As you all might have noticed I am fully invested in giving you guys travel advise that is truly useful and targeted to the public that reads the blog, meaning those who enjoy the finer things in life but don’t always have a money tree on their backyard.
I decided to do this because I travel a lot and I am always looking for good reviews and blogs on the cities that I am traveling to and I noticed that it is really hard to find good advise.
Sometimes what I find is for instance “Miami on a budget” or “Miami Luxury”, and usually it’s from many years back so it’s outdated, but there is nothing in between.
Again, I am writing for those who enjoy the good things in life but are not necessary going to rent an island when they go on vacation lol. So if you are looking to have far too much fun, experience unique fine dining, hip lounges, dance the night away in clubs that are not only packed with the crowd who just turned 21, keep reading……
Traveling To Miami
Today’s review is on Miami! I love Miami and I was there early March this year (2016). I love pretty much everything about it, the weather, the people, the diversity, the nightlife extravagance, etc.
First things first, so I will start by saying if you are taking the red eye spend the extra money and buy the extra legroom; you are gonna rest better and have more energy to enjoy your vacation. Or you can buy a first class ticket, whatever fits your budget.
Second, although this is not a hotel review but I am sure someone will ask, if you want to know my hotel recommendation I would go with Hotel 1South Beach if you want to be by the beach or Mandarin Oriental if you don’t mind staying in the downtown area. I love both hotels and you can’t go wrong with either one.
Driving Like a Boss With MPH Club
Don’t downplay the car rental situation, if you are gonna be balling you need a nice car.
Believe me, It’s as fun as going to the beach and the attention you get (especially from the girls) is very fun too.
I have to admit that I was one of those people who thought the rental car during a vacation was at the bottom of my list and that ANY car would be fine.
You don’t realize the difference it makes until you try it. For this last Miami trip I decided to get the Audi R8 convertible and let me tell you, I had the best time ever!! See my photoshoot with this car
If you love cars like I do then it’s even more exciting. I used a luxury car rental company called MPH Club.
It’s really hard to actually choose which one you want because really you just want to try them all. They also have jets, yachts, and personal services like chauffeurs.
Plus they have great rates when compare to other rental companies. For example they charge $795/daily for the Audi R8 Spider when most other companies were charging $999. I also tried the BMW I8 just for fun but like I said you can’t beat a convertible in Miami.
If you really want to roll like a millionaire you can read this blog and then go to MPH web site and check out their service called “The Million Dollar Vacation”.
Basically this service means that MPH crew will create the best exotic vacation you can ever imagine and tailored to your taste. They will take care of everything from jets, restaurants, hotels, gifts (like fancy watches so you can feel spoiled) and anything you can dream of. My guess is that it must be really hard to top that. Just saying……
Best Restaurants by Occasions
So now that you arrived in Miami, and you got your nice car, its time to tell you where to go. Lets start with where to eat because yes I am a foodie and won’t deny it.
I love trying out new restaurants and I don’t mind spending some extra money to go to nice restaurants. In my opinion that’s money well spent. So the restaurants I am going to tell you about are not cheap but are also not super expensive…well I’ll let you decide for yourself what you think of the prices. But like I said the experience is so worth it.
For a laid back people watching and drinking kind of a night (or day):
It is located on Lincoln Road Mall, right where all the fashion stores are and all the movement of Lincoln Rd.
The food is a fusion of Brazilian, Japanese and Peruvian cuisine so it’s very unique and you are most likely not going to understand the menu, but that is part of the experience.
My waitress was Ana Maria and right off the bet I wanted to order spicy tuna sushi (staying in my comfort zone) and she said “wait a minute let me show you some of the new dishes on the menu and then if you still want tuna sushi I will order it for you”, and I was surprised with dishes like the JARDIN DE INVERNO, new to their menu is a beautiful dish that truly looks like a garden on your plate.
I also tried the PULPO A LA HUANCAINA, which has crispy yucca, compressed Fuji apple, and botija ‘air’.
The BRAISED LOCAL PORK BELLY with dragon fruit, cocoa-dusted maíz cancha, and Peruvian chocolate barbecue sauce was also to dye for! If you already know about Sushisamba make sure you go there again because there are many new items on the menu. Oh and if you just want a traditional Brazilian dish like the FEIJOADA, they also have it.
My favorite thing about this place is that it feels like Italy, because you can just seat there and “people watch”, it reminded me of Rome in the summer.
I enjoy hanging outside and just people watch, drink and talk to friends and this is the perfect place for that.
Also know that this place is good for daytime and nighttime fun, regardless of the time there is always a lot of people just hanging out in that area so it’s super fun. They also have fresh house made juices and you can add Cachaça to it.
Make sure to try these two (source: sushisamba.com):
CAIPIRINHA The national drink of Brazil, made with Velho Barreiro cachaça and churned with lime and sugar. Velho Barreiro’s signature blend of silver and wood cask-aged cachaça provides a rustic depth to SUSHISAMBA’S take on this cultural classic.
NINA FRESA® A true SUSHISAMBA classic with Stoli Strasberi, orange liqueur, guava juice, strawberry and fresh lime. Served ‘up’.
