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  what to eat & where to stay



NIGHTLIFE
B.E.D.
Nikki Beach
Rumi
Tantra

HOTELS
Wallet-Watching:
Abbey Hotel
The Wave
The Whitelaw
Pricey but Sane:
Loews Miami Beach Hotel
The National
Splurge-Worthy:
The Raleigh
Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove
Ritz-Carlton South Beach


RESTAURANTS
Cacao
Carmen the Restaurant
Casa Tua
Escopazzo
Metro Kitchen + Bar
Mosaico
Mundo
Nemo
Norman’s
Ola
One Ninety
Talula
Timo
Wish

LET THEM EAT STEAK
Prime 112
The Forge
Tuscan Steak

CHEFS recommend
Graziano’s
Matsuri
Ouzo
Rosinella’s
Zipang
       

Reserve your table online!

Related Links:
  • Norman Van Aken's Word on Food
  • Miami Rising Stars
  • Forum: Nobu Miami
  •  

    By Amy Tarr

    Miami’s “hot-or-not” index may fluctuate from one moment to the next with the Hollywood set, but from a chef’s or food lover’s perspective, there’s always plenty of action on the restaurant scene. Latin flavors continue to dominate in Miami and its environs with several outstanding options. For the extreme-sport food lover who may be in between visits to Ferrán Adrià’s El Bulli, Barcelona-born Jordi Vallès will take good care of you at Mosaico, where the culinary traditions and methods of Spanish cuisine are redefined using modern techniques. At Cacao, the foundation of Chef Edgar Leal’s cuisine is Venezuelan, but nouvelle style French and Spanish elements give it an other-worldly sophistication. At Carmen the Restaurant, chef Carmen Gonzalez cooks up her own interpretations of Latino flavor, with ingredients like yucca, mofongo and plantains showing up in an array of dishes that reflect her Puerto Rican heritage.

    While Latin eateries are hotter than ever in Miami, there is no lack of superb Italian options. South Beach’s superstar is Brescia-born chef Sergio Sigala of Casa Tua, whose approach to his native Italian cuisine is delicate without being precious. Sigala’s homemade taglioini with caviar has become legendary among the culinatti, and for good reason; it is simply divine. Slightly off the beaten path is Timo in nearby Sunny Isles. If delicate homemade pastas and wood-fired pizzas aren’t enough to lure you outside of Miami proper, Chef Tim Andriola’s melt-in-your mouth Red Wine Braised Short Ribs will. If you’re interested in a little of everything, Talula’s eclectic menu will keep you entertained. Chef Andrea Curto-Randazzo and husband Frank Randazzo find inspiration in their shared Italian heritage, as well as the flavors of the Caribbean, Asia, and the Americas.

    Keeping up with the high staff turnover in Miami is practically a full-time job. Many of the city’s executive chefs complain that they have to hire, fire, and then rehire staff each season, leading to instability and inconsistency in their kitchens. Luckily we can still depend on Norman Van Aken, constant as the North Star, to deliver that quintessential Miami flavor. His restaurants - featuring his distinctive New World Cuisine - are expanding throughout Southern Florida and now Los Angeles, but Coral Gables continues to serve as Van Aken’s home base. In addition to his eponymous restaurant there, sister restaurant Mundo embodies the concept of a global bistro. And, as his business grows, Van Aken relies on a stellar team of up-and-coming chefs to execute flawless and creative dishes nightly, including Jeffrey Brana, Chef de Cuisine of NORMAN’S, as well as Arthur Artiles and Max Santiago, respectively Chef de Cuisine and Executive Pastry Chef of Mundo.

    As New Yorkers, the StarChefs editorial team is accustomed to the frantic pace at which restaurants open. As soon as we cross off a restaurant on our list, three more open with a critical mass of buzz. Miami’s restaurant scene feels more manageable, though far from stagnant. We always look forward to frequent return trips, because there will be our old favorites plus a few new contenders for our affection. We eagerly await the launch of Kris Wessel’s new restaurant concept in Miami. Wessel was formerly the Executive Chef of Elia Restaurant in Bal Harbour; he is definitley a chef to watch. And after the disappointingly short-lived existence of La Broche - a noble attempt to bring Spain's Nueva Cocina to Miami - we are hopeful that Karu, with La Broche alum, Gerdy Rodriguez, at the helm, will be a success. The latest reports peg the opening for some time in 2006. In the meantime, we're happy to recommend the following Miami eateries.

