Miami City Guide: Find the magic in Miami

February 1, 2010

Headed for Miami for the big dermatology meeting in March? We’ve already checked out the scene for you! Take a look through our City Guide to find the best in dining, sights to see, shopping and nightlife, plus handy information on how to get around.

Dining | Sightseeing |
Shopping | Nightlife | Getting Around

When dermatologists descend on Miami this March for the 68th American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting they can enjoy visiting a global city known for its entertainment, finance, commerce, arts and media.

Miami is synonymous with culture and this shows in everything - from dining to attractions to nightlife and even shopping. This all helps make tourism one of Miami’s most important industries. Millions of visitors flow through Miami International each year.

Anyone in Miami can enjoy the miles of beautiful, white sand beaches. Then just stroll across the two-mile long boardwalk and find an endless variety of accommodations, as well as a wide range of clubs and restaurants. For those ready to give their credit cards a workout, an array of shops and eateries are around every corner. Don’t forget to take a leisurely walk down Ocean Drive, and visit the Lincoln Road Mall - a mall stretching seven blocks, home to dozens of upscale shops. And there are plenty of ways to get around town.

Personalities of the city

The greatest influence upon the city and its modern-day personality came with the influx of Cuban refugees that began in the 1960s. They settled in an area dubbed Little Havana. The other neighborhoods of Miami have equally large personalities of their own.

Coral Gables was one of the nation’s first planned developments and was built almost entirely out of the coral limestone quarried there. The quarry itself was turned into the Venetian Pool, an exotic swimming hole with romantic stone bridges and waterfalls. Large Spanish colonial-style homes line twisting streets, hidden from big city life.

Bal Harbour is the most exclusive neighborhood in Greater Miami. Luxury resorts sit serenely amid the palatial homes. No visit to this district is complete - or even begun - without a visit to the Bal Harbour Shops.

Key Biscayne holds popular tourist attractions, busy recreational marinas and fantastic beaches. Windsurfing and sailing are foremost along its windy causeway, known as Hobie Beach. The Miami Seaquarium, located here, ranks as one of Florida’s first marine attractions.

Coconut Grove is great to visit as it keeps up with the times as a lively shopping and nightlife scene.

Don’t forget about South Beach, a place everyone knows by name. Once home to a number of retired citizens and starving artists, South Beach has now risen to international fame as a popular vacation destination. Every block is packed with restaurants, bars, shops and - of course - dance clubs, each trendier and more glamorous than the last.

When talking about Miami, Miami Beach is the best place to start. In the 1940s, when vacationers began to arrive, Miami Beach was the center of the action. Although years have passed and times have changed, the beach remains a perennial hot spot.

Although primarily a business district, there’s a lot to see and do in Downtown Miami. Tour the design district between Northeast 36th and 41st streets, or check out the museums in the Metro-Dade Cultural Center. Shoppers will love the Bayside Marketplace with its retail shops, open-air crafts market. The Port of Miami is next to Bayside, where one can find a boat to give tours around the bay.

A different time

With all of these different areas, different cultures and so many different things to do, today the city of Miami is bustling cit with nearly 400,000 residents. It can be hard to imagine the city’s early beginnings when it was inhabited by Tequestas - a Native American tribe - and later claimed by Spain in 1566.

It would later come to hold the distinction of being the only city in the United States founded by a woman, Julia Tuttle, a citrus grower and Cleveland native. The Great Freeze of 1894-1895 hastened Miami’s growth, as the crops of the Miami area were the only ones in Florida that survived. Julia Tuttle subsequently convinced a railroad tycoon to expand his Florida East Coast Railroad to the region. Miami was officially incorporated as a city on July 28, 1896 with a population of more than 300.

Miami prospered during the 1920s with an increase in population and infrastructure but weakened after the 1926 Miami Hurricane and the Great Depression in the 1930s. When World War II began, Miami, well-situated due to its location on the southern coast of Florida, played an important role in the battle against German submarines.

The war helped to expand Miami’s population; by 1940, 172,000 people lived in the city. After Fidel Castro rose to power in 1959, many Cubans sought refuge in Miami, further increasing the population. In the latter half of the 20th century, Miami became a major international, financial and cultural center.

The magic is here

Miami and its metropolitan area grew from more than 1,000 residents to nearly 5 and a half million in only 110 years (1896-2006). The city’s nickname, The Magic City, comes from this rapid growth. Winter visitors remarked that the city grew so much from one year to the next that it was like magic.

Hopefully all of the physicians attending the AAD annual meeting will be able to find the magic that Miami has to offer. Use this guide to choose where to dine, where to shop, what to see and more. Check out the beaches or attractions like the Spanish Monastery Cloisters or Coral Castle Museum. Then work toward some well-known shopping areas like CoCoWalk or the Miracle Mile. Relax and recharge with a great meal at one of Miami's famous restaurants such as The Forge or The Palm.

Lastly, top of the day with a night on the town at Tobacco Road, a bar that hold’s Miami's oldest liquor license, or any hot spot on South Beach.

Miami won’t disappoint. Remember to enjoy and show and, even more, enjoy the city.

Dining Guide: Treat your taste buds in the Magic City

With so many different cultures in Miami, the flavors of the local fare are incredible. The influence of flavors and culture here is almost overwhelming. Prepare for a delectable time when it comes to dining, because no matter what you're craving, chances are it's being served somewhere. Hungry visitors can dine alfresco or indoors, casual or extravagant, International or Caribbean. No matter what you find, your taste buds will thank you.