If you want to dress up and have a spectacular meal in a place with a full bar, outside patio, lots of people and a killer view:
I absolutely love La Mar. There is a La Mar in San Francisco where I live and I go there whenever I can. I would say La Mar Miami is a step up from La Mar SF.
La Mar is Peruvian upscale dining with a strong Japanese influence. I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Diego Oka who used to be the chef in SF; he is an amazing chef and just a great guy overall.You will likely see him roaming around and talking to each and every customer.
I don’t even know where to start as far as describing the food. It is honestly one of the best restaurants I have ever visited.
The food is all made to be shared and the dishes are very sophisticated but yet simple and appealing to most palates.
You have plates like the TIRADITO, which has tuna with passion fruit sauce and really brings you the Japanese influence and then you also have things like the EMPANADA AND THE CHURRASCO, which really brings the Latin flavor.
Definitely try the CEVICHE BARRIO, which is octopus ceviche and Chef Diego’s favorite dish.
Also you must have desert; please order the Peruvian chocolate mousse with white quinoa crunch. This desert really surprised me. When I saw white quinoa on chocolate mousse I thought for sure it was not going to be good but it was amazing. The quinoa is very subtle and gives this delicious crunch to the dish, definitely a must.
Moving on to the restaurant’s atmosphere, It is very fun and has a full bar, a patio and an amazing view of the city and the water.
The bar had Japanese Whisky, which I rarely see. The restaurant has a young and trendy vibe, the people where dressed up nicely and it’s definitely a place to go for food and also drinks.
Yardbird is a farm-to-table Southern comfort food & bourbon bar. They are very famous for their brunch, which I was lucky to try. One of the most famous dishes they have is the fried chicken and waffle, just perfection.
I highly recommend the macaroni and cheese as well. And as far as sweets they have a dulce de leche waffle that is to dye for.
The bar has a large selection of bourbons. I had the blackberry bourbon lemonade during brunch and it was very good, just enough bourbon so you could taste it but very subtle.
Ask for Lloyd to be your waiter and Peta for your food runner, they are just so friendly and full of good recommendations.
On a side note, most southern places I had been to where very laid back and casual, well not this place. Yardbird is upscale, fun, packed with hip and beautiful Miami natives and also tourists. Again another must in Miami!
If you want to experience class, fine dining and the best steak of your life:
Capital Grille is an upscale steak house. The restaurant is very elegant and has an old Hollywood feel to it. I had the best steak of my life there and let me tell you I have been to many nice steak houses.
Capital Grille is very detail oriented in the food presentation and overall look and feel of the restaurant. Just so you have an idea, they use black napkins, which I love and anyone who likes fashion like I do can appreciate it.
They have their lemons in a little net bag so that the seeds don’t fall into your tea. I don’t know about you but I really appreciate the little details.
As you are looking at the menu the waitress will bring delicious bread, one is a hot French bread and the other is a brown bread made with pumpernickel raisin. For the appetizer I had PAN-FRIED CALAMARI WITH HOT CHERRY PEPPERS, which was delicious and is a huge portion by the way. Now lets talk about the steak!
They dry age their steak in the restaurant for about 18-24 days for flavor and texture. The meat is also hand-carved by their in-house butchers. They serve large steaks like the 22oz BONE-IN RIBEYE that I had.
They also know how to cook the steak to perfection in whatever way you like it. I for instance like my meat well done and they were able to make it perfectly well done all the way through by doing a butterfly cut and also some how they managed to still keep the steak soft and juicy; this is a rare thing in my experience.
The amazing thing is that they serve those very fine wines also by the glass, which you don’t find anywhere else.
As you may know, expensive wine like those are usually only sold by the bottle. They use a Coravin, which controls the oxygen so the wine stays preserved; it is a needle and works only on wines with a cork and does not work on carbonated wines. Fred Sutherland, the manager, gave us a nice presentation of how it works.
For a healthy, organic and fit meal:
Visit DIRT and SUNSET JUICE CAFÉ, both really good with protein and plant based meals, juices and smoothies.
Other restaurant suggestions that I personally tried include:
Toro Toro, Vapiano, Azul at Mandarin Oriental ,Ola and Market at Edition.
It is Miami so there is plenty to do every night and the best part is that everything is open until like 6 in the morning.
I found it a bit hard to figure out the best spots to go at night partly because there are so many places to go and also because things are always changing, so I recommend you ask the concierge at your hotel for some advise. My concierge was very helpful but here are some of my favorites as well:
BAOLI – good place to eat and drink, and especially good on Wednesdays
FDR– drinking and dancing all night. FDR at Delano hotel is the place to go if you like Hip Hop. FDR is a nightclub on the underground level of the hotel. It’s smaller and more laid back then most Miami clubs, the crowd is cool and also if you get there early enjoy a drink at the pool bar.
CLANDESTINO PUB – good beer and good music. ROOFTOP AT HOTEL 1 SOUTHBEACH – if you want to chill, have a drink and enjoy a gorgeous view.
There is always something happening in Miami, the weather is great most of the year and you might just end up wanting to move there like I do.
All I can say is travel enjoy each day, if Miami is not the place for you then go somewhere else but go! Life is too short and you only live once.