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    RESTAURANTS
    SOUTH BEACH

    Casa Tua

    1700 James Ave
    Miami Beach, FL 33139
    phone: 305-673-1010


    Straightforward yet sophisticated Italian fare is featured on Chef Sergio Sigala’s ever-evolving menu at Casa Tua. Set in a 1925 Mediterranean-style beach house, this restaurant offers some of the best dining in South Beach, and certainly the finest Italian dining. We can’t get enough of the homemade Tagliolini with Osetra Caviar and Crème Fraiche. The dining room is airy and light; the outdoor garden terrace makes for a lovely evening of al fresco dining.

    • Recommended Dishes:
      Taylor Bay Scallops with Fresh Herbs and Ligurian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
      Tagliolini with Osetra Caviar and Crème Fraiche
      Sauteed Prosciutto Crudo
    • Hours:
      Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11:30 am -2:30 pm
      Dinner: Monday-Sunday, 6:30 – 11:00 pm

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    Escopazzo
    1311 Washington Ave.
    Miami Beach, FL 33139
    phone: 305-674-9450


    Escopazzo is a warm and charming Italian restaurant popular with SoBe natives and tourists alike. The restaurant is inviting and the menu reasonably priced, making this an appealing destination for families. Chef Pino Bodoni and wife/chef de cuisine Giancarla serve satisfying dishes based on authentic family recipes. The impressive wine selections are solely from Italy and include many hard-to-find bottles. Be sure to try their tiramisu, prepared daily by Pino’s mother.
    • Recommended Dishes:
      Asparagus Flan
      Pumpkin Ravioli
      Tiramisu
    • Hours:
      Dinner: Tuesday-Sunday, 6 pm-Midnight

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    Metro Kitchen + Bar
    In the Hotel Astor
    956 Washington Ave.
    Miami Beach
    phone: 305-672-7217


    Chefs Michael Rodriguez and Michael Neal serve French, Italian, and Asian influenced modern American plates at this posh spot in the Hotel Astor. The modern dining room is darkly lit, and often filled with a chic crowd. Relax in the peaceful garden, while listening to the soothing 12-foot sculptured waterfall.
    • Recommended Dishes:
      Spicy Octopus Carpaccio
      Pan Seared Foie Gras Crostini, Grilled Lychees and Aged Balsamico
      Pan Seared Sea Bass with Black Truffle Vinegar Gastrique
    • Hours:
      Breakfast: 7:00-11:30 am
      Lunch: For Hotel Guests Only
      Dinner: 7:00-11:00 pm; Tuesday & Saturday 7:00 pm - Midnight
      Sunday Brunch: 12:00 -3:00 pm

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    Talula
    210 23rd St.
    Miami Beach, FL 33139
    phone: 305-672-0778


    The eclectic ingredients and flavors of Southwestern, Mediterranean, and Asian cuisines unite in what Frank Randazzo and Andrea Curto-Randazzo refer to as Creative American Cuisine. The shared Italian-American upbringing of this husband and wife team also influences the comfort-food dishes served at their inviting, unpretentious, neighborhood restaurant. A casual current flows through the dining room, amplified by the TV at the bar, enabling sports fans to check the scores during lunch or dinner. On Sundays, the restaurant offers a selection of specially priced bottles of wine.
    • Recommended Dishes:
      Grilled Shrimp Tamale
      Cascabel Crusted Barbeque Quail
      Grilled Foie Gras on Blue Corn Cakes
    • Hours:
      Lunch: Tuesday–Friday, 12:00-2:30 pm
      Dinner: 6:30-10:30 pm; Friday & Saturday, 6:30-11:30 pm; Sunday, 6:00-10:00 pm

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    Nemo
    100 Collins Ave.
    Miami Beach, FL 33139
    phone: 305-532-4550


    Nemo celebrates its 10th year and the emergence of fine New American-style dining in South Beach. If you haven’t already been, then it’s time to catch Chef Mike Sabin and company in the interactive kitchen preparing sophisticated though uncomplicated dishes. Sabin collaborates with Hedy Goldsmith, one of the country’s finest pastry chefs -- make it a point to try one of her creations.
    • Recommended Dishes:
      Cucumber and Coconut Gazpacho
      Wok Charred Salmon
      Pan Seared Yellowtail Snapper
    • Hours:
      Lunch: Monday-Friday, 12:00-3:00 pm
      Dinner: Monday-Saturday, 7:00 pm-12:00 am; Sunday 6:00-11:00 pm
      Brunch: Sunday, 11:00 am-3:00 pm

