The Urbanist’s Miami: Where to Eat

The BazaarPhoto: Skott Snider

Raising the Hotel Bar
In a city built on tourism, hotel bars reign. Here, Galena Mosovich, the cocktail-culture writer for the Miami Herald, on where and what to drink.

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

New Hotel Bar:
“The inside of the Broken Shaker (Freehand Miami, 2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach; 305-531-2727) is small and decked in tropical décor, like palm-tree wallpaper, but the outdoor area is huge. It’s all cobblestones, with a fountain in the courtyard and strings of lights hanging from the trees. The seating is antique armchairs and vintage couches, and there’s a pool and bocce court in back. It’s a little bohemian playground.”

Signature Cocktail:
“The Broken Shaker has a garden in its courtyard where it grows its own pineapple sage and star fruit. The Agave Fairy ($11) is tequila mixed with homemade pineapple vinegar, fresh lime juice, and a fermented star-fruit mash cut with honey. It’s shaken and served over a block of ice in an Old Fashioned glass and garnished with pineapple sage, so you get that extra hint of fragrant fresh herb.”

New Hotel Bar:
“Julio Cabrera is a famous local mixologist—classic Cuban. You’ll find him at the Regent Cocktail Club (Gale Hotel, 1690 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-0199) wearing a tuxedo and bow tie. When you see him, and see this glamorous and elegant cocktail bar, you feel transported to another place. The Regent even hosts a monthly Cuban night with old-school dominoes on the outdoor patio.”

Signature Cocktail:
“You’d think it’d be easy to find classic Cuban cocktails in Miami. It’s not. The Hemingway Daiquiri ($14) was originally created by a bartender at El Floridita in Havana and made especially for Ernest; it’s like a daiquiri without sugar, because he was convinced he had ­diabetes. Julio’s is made with rum, fresh lime juice, fresh grapefruit juice, and Maraschino, then shaken and thrown in a chilled crystal coupe.”

New Hotel Bar:
“At the new SLS hotel, there’s the Bazaar (1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-455-2999), which is a restaurant by José Andrés. You can sit at the bar or on the outdoor patio that overlooks the pool, and a server will come to your table with a cart and create a liquid-nitrogen drink for however many are in your party. They’re freezing things right in front of you—all this smoke billows out of the bowl, and it’s just a crazy show.”

Signature Cocktail:
“José’s take on the caipirinha ($7) has Brazilian cachaça, fresh lime juice, and sugar. It’s like this slushy, frozen drink that you put in your mouth and then, as your mouth heats up and it melts, you start getting all the flavors—tarragon, then floral notes, and then some lime. It’s really refreshing and strong—a great starter to your night.”

Never Go Hungry
Three neighborhoods, three chefs, three classic Miami meals. Plus dessert.

Little Havana

Michelle ­Bernstein, owner of Michy’s

“You can walk in La Camaronera (1952 W. Flagler St.; 305-642-3322), which means ‘the Shrimpery,’ at 10:30 a.m. and get a huge platter of fried shrimp with tartar and habanero sauces. It doesn’t sound like breakfast, but a lot of people go out late in Miami, and nothing brings you back to life like La Camaronera. Just next door there’s a bodega that has the best café con leche in town. You can’t start a day better than that.”

West Miami

Jose Mendin, chef-partner of Pubbelly

Mi Viejo San Juan (1200 SW 57th Ave.; 305-263-9911) is my favorite Puerto Rican restaurant in Miami. It’s a shack, nothing fancy, and everyone in there is Puerto Rican. I always get mofongo. They do it very traditional, stuffing it with seafood, fried pork, fried chicken, whatever you want. They also have pasteles—basically a Puerto Rican tamale made with plantain and yucca wrapped in banana leaf. It’s something really homey my mom used to make.”


Jeff McInnis, chef-partner of Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

“When I have a day off, I drive my boat to this run-down fish house called Garcia’s (398 NW North River Dr.; 305-375-0765). It has a little fish market inside; you go in, pick your fish, and watch the boats pull up, get out their lobster traps, and pull their snappers out of the cooler. I don’t go here for anything fancy. It’s just good, simple seafood: grilled snapper, poached Florida lobster, and great stone crabs. They also make a decent mojito.”

And for Dessert:
Hedy Goldsmith, pastry chef at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

“Azucar Ice Cream Company (1503 SW 8th St., Little Havana; 305-381-0369) screams Miami. Their most popular flavor is Abuela Maria, made with ripe red guava, chunks of cream cheese, and crispy Maria crackers in this delicious vanilla base. It’s unbelievable. The flavors just go on and on—it evokes so much emotion from the people that were born and raised in Cuba and who risked life and limb to come here.”

The Urbanist’s Miami: Where to Eat