American

Grass Restaurant and Lounge
28 NE 40th St.
Location: Downtown
Phone: (305) 573-3355
Web site:http://www.grasslounge.com/Prices: Main courses $15-$39
Reservations recommended
Signature dishes include ginger lime-marinated grilled mahimahi, grass-fed grilled and smoked beef rib eye, and seared Szechuan pepper-crusted foie gras. The tiki-chic eatery surrounded by vines, bamboo and cozy banquettes is all outdoors and a stunning departure from the rest of Miami's ultramodern restaurants.

Michael’s
130 NE 40th St.
Location: Downtown
Phone: (305) 573-5550
Web site:http://www.michaelsgenuine.com/Prices: Main courses $4-$39
Reservations recommended
The sleek yet unassuming dining room and serene courtyard seating are constantly abuzz with Design District hipsters and foodies alike. The food is a fresh mix of all organic products. With an emphasis on products sourced from local growers and farmers, the menu, which changes daily, is divided into small, medium, large and extra large plates, all reasonably priced and hard to choose from. There are also excellent pizzas; a roasted Berkshire pork shoulder with Anson Mills cheese grits, pickled onion and parsley sauce; and the $4 bar menu, featuring crispy hominy with chilis and lime, deviled eggs, kimchi and chicken liver crostini. Book early, as it’s always crowded.

Talula
210 23rd St.
Location: Miami Beach
Phone: (305) 672-0778
Web site:http://www.talulaonline.com/Prices: Main courses $18-$36
Reservations recommended
Take two star chefs and combine their epicurean efforts, and you’ve got Talula, one of the most creative, refreshing restaurants to hit South Beach. Talula is a blissful marriage of many flavors, as seen in such signature dishes as grilled Sonoma foie gras with caramelized figs, blue-corn cakes, chili syrup, and candied walnuts; and sausage Vidalia onion stuffed grilled center pork chop with garlic-sautéed broccoli rabe, apple smoke bacon, bean ragout, caramelized Granny Smith apple and whole grain mustard sauce. The wine list is well-balanced, featuring 85 vintages from California, Italy, France, Australia and South America. An exhibition kitchen is a tempting seating option, with five seats allowing a fantastic view of the culinary action.

The Forge Restaurant
432 41st St.
Location: Miami Beach
Phone: (305) 538-8533
Web site: http://www.theforge.com/Prices: Main courses $25-$60
Reservations recommended
English oak paneling and Tiffany glass suggest high prices and haute cuisine, and that's exactly what you get at The Forge. The atmosphere is elegant, but not too stuffy. Like the rest of the menu, appetizers are mostly classics, from Beluga caviar to baked onion soup to shrimp cocktail and escargot. When they’re in season, order the stone crabs. For the main course, any of the seafood, chicken or veal dishes are recommendable, but The Forge is especially known for its award-winning steaks. Its wine selection is equally lauded - ask for a tour of the cellar. Celeb note: The Forge was known to be one of Michael Jackson’s favorite restaurants.

Asian

Wish
801 Collins Ave.
Locations: South Beach
Phone: (305) 674-9474
Web site:http://www.wishrestaurant.com/Prices: Main courses $29-$44
Reservations suggested
Located in the stylish The Hotel, this is one of the most beautiful, romantic outdoor restaurants in South Beach. Chef Michael Bloise’s Asian-inspired dishes are among the most creative in town and include crispy skinned snapper with grilled shrimp, Chinese sausage, Jasmine rice and Vietnamese tea foam. Desserts are equally creative. Take the PB and Jay - a dark chocolate peanut butter tart with raspberry jam and peanut butter gelato. And then there are the “electric cocktails,” such as the glowing green apple martini served with psychedelic ice cubes.

Caribbean

Ortanique on the Mile
278 Miracle Mile
Location: Next to Actor’s Playhouse, Coral Gables
Phone: (305) 446-7710
Web site:http://www.cindyhutsoncuisine.com/Prices: Main courses $19-$40
Reservations requested
You'll be greeted with soft, spiderlike lights and canopied mosquito netting that will make you wonder whether you're on a secluded island or inside one of King Tut's temples. For starters, don’t miss the pumpkin bisque with a hint of pepper sherry. Afterward, move on to the tropical mango salad with fresh marinated sable hearts of palm, julienne mango, baby field greens, toasted Caribbean candied pecans, and passion-fruit vinaigrette. For an entree, try the pan-sautéed Bahamian black grouper marinated in teriyaki and sesame oil.

Creole

Emeril’s Miami Beach
1601 Collins Ave.
Location: In the Loew’s Hotel, South Beach
Phone: (305) 695-4550
Web site: http://www.emerils.com/restaurant/9/Emerils-Miami-Beach/Prices: Main courses $18-$50
Reservations required
The 8,000-square-foot restaurant is reminiscent of a bustling and cavernous New York hot spot with chandeliers, massive wine cellars and an open kitchen in which Emeril Lagasse himself sometimes stars. Portions are massive and signature dishes include New Orleans barbecue shrimp with a petite rosemary biscuit; Niman Ranch double-cut pork chops with tamarind glaze, caramelized sweet potatoes and green chili mole sauce; and banana cream pie with banana crust, caramel sauce and chocolate shavings. The service is equally stellar.

Eclectic/Global Fusion

Azul
500 Brickell Key Drive
Location: At the Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Phone: (305) 913-8358
Web site:http://www.mandarinoriental.com/miami/dining/azul/Prices: Main courses $24-$55
Reservations strongly recommended
Azul is one of the most upscale, prettiest - and priciest - waterfront restaurants in town. The views of the city skyline are stunning and rival the food - well, almost. Executive chef Clay Conley creates a tour de force of international cuisine, inspired by Caribbean, French, Argentine, Asian and even American flavors. The restaurant’s décor - with its views, high ceilings, walls burnished in copper and silk-covered chairs - is complemented by sparkling jewels, in this case, the food.