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    One Ninety
    At the Albion Hotel
    1650 James Ave.
    Miami Beach, FL 33139
    phone: 305-913-1071


    One Ninety, formerly located in Miami’s Buena Vista East neighborhood, has moved to the Albion Hotel in South Beach. The new restaurant features an outdoor grill kitchen where the talented, up-and-coming chef Alan Hughes, a native of Argentina, serves simple dishes with a refined touch.
    • Recommended Dishes:
      Grilled Lobster, Fingerling Potatoes, Scallions and Avocado Salad;
      Skin-on Wild Salmon with Grilled Fennel-Orange and Pernod Cream
      Lamb Chops in Chermoula with Grilled Endive, Dates, Preserved Lemon and Pine Nuts
    • Hours:
      Dinner: Tuesday-Sunday, 6:00 pm- Midnight

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    Wish
    At The Hotel
    801 Collins Ave.
    Miami Beach, FL 33139
    phone: 305-674-9474


    Over the past six years, Wish has seen some of the country’s most talented chefs come and go. Gary Robins, now at The Biltmore Room in New York, was the opening chef, followed by Rising Star Andrea Curto-Randazzo, now chef/owner of Talula (see description above.) Next up was Michel Reidt, also a Rising Star, who relocated to Santa Barbara to open up his own restaurant. The torch has been passed to Michael Bloise, who has worked his way up through several notable Miami kitchens. Bloise upholds the reputation that Wish has earned as one of Miami’s top restaurants.
    • Recommended Dishes:
      Pan Seared Foie Gras with Black Pepper Marshmallow and Cascabel Roasted Banana
      Crispy Skinned Snapper with Grilled Shrimp and Chinese Sausage
      Grand Marnier Spike Carrot Cake
    • Hours:
      Lunch: Daily, 11:30 am - 3:00 pm
      Dinner: Tuesday-Thursday & Sunday: 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm; Friday & Saturday: 6:00 pm - Midnight

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    DOWNTOWN MIAMI

    Mosaico
    1000 S. Miami Ave.
    Miami, FL 33130
    phone: 305-371-3473


    Located in an old firehouse, Mosaico’s menu is fun and creative, definitely pushing the envelope. Barcelona-born Chef Jordi Vallès is a protégé of Spain’s culinary masterminds, including Pedro Subijana, Juan Mari Arzak, and Ferrán Adrià. Jordi experiments with the latest techniques emerging out of Spain, but he always keeps his focus on taste. Mosaico is for the adventurous spirit; the less daring should try Salero (downstairs from Mosaico) for classic Spanish dishes.

    • Recommended Dishes:
      Lobster Esqueixada with Tomato Consommé and Olive Powder
      Spanish "Tortilla" with Andalusian Salmorejo
    • Hours:
      Monday-Thursday, 12:00 pm-10:30 pm; Friday, 12:00 pm-11:00 pm
      Saturday, 7:00 pm-11:00 pm

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    Ola
    5061 Biscayne Blvd.
    Miami, FL 33137
    phone: 305-758-9195


    Chef Douglas Rodriguez’s restaurant is synonymous with fun – the place always seems packed, pulsating with beautiful bodies and loud music. Attentive and cordial service is never lacking. For dinner theatre entertainment, try the private dining room connected to the kitchen with an intimate view of the chefs at work. Rodriguez’s Latin dishes are peppered with bright spices and vibrant flavor combos, but overall his menu tends toward the light side - dare we even say low-carb-friendly? While there are myriad healthy options, including a whole section of the menu devoted to ceviche, OLA would not be the same without dessert. Rising Star Pastry Chef Joseluis Flores, a native of Mexico City, is the driving force behind superior sweets, including perfectly balanced flans and bombes.

    • Recommended Dishes:
      Lobster Ceviche
      Panela Samon
      Trio of Flan
    • Hours:
      Dinner: Nightly, 5:00 pm- Midnight

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    CORAL GABLES

    Cacao
    141 Giralda Ave.
    Coral Gables, FL 33134
    phone: 305-445-1001


    Cacao is clearly the restaurant of choice for Miami’s distinguished Latino community and those seeking creative Latin fare. The dining room, with its sleek elegance and appropriately dark wood trimming, is the ideal venue for people-watching. The food is just as worthy of your attention. Chef Edgar Leal and his wife/pastry chef Mariana Montero de Castro serve reinterpreted Venezuelan dishes that are visually striking and palate-pleasing.

