can call his restaurants anything he wants. And while he and executive chef Jason Pringle offer bistro-style dishes such as coq au vin, they also have lots of tricks under their toques—pumpkin agnolotti comes with chestnuts, Burssel sprouts, and sage; and suckling pig with artichoke and spicy leek marmalade. Interiors are by Yabu Pushelberg; we suggest you book a table in the central dining room for its distressed leather banquettes and soaring ceilings. If prices seem staggering, try the $35 burger and fries, or visit during happy hour, when a selection of three small plates is $21. Service remains impeccable.
27 RESTAURANT & BAR
2727 Indian Creek Drive, T 305 531 2727, www.thefreehand.com
Set in a 1930s house designed by Miami legend Russell Pancoast, 27 takes farm-to-table to extremes (it stops just short of telling you the chicken’s name) and flavors are intense. Dinner only. It is part of the über-hip Freehand hotel, as is the cozy Broken Shaker bar, which serves craft cocktails around the pool in the garden outside.
1424 20th Street, T 305 531 9282, http://www.pubbellyboys.com/
In hip Sunset Harbour, the first Pubbelly (T 305 532 7555) opened in 2010 as a gastropub serving pig every which way, from crackling to pork belly ramen. The team launched a sushi spin-off just a year later, utilising ingredients—pork, of course, beef, butter, cheese—that would give traditionalists a coronary. Softshell crab BLT does indeed come with bacon, lettuce, and tomato, and blue crab tartar sauce. Somehow it works, but if you're not convinced, order the puffy rock shrimp tempura roll, served with avocado and tuna tartare, or the black cod from the robata grill, and a sake carafe. Decor is industrial yet welcoming, thanks to the weathered brickwork and Erni Vales' anime mural. Open until midnight (1am on weekends).
1701 Collins Avenue (enter on 17th Street), T 305 455 2990, www.hydebeach.com
This is an outpost of Hyde on Sunset Strip inserted in the SLS Hotel, with interiors by Philippe Starck. The 2012 wood-paneled extension to L Murray Dixon’s 1939 building cantilevers over the pool on pillars, and there’s plenty more wood inside and a long bar, but the fun is most intense out on the deck and around Starck’s huge duck (he did the same at Icon Brickell). We prefer the Sunday afternoon vibe; on Thursdays and weekends, it turns into a fully fledged nightclub with DJs until 2 a.m. Note that even during the day, women wear heels with bikinis (and at night, dance with arms above heads as champagne sprays). Over the road, the Rec Room is the antithesis—an unpretentious 1970s party in a subterranean lounge.
1700 James Avenue, T 305 673 1010, www.casatualifestyle.com
Should you intend to impress a local, Casa Tua is the place to reserve—especially if you snag an outside table. The restaurant is nicely hidden from the road by a hedge surrounding a pretty garden, which wraps around two sides of the Mediterranean-style villa. The atmosphere is low-key but the waiters are attentive, which is quite a welcome change from the usual SoBe attitude. The food is northern Italian, with a few twists, and the results are delicious.