French

A La Folie
516 Espanola Way
Location: South Beach
Phone: (305) 538-4484
Web site:http://www.alafoliecafe.com/Prices: Main courses $5-$10
A La Folie is an authentic French café in which wooden booths and walls full of foreign newspapers and magazines make you double-check your plane ticket to ensure you’re still in Miami. The restaurant features some of the best café fare in the city, including hugely-portioned sandwiches such as the French favorite croque monsieur, salads, crepes and, of course, café au lait and plenty of wine. Indoor and outdoor seating are equally conducive to whiling away many hours sipping coffee.

Blue Door
1685 Collins Ave.
Location: In the Delano Hotel, South Beach
Phone: (305) 674-6400
Web site:http://www.delano-hotel.com/default.aspx - /explore/?id=bluedoorPrices: Main courses $31-$46
Reservations recommended; reservations required for prix fixe dinner
This is quintessential South Beach dining. Thanks to award-winning Chef Claude Troisgrois, the menu frowns upon the ubiquitous fusion moniker in favor of a more classic French approach to tropical spices and ingredients. Caramelized rack of lamb with toasted Moroccan couscous in a passion mint fruit glaze, and beef tenderloin with gorgonzola cream sauce, Beaujolais poached Asian pear, crispy potato, raisins and green peppercorns are just a few of the Blue Door’s tempting offerings, but the menu changes frequently. Service can be snippy and slow, but the food makes up for what the restaurant lacks in hospitality.

Pascal’s on Ponce
2611 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
Location: Coral Gables
Phone: (305) 444-2024
Web site:http://www.pascalmiami.com/Prices: Main courses $26-$36
Reservations recommended
Chef Pascal Oudin has established himself at his very own restaurant that takes French food to another level. Diver sea scallops topped with beef short rib, young fennel, carrot Vichy, and fava beans; and filet mignon with escargot provencal are just a few outstanding examples of how Oudin combines classical French techniques with the ingredients of the Americas.

International

Chef Allen’s
19088 NE 29th Ave.
Location: At Biscayne Blvd, Aventura, North Miami
Phone: (305) 935-2900
Web site:http://www.chefallens.com/Prices: Main courses $25-$45
Reservations recommended
If anyone deserves to have a restaurant named after him, it’s Chef Allen Susser, winner of the esteemed James Beard Award for Best American Chef in the Southeast and practically every other form of praise and honor awarded by the most discriminating palates. He offers New World cuisine and the harmony of exotic tropical fruits, spices and vegetables. Here, ordinary Key limes and mangoes appear in succulent salsas and sauces.

Italian

Caffe Abbracci
318 Aragon Ave.
Location: 1 block north of Miracle Mile, Coral Gables
Phone: (305) 441-0700
Web site:http://www.caffeabbracci.com/Prices: Main courses $15-$40
Reservations recommended
You’ll understand why this restaurant’s name translates as “hugs” in Italian the moment you enter the dark, romantic enclave. The homemade black-and-red ravioli filled with lobster in pink sauce, risotto with porcini and portobello mushrooms, and the house specialty - grilled veal chop topped with tricolor salad - are irresistible and perhaps the culinary equivalent of a warm, embracing hug. A cozy bar and lounge were added recently to further encourage the warm and fuzzy feelings.

Cafe Ragazzi
9500 Harding Ave.
Location: Surfside, Miami Beach
Phone: (305) 866-4495
Web site:http://caferagazzi.com/Prices: Main courses: $10-$25
Reservations accepted
This diminutive Italian café, with its rustic decor and a swift, knowledgeable waitstaff, enjoys great success for its tasty, simple pastas. The spicy puttanesca sauce with a subtle hint of fish is perfectly prepared. Also recommended is the salmon with radicchio. You can choose from many salads and carpacci, too. Ragazzi has a faithful following of regulars, so be prepared for the crowd spilling on the street - especially on weekend nights.

Casa Tua
1700 James Ave.
Location: South Beach
Phone: (305) 673-1010
Web site:http://www.casatualifestyle.com/Prices: Main courses $24-$100
Reservations required
The stunning Casa Tua is a sleek and chic, country Italian-style establishment. It has several dining areas, including a resplendent outdoor garden, comfy living room and a communal eat-in kitchen. The lamb chops are high in price ($42) but sublime in taste and a bargain compared to the $50 milk-fed veal chop. Service is, as always with South Beach eateries, inconsistent, ranging from ultra-professional to absurdly lackadaisical.

Escopazzo
1311 Washington Ave.
Location: South Beach
Phone: (305) 674-9450
Web site:http://www.escopazzo.com/Prices: Main courses $14-$34
Reservations required
In 2007, Escopazzo added “Organic Italian Restaurant” to its title. Should you be so lucky as to score a table at this romantic local favorite, you’ll have trouble deciding between dishes that will have you swearing off the Olive Garden with your first bite. Standouts are milk and basil dough pasta with baby calamari, chickpeas, tomatoes and arugula; or grass-fed hanger steak with roasted baby organic veggies in a truffle sauce. The hand-rolled pastas and risotto are near perfection.

Osteria del Teatro
1443 Washington Ave.
Location: South Beach
Phone: (305) 538-7850
Web site: http://osteriadelteatromiami.com/Prices: Main courses $15-$40
Reservations recommended
Located in an unassuming storefront beneath the “ultrasceney” nightclub, Cameo, it’s hard to believe that Osteria del Teatro is the best Italian bistro on the beach. What may be lacking in decor is not absent in the elaborate cuisine. Regulars concentrate on the enormous changing list of specials on the blackboard. You will definitely be faced with some tough choices: plump chicken breast sautéed with shallots and sun-dried tomatoes in champagne cream sauce; seafood baked with linguine, garlic, fresh tomatoes and olive oil in parchment paper; or homemade ravioli stuffed with scallops and crab in lobster sauce.