    • Recommended Dishes:
      Arepa Chips, Diced Chicken with Avocado in House made Mayonnaise
      Yuca Stuffed Brazilian Shrimp BoBo
      Grand Saman Chocolate Mousse Dome
    • Hours:
      Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11:30 am-3:00 pm
      Dinner: Monday-Thursday, 6:00 pm-10:30 pm; Friday & Saturday, 6:00 pm-11:30 pm

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    Carmen the Restaurant
    700 Biltmore Way
    Coral Gables, FL 33134
    phone: 305-913-1944


    Don’t underestimate the talent of the diminutive Chef Carmen Gonzalez, whose eponymous restaurant serves post-New American fare, with a distinct Latino edge drawing from Gonzalez’s Puerto Rican heritage. This intimate and inviting restaurant makes for a delightful meal anytime, but Carmen’s sophisticated fine dining menu also makes it ideal for that special celebratory occasion.

    • Recommended Dishes:
      Adobo Rubbed Neiman Ranch Pork Tenderloin with a Fufu of Sweet Plantain and Gandules Stew
      Florida Lobster and Avocado Terrine with Key Lime Mayonnaise and Aranitas
      Key West Shrimp Pionono with Sofrito Sauce
    • Hours:
      Lunch: Tuesday–Friday, 12:00– 2:00 pm
      Dinner: Tuesday– Thursday, 6:00–10:00 pm; Friday & Saturday, 6:00–11:00 pm; Sunday, 6:00-9:00 pm

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    Mundo
    325 San Lorenzo Ave., #1325
    Coral Gables, FL 33146
    phone: 305-442-6787


    In 2003 Star Chef Norman Van Aken, a.k.a. the Father of New World Cuisine, opened Mundo, a global bistro. Guests are encouraged to share and taste a variety of small plates, ceviches, and wood-oven pizzas, in addition to more substantial entrees that draw on ingredients from around the world, with a heavy emphasis on Spain and the Caribbean. With its broad and ever-changing menu, this casual spot demands frequent return trips, especially once you clue in to the fact that Pastry Chef Max Santiago, recently named a Rising Star, is serving some of Miami’s finest desserts – never too sweet and always extraordinary to behold.

    • Recommended Dishes:
      Steak Tartare with Peppery Bruschetta and A Uno Mi Estilo
      Maple Cured, Spice Rubbed Pork Chops with Sweet Potato Mash and Apple Gastrique
      “Nox” Chocolate Goddess with Brandied Cherry Sorbet
    • Hours:
      Dinner: Monday-Saturday, 5:30-10:30 pm; Sunday, 1:00-9:00 pm

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    Norman’s
    21 Almeria Ave.
    Coral Gables, FL 33146
    phone: 305-446-6767


    Norman Van Aken may be expanding his culinary empire, but everything is grand at his flagship restaurant, thanks, in large part, to his Chef de Cuisine, and recently named Rising Star, Jeffrey Brana. On the first floor of the subdued, though unpretentious dining room, patrons catch a glimpse of Brana and his sous chef working in the open kitchen. Each dish reflects a delicate balance of contrasting flavors – spicy, sweet, tart, and earthy.

    • Recommended Dishes:
      Creamy Cracked Conch Chowder with Saffron, Toasted Coconut and Oranges
      “Side by Side” of Tuna and Beef Mignons with Glazed Root Vegetables and Potatoes Gratinee
      Pork “Havana” with “21st Century” Mole, Golden Haitian Grits, and Black Bean Salsa
    • Hours:
      Dinner: Monday-Thursday, 6:00-10:00 pm, Friday & Saturday, 6:00-10:30 pm

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    SUNNY ISLES

    Timo
    17624 Collins Ave
    Sunny Isles, FL 33160
    phone: 305-936-1008


    Slightly off the beaten path in Sunny Isles, Timo takes its name from Chef/owner Tim Andriola, whose sophisticated Italian food is definitely worth going out of your way for. The ambiance is very homey and warm, with an open, wood-burning oven that turns out lovely thin-crust pizzas. Andriola’s homemade pasta is “to die for,” but his meat and fish courses are just as expertly prepared.

