by Natasha Wolff | April 22, 2013 12:00 am
Tosca (pictured), 210 23rd Street
Maison d’Azur proprietor Stephan Fortier is back on the beach with Tosca. Most of the places on Collins Avenue boast about sourcing the finest ingredients, but Fortier’s meticulous research—reflected in the hefty prices—manages to one-up even the snootiest restaurants. For example, why settle for plain lobster when you can dine on one-in-2-million blue specimens? Kobe ribeye graded A5 with 12 marbling, Pata Negra Jamón aged 36 months and white truffles from Italy’s Alba region also appear in his menu of delicacies.
Copperbox, 3328 North Miami Avenue
The secret supper club has arrived in Miami. Chef Gabriela Machado’s Copperbox uses lavish, intimate dinner parties (there’s a maximum of 24 guests) for her guerrilla gourmet experiments. On Thursdays and Saturdays, Atelier Nights begin with bubbles and hors d’oeuvres, before eight seasonal courses are served. A sommelier pairs wines with each dish (after dinner, corkage is available). It’s no wonder these events, sometimes announced only 72 hours beforehand, have waiting lists.
The Hoxton, 1111 SW 1st Avenue
A Nobu alum’s British-inspired trio has blossomed in Brickell. Diners can start their night with happy hour at the Hoxton, a beach house with live music and classic cocktails with Miami twists, and continue on to rustic fare (think grass-fed butcher steaks and hearty vegan entrées) at BoxPark before spending the night over drinks at lounge Harvey Wolf.
Khong River House, 1661 Meridian Avenue
The folks behind the perpetually packed Yardbird Southern Table & Bar are hoping to do the same for regional Thai specialties that they did for fried chicken. Khong River House has a team of chefs from tiny Thai towns who have tapped local farmers to grow unusual ingredients like galanga and pandan leaves so they can prepare dishes like those sold in street markets back home. Will Miami diners warm to boat noodles, char-grilled Issan sausage and marinated meats served steaming in banana leaves? All signs point to yes, and the house tropical cocktails—showcasing gin rather than rum—should help convert any nonbelievers. A smart selection of dry rieslings and fun gin concoctions also serve as perfect pairings for the spicy Asian cuisine.
The Cypress Room, 3620 NE 2nd Avenue
Blink and you’ll miss farm-to-table chef Michael Schwartz’s latest, the Cypress Room, tucked near a freeway overpass in the Design District.
Oak Tavern, 35 NE 40th Street
Chef and restaurateur David Bracha has delivered another pearl to patrons of Brickell’s the River Seafood & Oyster Bar. But rather than a menu of mostly seafood, his follow-up, Oak Tavern in the Miami Design District, serves stick-to-your-sides small plates (think gnocchi with rabbit sausage and white truffles, as well as housemade charcuterie and artisanal cheese boards). With a prime location—opt for seats under the majestic oak tree in the charming courtyard—Bracha has added another feather to his toque.
Cipriani Downtown, 465 Brickell Avenue
London’s famed Cipriani completes downtown Miami’s overnight transformation from ugly duckling to swan. Designed by Michele Bönan (the same architect behind Downtown Mayfair in London and Downtown Ibiza, as well as Cipriani Monte Carlo), the blue and white nautical décor suits the glamorous bayside setting. It’s the first Miami venture for Maggio and Ignazio Cipriani, whose great-grandfather founded Harry’s Bar in Venice—hence, their bar’s familiar layout—and whose grandfather and father are also veteran restaurateurs. Considering their mentors have hosted Queen Elizabeth II, as well as Hollywood royalty, there’s no telling what boldface names will visit this two-story hot spot.
Entering the nightlife scene…
Jelsomino, 247 23rd Street
Finding a decent karaoke venue in South Beach is tough. But that’s changing a bit thanks to Jelsomino, an upscale spin-off of an NYC club. Book private rooms or take the main stage with backup singers and fog machines. And while waiting your turn to belt out the Verve, sip the Bitter Sweet Symphony cocktail, a Moscow mule/mojito mashup.
Hyde American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Boulevard
Hot on the heels of opening a location at the SLS Hotel, Los Angeles import Hyde lounge makes it a double with this outpost at AmericanAirlines Arena. But the venues couldn’t be more different. While the design of the beach’s Hyde borrows from midcentury Florida, the across-the-bay spot took design inspiration from butterfly cocoons.
Wynwood Brewing Company, 565 NW 24th Street
Mojito-mad Miamians are warming up to good old American beer. Case in point: Wynwood Brewing Company, which has opened a facility with tasting and tap rooms in the arts district. “It’s the perfect location, since our beers are like works of art,” founder Luis Brignoni says. Two standout brews: a blonde ale and a double IPA with notes of mango and guava.
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