Sardinia
1801 Purdy Ave.
Location: South Beach
Phone: (305) 531-2228
Web site:http://www.sardinia-ristorante.com/Prices: Main courses $14-$38
Reservations required for parties of six or more
This is a quiet sensation in South Beach terms. For starters, the cheese and salami plates will transport you - or at least your palate - to Italy, as will the rest of the innovative menu, consisting of oriechette with wild boar; crunchy fried sweetbreads with Brussels sprouts; and rabbit with Brussels sprouts and beets. The food’s a bit heavy, but it’s worth it. As for scene, it’s all about the food, although the bar is bustling with people waiting for highly coveted tables.

Spiga
1228 Collins Ave.
Location: Hotel Impala, South Beach
Phone: (305) 534-0079
Web site:http://www.spigarestaurant.com/Prices: Main courses $7-$20
Reservations accepted
This place is so low-key that many of South Beach’s most ostentatious hipsters have never even heard of it. The complimentary bruschetta with grilled eggplant, served to you at one of the few tables inside or out, is the first of many culinary treats. The simple gnocchi with tomato and basil is a garlicky sensation, not to mention a most filling entrée. The fresh asparagus baked in Parmesan cheese is so fresh, and the red snapper with kalamata olives, fresh tomatoes, capers and onions is a refreshingly simple departure from the fusion variety at other restaurants. The place is romantic and vaguely reminiscent of a Florentine trattoria.

Timo
17624 Collins Ave.
Location: Miami Beach
Phone: (305) 936-1008
Web site: http://www.timorestaurant.com/Prices: Main courses $11-$27
Reservations required
Timo is a stylish Italian Mediterranean restaurant catering to North Miami Beach. Among the specialties, try the handcrafted pastas, including semolina gnocchi with braised oxtail; a traditional Sicilian pasta pie consisting of thin slices of eggplant wrapped around macaroni with crushed red pepper and buffalo mozzarella; and a phenomenal veal scaloppini. At Timo, a cool bistro-meets-lounge atmosphere gives way to a decidedly cool vibe.

Latin

Michy’s
6927 Biscayne Blvd.
Location: Downtown
Phone: (305) 759-2001
Web site:http://michysmiami.com/Prices: Main courses $15-$30
Reservations recommended
If you drive too fast, you’ll miss this small storefront restaurant. Try the zingy ceviche; braised duck with Jerez and peaches; conch escargot style in parsley, butter and garlic; and, for those whose palates can take it, sautéed sweetbread with bacon and orange juice. There’s nothing ordinary about Michy’s, except for the fact that a reservation is nearly impossible to score if not made weeks in advance.

Ola
1745 James Ave.
Location: In the Sanctuary Hotel, South Beach
Phone: (305) 695-9125
Web site:http://www.olamiami.com/Prices: Main courses $21-$50
Reservations recommended
Ola serves Spanish tapas and ceviches as well as its own inimitable culinary concoctions. Those hooked on the low-carb craze will find several items tailored to this diet. But why bother? Latin food is about flavor and carbs, so indulge here (as your wallet will have to).

Versailles
3555 SW 8th St.
Location: Little Havana
Phone: (305) 444-0240
Prices: Main courses $5-$20
A glorified diner, this place sparkles with glass, chandeliers, murals and mirrors meant to evoke the French palace. The menu is a veritable survey of Cuban cooking and includes specialties such as Moors and Christians (flavorful black beans with white rice), ropa vieja (shredded beef stew), and fried whole fish. Versailles is the place to come for mucho helpings of Cuban kitsch. With its late hours, it’s also the perfect place to come after spending your night in Little Havana.

Mexican

El Rancho Grande
1626 Pennsylvania Ave.
Location: South Beach
Phone: (305) 673-0480
Web site: http://www.elranchograndemexicanrestaurant.com/Prices: Main courses $10-$19
Reservations recommended
El Rancho Grande is a favorite local cantina that has attracted the likes of Cher and Matt Damon, thanks to its ultra-fresh fare and unassuming ambience. It doesn’t hold back when it comes to the cuisine. The Aztec soup is a hot and spicy blend of chicken and tortilla strips, and the Mexican favorites of burritos, enchiladas and fajitas are well represented. Portions are huge. Expect a wait at the small bar for your table, especially on weekends. Limited outdoor seating is also available.

El Toro Taco Family Restaurant
1 S. Krome Ave.
Location: Homestead, Coconut Grove
Phone: (305) 245-8182
Prices: Main courses $2-$12
Fabulous Mexican fare - tacos, enchiladas and burritos drenched with the freshest and zestiest salsa this side of Baja - is what you’ll find in abundance here. It may sound odd to travel from a big city with plenty of restaurants to farm country for Mexican food, but it’s worth the trip.

Seafood

AltaMar
1223 Lincoln Road
Location: Miami Beach
Phone: (305) 532-3061
Web site:http://altamarrestaurant.com/Prices: Main courses $32 on average
Reservations accepted
This fabulous seafood house, located between North Miami and Aventura, specializes in home-style cooking featuring fresh sea bass, crabs, lobster and shrimp, all coupled with fresh seasonal vegetable sides. On weekends, expect a long wait.

Big Fish
55 SW Miami Ave. Road
Location: Downtown
Phone: (305) 373-1770
Web site:http://www.thebigfishmiami.com/flash/reservations.htmlPrices: Main courses $15-$33
Reservations recommended
Hard to locate, but worth the search, Big Fish has a sweeping view of the Miami skyline and some of the freshest catches around. The spectacular setting may be the real draw, directly on the Miami River where freighters, fishing boats, dinghies and sometimes yachts slink by to the amusement of diners. Beware Friday nights, when Big Fish turns into a happy-hour scene.