    • Recommended Dishes:
      Marrow Risotto with Braised Short Ribs
      Mediterranean Branzino with Asparagus, Basil and Lemon Confit
      Rock Shrimp Lasagnette with Oven-dried Tomato & Homemade Ricotta
    • Hours:
      Lunch: Daily, 11:30 am-3:00 pm
      Dinner: Sunday-Thursday, 6:00-10:30 pm; Friday-Saturday, 6:00-11:00 pm

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    LET THEM EAT STEAK
    Even chefs and obsessive food lovers take a break once in a while from mind-blowing, envelope-pushing, fusion-frenzied food. Sometimes a thick and juicy, splendidly marbled steak is what you crave.

    Prime 112
    112 Ocean Dr
    The Browns Hotel, South Beach
    Miami Beach, FL 33139
    phone: 305-532-8112


    Red meat-chic meets SOBE cool at the hottest table in town. Miamians are ga-ga for Prime 112’s oversized portions and customized meals (guests can choose their steak, sauce and side) – not since the South Beach Diet have they been this excited. If you manage to secure a reservation, sit near the kitchen where you can catch a glimpse of Chef Mike Sabin (also of Nemo) putting the finishing touches on some of the non-steak specialties, such as a melt-in-your mouth tuna tartar and a surprisingly meaty Wild King Salmon. Carb lovers delight in eight different potato sides or other “accessories” such as crispy hash browns or a creamy corn soufflé with a hint of truffle. Seal the deal with decadent bananas foster or a simple plate of chocolate chip cookies and milk.

    • Recommended Dishes:
      Signature Salad
      Steak, Steak, Steak
      Sweet Potato Mash
      Creamed Spinach
    • Hours:
      Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11:30 am-3:00 pm
      Dinner: Daily 6:30 pm-midnight

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    The Forge
    432 21st St.
    Miami Beach, FL 33140
    phone: 305-538-8533


    This Miami landmark has been attracting entertainment celebrities and business tycoons for over 30 years. As your eye wanders across the dining room, you’ll take in the colorful tropical décor and bordello-like murals and oversized paintings of provocative ladies. The Forge’s menu is packed with classic steakhouse dishes, but all you really need to focus on is the Super Steak, a prime aged strip steak that has been lightly seasoned in an herb marinade and slow grilled over oak wood. The Forge’s wine cellar is extensive and impressive, a veritable museum for oenophiles.
    • Recommended Dishes:
      Parfait of Jumbo Lump Crabmeat
      The Super Steak
      Herb and Goat Cheese Crusted Rack of Lamb
    • Hours:
      Dinner: Wednesday, Friday & Saturday, 6:00 pm-12:00 am; Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Sunday, 6:00-11:00 pm

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    Tuscan Steak
    431 Washington Ave.
    Miami Beach, Fl 33139
    phone: 305-534-2233


    The emphasis is on superior service at this family-style restaurant that encourages lots of sharing. Chef Barbara Scott serves updated versions of classic northern Italian specialties, with the primary focus on – you guessed it – steak.
    • Recommended Dishes:
      Angus Beef Carpaccio with Celery Root Slaw, White Truffle Oil and Shaved Parmesan
      Florentine T-Bone steak with Roasted Garlic Puree
      Parmesan-crusted New York Sirloin in Black Peppercorn Sauce
    • Hours:
      Dinner: Sunday-Thursday: 6:00-11:00 pm; Friday & Saturday, 6:00 pm - Midnight

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    CHEFS RECOMMEND
    Where do Miami's talented chefs go when they have the night off or are craving a late-night bite after work?

    Graziano’s
    9227 Southwest 40th St.
    Miami, FL 33165
    phone: 305-225-0008


    Chef Jeffrey Brana of Norman’s prefers this Argentinean steakhouse that boasts an extensive selection of rare imported wines.

    • Hours:
      Lunch and Dinner: Monday - Thursday 11:30 am–10:30 pm; Friday & Saturday, 11:30 am–11:30 pm; Sunday: 11:30 am–10:00 pm

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    Matsuri
    5759 Bird Rd.
    Miami, FL 33155
    phone: 305-663-1615


    This small Japanese restaurant in West Miami is a well-kept secret among Miami's Japanese-Americans and in-the-know local food lovers. It’s also a favorite of Chef Jordi Vallès of Mosaico.
    • Hours:
      Lunch: Tuesday-Sunday, 11:30 am-2:30 pm
      Dinner: Tuesday-Sunday, 5:30-10:30 pm

