June 27 2018

The Standard Guide to Summer in Miami

Miami-Guides
Summer in Miami gets a lot of heat, both figuratively and literally. With oppressive temperatures and pretty much daily thunderstorms, it's definitely not Miami's high season, but that leaves a lot of room for exploring the city with less crowds. We’ve outlined the ultimate Miami summer must-hit spots for al fresco dining, raw bars, cocktails, ice cream, and culture.
The Best Restaurants to Eat Al Fresco
For those perfectly overcast and cool summer days.
Amara at Paraiso
The latest from James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz focuses on simple, Latin American-influenced plates cooked over fire. Feast on banana leaf-wrapped cobia with coconut pesto or chorizo and kale over red beans with cassava while taking in sweeping views of Biscayne Bay.
Lido Bayside Grill
Catch some rays over lunch on the sprawling deck or take a momentary break from the pool for sunset drinks. The health focused—but not inhibited—menu highlights organic produce, fresh herbs, grill cooking and biodynamic wines. 

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Bunbury

We promise you that you’re in the right place. This unassuming storefront belonged to an old tire shop until last year when Bunbury, a buzzing Argentinian wine and tapas bar, took it over. Upon entering, beeline to their sprawling outdoor patio—it often has live music and always has a killer selection of reasonably priced wines by the glass.

Alloy

For a solid date night, head straight to Alloy, where they’re dishing up a fresh take on French-Tunisian fare. The cool, breezy courtyard—with candle lighting, Mosaic tiling, whitewashed walls, and dramatic archways—provides the ideal setting for a romantic tête-à-tête.

Mandolin Aegean Bistro

Tucked away in the Design District, this Aegean-inspired taverna from husband and wife team Ahmet Erkaya and Anastasia Koutsioukis serves up homespun, unpretentious dishes from Greece and Turkey. Grab a seat in the lush outdoor garden (which has twice as many seats as the indoor dining room), order every mezze (fried mussels, grilled halloumi and tomato-walnut dip), and revel in Miami’s homage to the Mediterranean.

The Best Seafood + Raw Bars

Obra Kitchen Table

Lauded Venezuelan chef Carlos Garciá makes his U.S. debut with Obra in Brickell. In his own words, García’s specialty here is cocina sabrosa: a warmth of Latin American flavors made with recognizable, seasonal ingredients presented in modest yet creative ways. Go for tasty, shareable dishes such as hiramasa tiradito with pineapple rum leche de tigre or octopus bucatini carbonara.

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Hiden

Edo Kobayashi hospitality group—the driving force behind Mexico City’s Little Tokyo neighborhood—recently opened this covert sushi bar behind an unassuming taco stand in Wynwood. While Hiden’s intimate, eight-seat counter is not ideal for a last minute reservation, it’s definitely worth planning ahead for this unique, Edomae-inspired omakase experience.

Stiltsville Fish Bar

The sophomore restaurant from chef duo Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth, Stiltsville, brings the best produce the Gulf waters have to offer to Sunset Harbor. Diners get to pick from a daily-changing assortment of local fish, including yellow jack, cobia, and pompano. Head over during golden hour when the nautical space is basking in direct sunlight and happy hour is in full swing.

Mignonette

Housed in a former 1930s gas station, Mignonette is Blue Collar chef Danny Serfer’s modern take on a classic raw bar. Whether you’re in the mood for a dozen oysters or a lofty seafood tower, this lively spot is your go-to for the freshest catch in town. Pro tip: If you swing by during weekday happy hour, oysters will only set you back two bucks each.

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Makoto

From acclaimed chef Makoto Okuwa and restaurateur Stephen Starr, this high-end Bal Harbour mainstay specializes in modern Japanese. After hitting the surrounding shops, tuck into the polished dining room and taste delicacies from the sushi bar, bincho-charcoal robata grill, and extensive sake menu. 

The Best Cocktail Bars

Le Chick

Chicken and cocktails doesn’t quite have the same ring as oysters and champagne, but the newly opened Le Chick makes a strong argument for the former pairing. Modeled after Rotisserie Amsterdam, this Dutch-inspired Wynwood spot serves up inventive cocktails like the Old English Game (bourbon, mint syrup, and coffee bitters) or the Barnvelder (vodka and pineapple beet syrup). For all of your after-hours cravings, the post-midnight menu has you covered.

Employees Only

This New York City transplant shakes up world class cocktails and elevated bar fare at their speakeasy-style South Beach outpost. From the Art Deco design accents to the white-jacketed bartenders, Employees Only almost makes you wish that Prohibition was in again.

The Anderson

A collaboration between The Bar Lab team (The Broken Shaker) and chef Alex Chang (The Vagabond), The Anderson is an ‘80s-themed bar that pours modern takes on classic libations. Sip on innovative, handcrafted cocktails in the backyard oasis until you feel the urge to reach for their drink-friendly food menu that includes dan dan noodles, a crispy chicken sandwich, and elote fries.