Grillfish
1444 Collins Ave.
Location: South Beach
Phone: (305) 538-9908
Web site: http://www.grillfish.com/Prices: Main courses $20 on average
Reservations accepted
Tempting aromas greet you at the door of this popular seafood restaurant, begging you to come inside and enjoy a hearty meal. Grillfish is a classy establishment - and a South Beach favorite - thanks to its intimate dining area, welcoming ambiance and succulent seafood grilled to perfection in an open kitchen. Try the Mediterranean calamari or the scallop piccata, and wash down your meal with a martini off Grillfish’s extensive list of cocktails.

La Dorado
177 Giralda Ave.
Location: Coral Gables
Phone: (305) 446-2002
Prices: Main courses $25 on average
Reservations recommended
Located in beautiful Coral Gables, La Dorada is an elegant establishment serving up fresh seafood with Spanish flair. The nautical-themed interior, complete with live plants, portholes and a pianist, evokes the ambiance of an exotic locale. The flavorful dishes on the menu range from fresh tilapia baked in rock salt to seafood-studded paella. Friendly servers are happy to help you make the perfect selection from their extensive wine list.

Nemo
100 Collins Ave., Mercury Resort
Location: Miami Beach
Phone: (305) 532-4550
Prices: Main courses $50 on average
Reservations recommended
Boasting fabulous outdoor seating ideal for people-watching, this trendy restaurant is known to attract successful - and often famous - clientele. Try the crispy prawns with salsa and the wok-charred salmon - both are excellent examples of Nemo’s Pan-Asian cuisine. In Miami, seafood dining doesn’t get much better than the upscale atmosphere and amazing preparations here.

Steakhouse

Capital Grille
444 Brickell Ave.
Location: Downtown
Phone: (305) 374-4500
Web site: http://www.thecapitalgrille.com/splash.asp?s_cid=Prices: Main courses $21-$35
Reservations recommended
The best of all the chain steakhouses, Capital Grille is a serious power spot. For an appetizer, start with the lobster and crab cakes. If you’re not in the mood for beef or lobster, try the pan-seared red snapper and asparagus covered with hollandaise. You’re surrounded by wine cellars filled with about 5,000 bottles of wine - too extensive and rare to list. Complimentary valet parking here is another reason to visit this carnivorous location.

The Palm
9650 E. Bay Harbor Drive
Location: Bay Harbor Island, Miami Beach
Phone: (305) 868-7256
Web site:http://www.thepalm.com/Prices: Main courses $20-$50
Reservations highly recommended
The Palm is one of the country’s most heralded steakhouses, known for its Jurassic portions and no-nonsense service. Everything here is à la carte, and the prices add up quickly. Both fish and meat are praiseworthy; the blackened swordfish steak is as hearty and massive as the filet mignon. Prime rib and New York strip are full of flavor as well and cooked to perfection. Additionally, the veal and lamb chops are divine. The food is prepared simply, but needs no enhancement. Sharing is encouraged, as the portions are large.

Prime One Twelve
112 Ocean Drive
Location: In the Browns Hotel, South Beach
Phone: (305) 532-8112
Web site:http://www.mylesrestaurantgroup.com/Prices: Main courses $20-$88
Reservations recommended
At Prime One Twelve, the celebrity-saturated sleek ambience and bustling bar play second fiddle to the beef, arguably the best in the entire city. The 12-ounce filet mignon is seared to perfection and can be enhanced with optional dipping sauces. The 22-ounce bone-in rib eye is fabulous, as is the gigantic 48-ounce porterhouse. A powerhouse crowd gathers here for lunch and dinner, and reservations are more rare than the yellowfin tuna tartare appetizer, but should you be lucky enough to score such a “prime” reservation, take it without hesitation.

Sushi

Nobu
1901 Collins Ave.
Location: Shore Club Hotel, South Beach
Phone: (305) 695-3232
Web site:http://www.noburestaurants.com/Prices: $26 and up
Reservations only for parties of six or more
When Madonna ate here, no one really noticed. That’s because the real star at Nobu is the sushi. The raw facts: Nobu has been hailed as one of the best sushi restaurants in the world, with always-packed eateries in New York, London and Los Angeles. The Omakase, or Chef’s Choice - a multicourse menu entirely up to the chef for $70 per person and up - gets consistent raves.

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Attractions: Miami boasts more than just beaches

For tourists who need a break from the sand and surf, Miami has plenty of activities for everyone. The zoo and other animal attractions will lure the tots, while myriad museums and other historical points of interest will capture everyone’s attention.

Coral Castle Museum
Coral Castle is an engineering marvel consisting of more than 1,100 tons of carved coral rock located in Homestead, Fla. From 1923 to 1951, Ed Leedskalnin single-handedly and secretly carved the coral rock. His unknown process for this feat has created one of the world’s most mysterious accomplishments. If you’re travelling from Miami to the Keys, it’s worth the stop. Coral Castle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Cost: Adults, $9.75; children under age 6, free; children age 7-12, $5; seniors 62 and older, $6.50

  • Location/Contact: 28655 South Dixie Highway, Homestead; (305) 248-6345

Everglades National Park
This national park is the third largest in the lower 48 states, covering 2,500 square miles. There are several locations where you can begin your adventure in south Florida, from Everglades City to Homestead to Key Largo.

Everglades National Park is open 365 days a year. The park is located on the southern tip of Florida, and is accessible from different areas. The main park entrance (Homestead/Florida City), is open 24 hours a day. A series of popular walking trails begins only a short drive from the visitors’ center.

  • Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; open every day.

  • Location/Contact: 40001 State Road 9336, Homestead; (305) 242-7700, ask for the visitors’ center.

