You Asked: Can you recommend a few good restaurants in Miami? Nothing Michelin or molecular, more of the locals’ type of places, including Cuban. Also, if your team knows of any great spas/nail spas that would great as well. E.F., San Francisco, CA
“I recommend the Standard Spa to everyone. I have yet to find a better manicure/pedicure anywhere, ever. Ask for Cindy; she is the best. If you book any treatment over $65 at the Standard Spa (I recommend the 45-minute rub and scrub in the Hammam), you have access to the hotel facilities for the entire day, including the pool overlooking the bay.
The Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill at the Standard Hotel is right on the water and lovely at night, low-key and easy going, nice crowd, lots of locals. Food is simple, but very fresh and delicious. The chef buys local ingredients himself and creates specials based on what’s fresh that day. On the weekends, the tables are packed at lunch time, I’d recommend a reservation. Funny enough, it is the only place to eat on the water in South Beach.
There are no nice Cuban restaurants in South Beach. If you really want Cuban Food on South Beach, have it for lunch and try David’s Café on Lincoln Road, or Puerto Sagua on 7th Street. Puerto Sagua is a hole in the wall, but the best Cuban food on the beach, a bone fide institution. For authentic Cuban food for dinner, head south about 20 minutes to Calle Ocho and eat at Versailles.
Michael’s Genuine, in the Design District of downtown Miami, is a fifteen-minute cab ride just over the causeway. It was named one of the top ten new restaurants in the country by the New York Times in 2008, and the praise is well deserved. The Design District is a hip, up-and-coming neighborhood with galleries and high-end shops like Tomas Maier, Marni and Y3. Another slam-dunk restaurant in the area is Sra. Martinez, a tapas bar, opened by celebrity chef Michelle Bernstein who made her name at the Mandarin Oriental. Located in a former post-office from the 1920’s, the restaurant is dark and sexy, spans two floors and has a well trained staff.
On South Beach, I am a big fan of Casa Tua. Try to sit outside in the romantic, lantern-lit garden. For a less expensive Italian option, go to Sardinia, which is a local favorite and always packed. Prime One Twelve is a fantastic steak house and has a great scene. Mr. Chow just opened this month in the new W Hotel on Collins Ave, and is supposed to be a hot spot right now. The restaurant at the Setai is in a beautiful space and has an interesting menu with all types of Asian cuisine. The tandoori and the black pepper shrimp are to die for. Shoji Sushi is my favorite Japanese restaurant hands down. It offers an Argentinean twist to traditional Japanese food, delicious.
Ice Box just off Lincoln Road has the best desserts, perfect for an afternoon snack. I believe Oprah said that it has the best cake in the country a couple years ago. I love to have brunch at A La Folie on Espanola Way, a charming, hidden street in the grid of South Beach, serving crepes and croque monsieur to perfection. The pear and gorgonzola crepe alone is worth the trip.”
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