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    Rosinella's
    1040 South Miami Ave.
    Miami, FL 33130
    phone: 305-372-5756


    Chefs Andrea and Frank Randazzo of Talula have a number of Miami favorites, but for old school, “dive-y Italian,” they choose Rosinella’s, formerly known as Piccolo Paradiso.
    • Hours:
      Lunch and Dinner: Monday-Thursday & Sunday, 11:30 am-11:00 pm; Friday & Saturday, 11:30 am-Midnight

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    Ouzo
    940 71st St.
    Miami Beach, FL 33141
    phone: 305-864-9848


    For a night out, Chef Edgar Leal and Mariana Montero De Castro of Cacao choose Ouzo, an authentic Greek restaurant that’s close to their house. “The food is great, and they have $18 Greek wines,” says Edgar.
    • Hours:
      Lunch and Dinner: Monday-Friday, 12:00 pm-11:00 pm; Saturday, 12:00 pm-Midnight; Sunday, 11:00 am-11:00 pm

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    Zipang
    14316 Biscayne Blvd
    North Miami, FL 33181
    phone: 305-919-8844


    Chef Marc Ehrler of Loews Miami Beach Hotel sings the praises of this tiny Japanese restaurant that’s an even better kept secret than Matsuri. “Chef/owner Toshiya deserves to have fifty times the guests and glory that he has,” says Ehrler. “He spends so much time finding the perfect product.”
    • Hours:
      Lunch and Dinner: Monday-Thursday, 12 pm- 10:30 pm; Friday & Saturday, 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm; Sunday, 5:00 pm- 10:00 pm

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    NIGHTLIFE

    B.E.D.
    929 Washington Ave.
    Miami Beach, FL 33139
    phone: 305-532-9070


    This hedonistic restaurant/lounge has adopted the ancient Roman style of dining in a reclining position. During two dinner seatings from 8 pm to midnight, patrons are served contemporary French-American cuisine in bed, on a rattan tray. Bottle service begins at 12:30 am, when the diners give way to dancing fools jumping on those very same beds. Rotating DJs spin everything from European house music to funk and soul.
    • Hours: Monday-Saturday, 8:00 pm-5:00 am

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    Nikki Beach
    1 Ocean Dr.
    Miami Beach, FL 33139
    phone: 305-538-1111


    Nikki Beach Miami is the original restaurant/club that has now expanded into a global brand that includes outposts in the chic resort communities of St. Barth, St. Tropez, Marbella and Puerto Vallarta, plus a bi-monthly magazine, CDs, clothing and other merchandise. The beachfront bar features private cabanas plus comfy bamboo beds stretching down the beach. With its entrancing global house music and mesmerizing starlit vista, it’s no wonder so many people consider Nikki Beach paradise.
    • Hours:
      Lunch:
      Monday-Saturday, 11:00 am-5:00 pm; Sunday, 2:00 pm-10:00 pm
      Brunch: Saturday & Sunday, 11:00 am-2:00 pm
      Club: Monday-Saturday, 10:00 am - 5:00 am; Sunday 4:00 pm -5:00 am

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    Rumi
    330 Lincoln Rd.
    Miami, FL 33139
    phone: 305-672-4353


    The Lincoln Road restaurant turns into a club/lounge at 11:00 pm with DJs and live music. The crowd changes every day of the week, as does the length of the line queuing up outside. On busy nights it’s a challenge to score a cozy booth, but worth it to get some real estate for the night to take in the scene of Miami babes. We’re partial to Rising Star Mixologist Chad Weller, who serves up fantastic cocktails including his signature Blueberry Raspberry Mojito.
    • Hours:
      Dinner:
      Thursday-Saturday, 7:00 pm-Midnight
      Club: Thursday-Saturday, 11:00 pm-5:00 am

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    Tantra
    1445 Pennsylvania Ave.
    Miami Beach, FL
    phone: 305-672-4765


    The Near Eastern and Asian philosophy of tantra embraces sex as a sacred spiritual act, and the restaurant/club of the same name strives to achieve a similarly open sexual energy. Sex is all around you, including on the walls, on which XXX-rated movies are projected. Guests are encouraged to let loose on the jungle gym, and as the night typically progresses, young hot bodies dance on tables and bars, some losing their miniscule clothing. Tantra serves a full menu of signature cocktails, some better than others, but all designed to get you in the mood. Recommended libations include the Tantric Kiss – a vodka, pineapple and cranberry juice martini, and Sixth Sense – a dessert-style drink with two kinds of rum, Baileys, Crème de Banana and pineapple juice.
    • Hours:
      Dinner:
      Monday, Friday & Saturday, 7:00 pm-2:00am: Tuesday–Thursday & Sunday, 7:00 pm-1:00 am