Holocaust Memorial
This heart-wrenching memorial is hard to miss and would be a shame to overlook. The powerful centerpiece, Kenneth Triester’s “Sculpture of Love & Anguish” depicts victims of the concentration camps crawling up a giant hand stretched up to the sky, marked with an Auschwitz number tattoo. Along the reflecting pool is the story of the Holocaust, told in cut marble slabs.

  • Hours: Daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

  • Cost: Free

  • Location/Contact: 1933 Meridian Ave.; (305) 538-1663

Miami Art Museum
The Miami Art Museum (MAM) features an eclectic mix of modern and contemporary works by such artists as Eric Fischl, Max Beckmann, Jim Dine and Stuart Davis. Rotating exhibitions span ages and styles, and often focus on Latin American or Caribbean artists.

  • Hours: Tuesday - Friday 10am-5pm Saturday and Sunday Noon-5pm; Closed Mondays

  • Cost: Adults, $8; seniors, $4; children under age 12, free

  • Location/Contact: 101 West Flagler St.; (305) 375-3000

Miami Metrozoo
Miami Metrozoo is fast becoming one of the best zoos in the nation. Its climate allows it to keep a wide variety of animals from Asia, Australia and Africa. One of the first free-range zoos in the United States, the exhibits are entirely cageless. Miami Metrozoo is a beautiful place to spend the day, with or without children.

  • Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily; ticket booth closes at 4 p.m.

  • Cost: Adults age 13 and up, $15.95; children age 3 to 12, $11.95; children age 2 and under, free

  • Location/Contact: 12400 SW 152nd St.; (305) 251-0400

Miami Seaquarium
Miami Seaquarium offers an entertaining and educational experience found in very few locations in the United States. The region’s tropical climate allows for year-round outdoor marine shows featuring dolphins, orcas and other sea creatures. The Seaquarium also features exhibits of sea turtles, seals, sea lions and manatees. Be sure to check the Seaquarium Web site before arrival, as the show schedule varies from day to day.

Any visit to the Miami Seaquarium should be timed to include the following must-see events: trained dolphin show; Lolita the Killer Whale show; at least one feeding and trainer presentation.

  • Hours: Miami Seaquarium opens at 9:30 a.m. everyday and closes at 6 p.m.

  • Cost: Adults, $35.95; children age 3 to 9, $26.95

  • Location/Contact: 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne; (305) 361-5705

Miami Science Museum
Miami Science Museum is home to world-class exhibits featured on a rotating basis. The museum also houses the Miami Planetarium and The Falcon Batchelor Bird of Prey Center.

  • Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; box office closes at 5:30 p.m.

  • Cost: Adults, $14.95; seniors age 62 and up, $10.95; children age 3 to 12, $10.95; children under age 3, free

  • Location/Contact: 3280 S. Miami Ave.; (305) 646-4200

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
MOCA boasts an impressive collection of internationally acclaimed art with a local flavor. It is also known for its forward thinking and ability to discover and highlight new artists. A high-tech screening facility allows for film presentations to complement the exhibitions. You can see works by Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Larry Rivers, Duane Michaels and Claes Oldenberg.

  • Hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday: 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m.; Closed Mondays

  • Cost: Adults, $5; students and seniors, $3; children age 12 and under, free

  • Location/Contact: 770 NE 125th St.; (305) 893-6211

Jungle Island
Jungle Island offers a fun, educational opportunity for an up-close look at tropical birds and many other animals in replicas of their natural habitats.

  • Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Cost: Adults, age 11-64, $29.95; seniors, age 65 and up, $27.95; children, age 3-10, $23.95; children, age 0-2, free

  • Location/Contact: 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail; (305) 400-7000

South Beach
For years, South Beach has been an international magnet for trend-setters and the place beautiful people to see and be seen.

During the day, models, vintage cars, Harley-Davidsons and in-line skaters of all ages parade past tourists as they relax and people-watch from one of Ocean Drive’s many outdoor cafés.

By night, the clubs sizzle. Lounge on the beach for a bit, taking in the quintessentially relaxing sight of top-notch surf and sand. After you whet your appetite for swimming and sunning, revive your creative side by taking an Art Deco District Tour. Your best bet for dinner and people-watching is on Lincoln Road. Full of stores, boutiques, art galleries and museums, seven blocks of this 10-block mall are closed to auto traffic. The unique atmosphere lends to some interesting people showing up, and you never know who you may see.

Spanish Monastery Cloisters
Did you know that the alleged oldest building in the Western Hemisphere dates from 1133 and is located in Miami? The Spanish Monastery Cloisters were first erected in Segovia, Spain. Centuries later, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst purchased them and brought them to America in pieces. The carefully numbered stones were quarantined for years until they were finally reassembled on the present site in 1954. It has often been used as a backdrop for weddings, movies and commercials.

  • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Call ahead, as the monastery closes for special events without notice.

  • Cost: Adults, $5; seniors, $2.50; children, $1

  • Location/Contact: 16711 W. Dixie Highway; (305) 945-1461

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Built in 1916 as a winter retreat, this lavish villa is a tribute to the Italian Renaissance. The museum contains much of the original furnishings and artwork, and is surrounded by lush, formal gardens.

  • Hours: Everyday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

  • Cost: Adults, $15; children age 6-12, $6; children age 5 and under, free

  • Location/Contact: 3251 S Miami Ave.; (305) 250-9133

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Shopping: Take time for retail therapy

Known as a city of luxury, Miami is the place to splurge. A wide variety of shops, from designer boutiques to national retailers, await Miami’s visitors. Travelers love the popular Lincoln Road pedestrian mall in South Beach. Shoppers can also find the top brands at Bal Harbour or picturesque cafés along the Miracle Mile.