Lagniappe

If you’re looking for hyper-attentive table service, then Lagniappe is not the place for you. This laid-back music venue with a do-it-yourself attitude has no servers. Instead, guests help themselves to a fridge full of IPAs and all the makings of a legit cheese plate (think hunks of blue stilton, fromage d’affinois, serrano ham, and chorizo).

Melinda’s Mezcal Bar

On the bottom floor of the Electric Pickle club, Melinda’s Mezcal Bar is serving what just might be the perfect duo: artisanal mezcals (from El Tinieblo, a small-batch producer in Tamaulipas, Mexico) and fully loaded nachos (toppings range from candied jalapeños to smoked brisket). Yes, you can get both until dawn on weekend nights.

The Best Ice Cream

The Frieze

For over 30 years, this pint-sized, family-owned parlor has been scooping homemade ice-cream on South Beach. Venture down Lincoln Road for a fresh waffle cone made with beans from the neighborhood roastery Panther Coffee, or the Nuttiest Buddy (peanut butter ice cream packed with chocolate chips, fudge, and nuts). For the dairy-averse, opt for the tamarindo or chocolate mint sorbet.

Azucar Ice Cream Company

While walking down Calle Ocho in the heart of Little Havana, a towering ice cream cone facade means you’ve hit Azucar Ice Cream Company. Because it’s impossible to pick between their Cuban-inspired flavors—think cafe con leche, flan, plátano maduro (sweet plantain), and Abuela María (vanilla ice cream with ripe guava, chunks of cream cheese, and crushed Maria cookies)—go with a group and trade licks.

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Aubi & Ramsa

Be prepared to show ID when you stop by Aubi & Ramsa, a boozy ice cream shop in the Design District. In lieu of a nightcap, pick up a sleekly packaged scoop of the Guinness brewed Stout & Truffle or the Del Maguey Vida Mezcal-spiked Chocolate Azteca. Depending on your sweet tooth, this adults-only parlor may soon become your new favorite watering hole.

Morelia

At Morelia, the refreshing frozen Mexican-style ice pops known as paletas are their strong suit. Their rainbow case of pops ranges in flavor from light and fruity to creamy and spicy. While we’re partial to the s’mores or the pineapple mint, it’s best to go for whichever stick catches your eye first.

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Dasher & Crank

As if you didn’t spend enough time looking at your Instagram feed, swing by Dasher & Crank to feel like you’ve walked right into it. Complete with millennial pink walls, a neon ice cream cone sign, tropical ferns, and catchy letter boards, this new Wynwood ice cream shop scoops a rotating lineup of 18 flavors, from raspberry wasabi to chocolate chipotle.

The Best Summer Activities

Do a doubleheader at the Pérez Art Museum and the Frost Museum

Instead of waiting for Basel to roll around, check out the latest exhibit at the Pérez Art Museum. Go for their extensive collection of modern and contemporary art from around the world, but hang around for the building itself: a three-story work by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron adjacent to Museum Park. Afterwards, walk over to the neighboring Frost Museum of Science to check out their latest interactive exhibit.

Hit the Wynwood breweries

To pass a sunny weekend afternoon, bounce around Wynwood’s burgeoning craft beer scene. On your search for the perfect draught brew, try local joints Veza Sur, Concrete Beach, J. Wakefield, and Wynwood Brewing. End your day at The Wynwood Yard to catch a live music sesh.

 Stroll around the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

The former winter villa of businessman James Deering is a hodgepodge of Italian Renaissance, Mediterranean Revival, and Baroque architectural styles. Perched on the Biscayne Bay in Coconut Grove, this expansive estate is an impressive example of early 20th century Miami opulence. Pack a picnic so you can enjoy the greenery over a leisurely lunch.

Eat Late Night Cuban food at Versailles

A Miami institution since 1971, Versailles is the city’s most renowned Cuban restaurant. Modeled after the Palace of Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors, the 275-seat dining room is decked out with golden chandeliers hanging from the ceilings and adorned mirrors on all of the walls. On the weekends, Versailles slings its signature fare—Cuban sandwiches (Cuban bread smeared with mustard and layered with ham, roast pork, swiss cheese, and pickles), fried sweet plantains, and croquetas—until 2:30am.

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Relax by the Pool and at the Hammam at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach

After ticking off our summer checklist, chances are you’ll be in need of serious downtime. We recommend a session at the hammam before camping out on a pool chair with a frosé (rumor has it that the drink was invented here). Never want to leave? Become a member and you won’t have to.

Writer
Lizzie Noonan
With Assistance From
Care of Chan