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    HOTELS
    Wallet-Watching:

    Abbey Hotel
    300 21st Street at Collins Ave.
    Miami Beach, FL 33139
    phone: 305-531-0033


    This boutique art deco hotel offers a great value for visitors to South Beach. The hotel is slightly off the beaten path, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Ocean Drive. The hotel’s extensive restoration took place about 5 years ago - rooms and hallways are beginning to show some wear, but they’re clean and the price is right. No matter where the nighttime takes you, start things off with a genteel cocktail at the handsome art deco bar in the lobby. Also nestled in the hotel lobby is the Abbey Dining Room, where Chef Kira Volz creates simple, light Mediterranean & Middle Eastern cuisine, such as Lamb Tajine for Two, Butternut Squash Ravioli, and Grilled Baby Octopus Salad. If you choose, dine al fresco on the breezy terrace overlooking Collins Park. If you’re recovering from a night of revelry, Chef Volz’s fresh salads and egg dishes will cure your hangover quickly enough.
    • Rooms: 50
    • Rates: $79-$225
    • Featured Amenities: VIP passes to nightclubs, children's beach toys, fitness room, pets allowed (prior arrangement and deposit required)
    • What to Do: Ask for a picnic lunch to take to the beach.

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    The Wave
    350 Ocean Dr.
    Miami Beach, FL 33139
    phone: 305-673-0401


    Formerly known as The Lord Balfour, this 1940s historic Art Deco building was recently renovated and thoroughly modernized from the inside and out. Sleek and curvy Italian furniture carries out the hotel’s theme. Its prime alternative location in the South Art Deco District - and just across the street from the ocean - offers convenient access to restaurants, shops and the beach. A fantastic value for South Beach.

    • Rooms: 66 rooms and suites
    • Rates: $109-$279
    • Featured Amenities: Fitness facility with cardio and free weight equipment, Internet desk with complimentary high-speed access, complimentary continental breakfast
    • What to Do: Relax and enjoy a cocktail in the courtyard.

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    The Whitelaw
    808 Collins Ave.
    Miami Beach, FL. 33139
    phone: 305-398-7000


    The Whitelaw’s slogan reads, "Clean sheets, hot water, stiff drinks." The hotel boasts Belgian sheets, glass and limestone bathrooms, plus complimentary drinks served nightly from 7-8 pm. With its stark white décor and black accents, the hotel aims for a groovy, retro-chic crowd.

    • Rooms: 49
    • Rates: $115-$365
    • Featured Amenities: Nightly complimentary cocktail hour, airport shuttle service, continental breakfast, nightclub passes, bathrobes, 10% discount at La Spa Lancome, discounted Crunch passes
    • What to Do: Pretend you’re Austin Powers and walk around the hotel nodding at guests, saying, “Groovy, baby.”

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    Pricey but Sane:

    Loews Miami Beach Hotel
    1601 Collins Ave
    Miami Beach, FL 33139
    phone: 305-604-1601


    Amid the rows of small boutique Art Deco hotels stands the Loews Miami Beach, a majestic, full-service hotel on South Beach. The Loews is the first new hotel on Miami Beach in 30 years. It has set its own standard of excellence in service throughout the property – from the six restaurants and lounges to the gorgeous ocean-front swimming pool, to the spa and fitness center. Should you ever grow weary of the cascading water fountain and lush palm tree promenade or the gracious poolside service, you have your own private access to a 900-foot-wide sandy beach.

    • Rooms: Tower Building, 680 including 62 suites; St. Moritz, 100
    • Rates: $197-$819
    • Featured Amenities: 4,500-square-foot Fitness Center, 24-hour room service, two-line telephones with voice mail and message retrieval, SoBe Kid's Camp
    • What to Do: Recover from a never-ending night of dancing by dining at Preston’s –sit on the oceanfront terrace and let Chef Marc Ehrler’s rock shrimp frittata restore your equilibrium.