Aventura Mall
19501 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura
A true shopper’s paradise with more than 280 high-end shops, a 24-screen AMC theater and an interactive playground called Rainbow Valley, Aventura Mall is one of Miami’s premier shopping destinations. The design of this mall features fine Italian porcelain flooring, glass and bronze sculpted railings and custom seating.
Web site: http://www.aventuramall.com/

Design District
NE 40th St., Miami
In the Design District, new trends are set every day. The neighborhood is a conglomeration of design outlets, art galleries, restaurants and antique shops. Miami’s creative contingent has migrated here in recent years, and it’s becoming a popular tourist destination.
Web site: http://www.miamidesigndistrict.net/

Dolphin Mall
11401 NW 12 St., Miami
Dolphin Mall houses more than 240 retail establishments and offers a number of entertainment options. You can catch a movie, grab a burger and play some games at Dave & Buster’s, or take on the climbing wall. Finally, if you think bowling alleys are dingy, dark places full of unsavory characters, you haven’t visited Strike Miami, www.strikemiami.com.
Web site: http://www.shopdolphinmall.com/

The Falls
8888 SW 136th St., Miami
This open-air mall in southern Miami-Dade County offers a completely different shopping experience. Located at the intersection of US 1 and SW 136th Street, it features top department and specialty stores. Many restaurants have outdoor seating available where shoppers may enjoy the tropical waterscapes that decorate the mall’s walkways.
Web site: http://www.simon.com/mall/default.aspx?ID=1232

Lincoln Road
Collins Avenue at 17th St., Miami
Located off Collins Avenue at 17th Street in South Beach, Lincoln Road is a fashionable, open-air shopping complex with some of the most exclusive boutiques and high-end shops in the city. Full of stores, boutiques, art galleries and museums, seven blocks of this 10-block mall are closed to auto traffic.
Web site: http://www.lincolnroad.org/

CocoWalk
3015 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove
CocoWalk, Coconut Grove’s open-air shopping mall, is a fantastic place to shop, eat and enjoy a uniquely Miami shopping experience. CocoWalk includes specialty stores, a movie theater, nightclubs and several art galleries.
Web site: http://www.cocowalk.net/

Bayside Marketplace
401 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
Bayside Marketplace offers a wide variety of shops from which to choose. The restaurant lineup at Bayside includes Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Chili’s, Hard Rock Café, Lombardi’s and Los Ranchos. Located downtown, this shopping district overlooks beautiful Biscayne Bay and boasts more than 150 shops. Offering a wealth of locally owned boutiques, as well as national retailers like Guess and Gap, this shopping center is a favorite among locals and tourists.
Web site: http://www.baysidemarketplace.com/

Bal Harbour Shops
9700 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Find the finest boutiques such as Chanel, Dior, Dolce&Gabbana, Emporio Armani, Escada, Fendi, Giorgio Armani, Hermès, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and many more. The gourmet cafés and restaurants will summit your shopping spree.
Web site: http://www.balharbourshops.com/main-1.php

Miracle Mile
Coral Way between Douglas and LeJeune roads, Coral Gables
Only a half-mile long, the strip enjoys popularity, especially for its bridal stores, ladies’ shops, haberdashers and gift shops. Recently, newer chain stores, such as Barnes & Noble, Old Navy and Starbucks, have appeared on the Mile. The exceedingly upscale Village of Merrick Park, a mammoth, 850,000-square-foot outdoor shopping complex between Ponce de León Boulevard and LeJeune Road, just off the Mile, houses Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Armani, Gucci, Jimmy Choo and Yves St. Laurent, to name a few.
Web site: http://www.shopcoralgables.com/

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Nightlife: Miami sizzles when the sun goes down

With some of the hottest spots on the planet, Greater Miami has no shortage of clubs and bars if you want to let off a little steam after a long day. Whether you are looking to sit back and relax with a drink or club hop in South Beach, there is something for every mood.

Best bars

Tobacco Road
626 S. Miami Ave., Miami
(305) 374-1198
Web site: http://www.tobacco-road.com/
Opened in 1912, this classic holds Miami’s oldest liquor license: No. 0001! Upstairs, in a space that was occupied by a speakeasy during Prohibition, local and national blues bands perform nightly. There is excellent bar food, a dinner menu and a selection of single-malt scotches, bourbons and cigars.

Tantra
1445 Pennsylvania Ave., Miami Beach
(305) 672-4765
Web site: http://www.tantrarestaurant.com/
One of the most unique Miami bars, Tantra offers an experience for each of the five senses. A wide selection of martinis and wines is available.

Globe Cafe & Bar
377 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables
(305) 445-3555
Web site: http://www.theglobecafe.com/index.html
A popular choice among young professionals, this Coral Gables bar offers weekly drink specials, an impressive wine list and an extensive menu featuring everything from baked brie to filet mignon.

Monty’s Raw Bar
300 Alton Road, Miami Beach
(305) 672-1148
Web site: http://www.montyssouthbeach.com/
Known for its fresh seafood and wonderful views, this bar is the perfect choice for a casual evening on the town.

Scully’s Tavern
9809 Sunset Drive, Miami
(305) 271-7404
njoy great drink specials complemented by a full menu of sandwiches, burgers, salads and soups. Head to Scully’s on the weekend for live music and friendly conversation.

Dance

SET Miami
320 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach
(305) 531-2800
Web site: http://www.setmiami.com/dev/main.php
SET Nightclub is a high-end luxury VIP nightclub on Miami Beach.

Cameo
1445 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
(786) 235-5800
Web site: http://www.cameomiami.com/
Cameo, formerly a small movie theater, was converted into a unique dance club adjacent to South Beach’s trendy Espanola Way.

Opium Garden/Prive
136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
(305) 531-5535
Web site: http://www.theopiumgroup.com/
One of South Beach’s most famous venues, this club is internationally acclaimed for its exotic ambiance and celebrity appeal. Opium Garden’s majestic landscape features golden Buddha statues, Chinese lanterns, Asian accoutrement and towering palm trees.

Sports bars

Fritz & Franz Bierhaus
60 Merrick Way, Coral Gables
(305) 774-1883
Web site: http://www.bierhaus.cc/default.html
This Bavarian-themed Bierhaus (beer house) serves Austrian and German cuisine. The staff, in their lederhosen, will entertain with informal dance numbers.

Rosinella
1040 S. Miami Ave., Miami
(305) 372-5756
Web site: http://www.rosinella.net/
Rosinella serves Italian cuisine featuring pizza, pasta and fresh fish entrées.

Sports Grill
10005 Sunset Drive (SW 72nd St.), Miami
(305) 598-2227
Web site: http://www.sportsgrillsunset.com/
A sports bar with casual atmosphere offering a wide selection of burgers, sandwiches, soups, salads and some of the best chicken wings in Miami. Watch your favorite sporting event here.

Jazz

Van Dyke Cafe
846 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach
(305) 534-3600
Web site: http://www.thevandykecafe.com/
Sandwiches, omelets and fantastic grilled entrées are some of the specialties at this prime people-watching restaurant. Upstairs at the Van Dyke you’ll find live jazz, blues and Brazilian music seven nights a week.

Karaoke

Studio at the Shelborne Beach Resort
1801 Collins Ave. (downstairs), Miami Beach
(305) 531-1271
Web site: http://www.shelbornesouthbeach.com/
10 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly
The crowd consists of many pre- and post-club hoppers who are fairly stocked up on liquid courage and ready to take a shot at any of the 55,000 song titles and 100 instruments available.

Seven Seas
2200 SW 57th Ave., Miami
(305) 266-6071
10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursdays and Saturdays
Mounted fish and buoys decorate the cluttered walls, along with photos of legendary Key West haunts such as Sloppy Joe’s Bar and Captain Tony’s Saloon. An old school jukebox in the corner plays CDs of artists including the Doors and Fleetwood Mac.

Latin nightspots

Mango’s Tropical Cafe
900 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
(305) 673-4422
Web site: http://www.mangostropicalcafe.com/
There’s a reason Mango’s reigns as the numero uno nightclub on SoBe for the Latin vibe; check out the waitresses dancing on the bar, the music blaring and island-inspired drinks flowing.

Macondo
665 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
(786) 276-1516
Web site: http://www.macondovip.com/
The music will not disappoint - all of your Colombian favorites including Shakira, Fonseca, Juanes, plus merengue, cumbia and other tunes from the land of García Márquez.

Comedy

Improv Comedy Club
3390 Mary St., #182, Coconut Grove
(305) 441-8200
Web site: http://www.miamiimprov.com/
Catch national acts at this club whose roster includes Robin Williams, Dennis Miller, Lily Tomlin and many others. Located in the heart of Miami, it is considered the premier comedy club and dinner theater in the city.

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Getting Around: What to know before you go

The key to happy travels in any new city is preparation. These traveling tidbits will help keep your stay stress-free. Fortunately, directions to the airport and beaches in Miami are well marked, and public transportation can get you to your destination, or at least in the vicinity thereof. Whenever you are out and about, it also helps to know that Miami Avenue and Flagler Street is the intersection for the city’s four geographic sections. Flagler Street separates the north from the south, while Miami Avenue divides the east from the west.

Airport Information
If you’re flying into Miami International Airport, several transportation options make it fairly easy to get from the airport into the city. See below for public transit, taxi and rental car contact information.

Miami International Airport Miami is certainly convenient, but it can also be quite difficult to navigate.

If you’re flying on a major airline, here’s where to head:

  • Air Canada, Terminal G

  • Air France, Terminal F

  • AirTran, Terminal F

  • American Airlines, Terminals A, C, D and E

  • British Airways, Terminal A

  • Continental, Terminal H

  • Delta, Terminal H

  • Northwest/KLM, Terminal G

  • United, Terminal F

  • US Airways, Terminal H

Public Transit
The Metromover is downtown-specific, with 20 stations situated every two blocks. The Metromover is free.
The Metrobus system thoroughly covers the county from southern Broward County to Key Largo, and from Miami Beach to west Miami-Dade. With more than 600 buses and 82 routes, it connects to the Metrorail and Metromover. Several bus routes operate 24 hours a day.

Metrobus service also can be used throughout all of Miami Beach, Miami and the rest of the county. More information about public transportation within Miami Beach or Miami-Dade County can be found at www.miamidade.gov/transit. The best value for travelers staying for a week is the Traveler Passport ($26), which is valid for seven days. If you plan ahead, you can buy online and have the pass mailed to you. Full fare for Metrobus and Metrorail is $1.50.

The South Beach Local has stops every few blocks (look for the colorful “Local” signs on the sidewalk along the route), and service running every 10 minutes to 15 minutes throughout each day. It makes getting around South Beach a breeze. Geared mainly toward visitors, the Local’s buses are newer, air-conditioned, clean and safe. The friendly drivers are helpful and seem willing to help riders find the stop closest to their destinations, or to offer other travel-related information. Monday through Saturday service is available between 7:45 a.m. and 1 a.m. Sunday service begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 1 a.m. The fare is 25 cents.

Taxi Service
If you’re looking for a taxi, you can often find several waiting at any of the Miami taxi stand locations throughout Miami, Miami Beach and the rest of South Florida.

  • Flamingo Taxi: (305) 599-9999

  • Yellow Cab: (305) 777-7777

  • Super Yellow Cab: (305) 888-7777

Rental Cars

AlamoEnterprise
AvisHertz
BudgetNational

DollarAirport location: baggage claim
Off-airport location:
3670 NW South River Drive
Phone: (800) 800-4000

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