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    The National
    1677 Collins Ave.
    Miami Beach, FL 33139
    phone: 305-532-2311


    The National is one of the best kept secret places to stay on the beach. The cool, art deco bar, with its inviting, quintessential South Beach air, is one of the hippest lounges in town. The deck around the swimming pool reaches a critical mass of hotties each day, but the scene is much lower key than at the Ritz or the Delano. The light, airy, newly renovated rooms are some of the best we experienced on South Beach. The suites are ideal for families, with kitchen/breakfast nook and sitting area, plus a spacious bedroom and bathroom, not to mention ample closet space. The outdoor terrace is the spot for lunch, with a fantastic view of the long and narrow infinity pool. Chef Frederic Delaire serves French fusion at the hotel’s restaurant, named Tamara after art deco artist Tamara de Lempicka. Recommended dishes include the Smoked Duck Tart, Filet Mignon Au Gratin, and Frozen White Chocolate Mousse with Mixed Berries.

    • Rooms: 143 rooms and 8 suites
    • Rates: $139-$849
    • Featured Amenities: Complimentary high-speed Internet access, 27-inch flat-screen TV with DVD and VCR, terrycloth bathrobes and slippers
    • What to Do: Relax and find your center with complimentary poolside yoga classes on Friday, Saturday & Sunday morning.

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    Splurge-Worthy:

    The Raleigh
    1775 Collins Ave.
    Miami Beach, FL 33139
    phone: 305-534-1775


    Designed by L. Murray Dixon, one of the noted architects of South Beach’s historic Art Deco district, the Raleigh is today owned by the notorious hotelier Andre Balazs and is one of the see-and-be-seen hotels on the beach. The lagoon-sized swimming pool is the focal point of the hotel (architecturally and socially), with cascading waterfalls and coveted cabanas. Eric Ripert, Chef/Owner of Le Bernardin in New York, oversees the hotel restaurant’s gourmet menu.

    • Rooms: 104
    • Rates: $225-$1,150
    • Featured Amenities: Bicycles, hi-speed wireless internet access in-room and throughout property, 400-count Egyptian cotton sheets, Kiehl’s amenities
    • What to Do: Rent the duplex penthouse and host the party of the century. Or just have a drink at the martini bar and make new friends.

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    Ritz-Carlton South Beach
    1 Lincoln Road
    Miami Beach, FL 33139
    Phone: 786-276-4000


    As the newest Ritz property in the Miami area, this elegant hotel is centrally located on South Beach in the heart of the Art Deco district. The new Ritz SoBe reflects a painstaking restoration of a 1950’s era Morris Lapidus-designed hotel, at least the public areas. The smallish rooms have a more traditional Ritz-Carlton air with classic dark wood furniture and oversized armchairs. The pool is the new people watching scene on South Beach – it’s packed every day with beautiful bods. The drinks served poolside are equally luscious and appealing.

    • Rooms: 376
    • Rates: $409- $3,500
    • Featured Amenities: 16,000 square foot spa, personal shoppers on request, tanning butlers, Saturday evening Water Ballet shows
    • What to Do: Claim your chaise by the pool early in the morning and watch the scene unfold, refreshing drink in hand. Or spring for a VIP cabana for total privacy.

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    Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove
    3300 Southwest 27th Ave.
    Coconut Grove, FL 33133
    phone: 305-644-4680


    This grand hotel, with its Italian Renaissance décor, has an altogether different feeling from the Ritz-Carlton South Beach. Located on Biscayne Bay, the Coconut Grove property is removed from the hubbub of Miami Beach, making it an ideal venue for a wedding or high-end meeting or conference. You’ll experience exceptional service throughout the hotel, including at the boutique spa and ample outdoor pool. Each of the guest rooms and suites has a private balcony and floor to ceiling windows affording views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline. Bizcaya, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, was one of the best restaurants in town when Chef Willis Loughhead manned the kitchen, but as of publication, StarChefs has yet to taste Chef Alfredo Patino’s new menu.

    • Rooms: 115 rooms and suites
    • Rates: $219-$2,725
    • Featured Amenities: Large private balconies, plush terry cloth and lightweight robes, high-speed internet access, 6,000 square-foot spa and fitness center with TVs built into each cardio machine
    • What to Do: Indulge in a signature spa treatment such as a mango and wine hydrating body cocoon or a bamboo and date exfoliating scrub. For total privacy, enjoy in-room spa services for an additional fee.

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  • Even sun gods and goddesses need a job. For hotel jobs in Miami, go to Hotel JobFinder


  •    Published: March 2005
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