Miami Hot Spots from Sebastien and Sheila Centner
Our recent visit to Sebastien & Sheila Centner’s Miami ‘crash pad’ certainly showed us that this Toronto couple have made Miami their second home.
Since they spend so much time in Miami we asked Sebastien & Sheila to share with our readers their favourite restaurant and nightlife spots. Whether you are looking for high-end dining, late-night dancing, or just a casual spot to grab a bite and a beverage, this is the only list of spots you will need for your next visit to Miami!
As we’ve said previously, Miami has so much to offer that it really can appeal to just about any traveller. Sheila and I have grouped our personal pics under categories that make it easy to choose what appeals to you on your next visit to Miami.
Sega Fredo on Lincoln Road (South Beach) – $
Our absolute favourite spot in Miami. Perfect for a casual bite but mostly our spot for drinks early or late evening, the atmosphere is always buzzing and the people-watching right on Lincoln Road is second to none. Grab a lounge area and order a capiroska in true Miami Beach style as the DJ spins.
SAAM Lounge (South Beach) – $$$
If you’re looking for a more luxurious experience check out the SAAM Lounge in the new SLS Hotel in Brickell. This jungle like cocktail lounge features some of the coolest (and most flavourful) cocktails in Miami. My fave: The Jasmine Margarita with Volcan tequila, jasmine, grenadine, orange bitters and lime).
Juvia (South Beach) – $$$
This indoor-outdoor eatery features Peruvian dishes and while it really isn’t our cup of tea, it is a must drop-in for a drink with views overlooking Lincoln Road down to the Ocean.
Living Room @ Faena Hotel (South Beach) – $$$
Modelled after a south-american jazz lounge this late night spot features live music, inspired cocktails and dancing until the wee-hours. A perfect alternative to going to a club for those of us who turn to pumpkins after 2am.
Papi Steak (South Beach) – $$$
This newest outpost from Groot Hospitality opened with a splash hosting J-Lo’s birthday party just after Drake & his entourage rolled through a few nights before. Prices are high but not extravagant and they have managed to combine the quality of a great steakhouse with a vibrant but not overly club-like atmosphere. No question Papi Steak is going to be a hot reservation this winter, and well deserved.
Mr. Chow at the W Hotel (South Beach) – $$$
A classic must-try when in Miami Beach. Elegance is in abundance here as the Maitre D (Sebastien) sets the tone for your experience in one of the most beautiful dining rooms in Miami. Don’t miss the green chili prawns, the Peking Duck and of course the Mr Chow Noodles. And try and get a table in the middle of the room to be front-and-centre for when the noodles get made.
Cipriani’s (Downtown Miami) $$$
This Italian fine dining location combines superb service with dishes that never disappoint. Start your lunch or dinner off with the classic Bellini from Harry’s Bar, the original location in Venice.
Barceloneta (Sunset Harbour – South Beach) – $$
One of our favourite spots for casual dining. The tapas selection is outstanding especially when paired with one of their housemade sangrias.
Sushi Garage (Sunset Harbour – South Beach) – $$
Miami has more great sushi restaurants than any city I have ever visited, and Sushi Garage is no exception. Dishes are prepared with impressive attention to detail and flavours abound.
Kyu (Wynwood) – $$$
An Asian bistro that specializes in grilled and barbecue dishes that, despite sounding pedestrian, is known as one of the most spectacular dining experiences in Miami. Everyone may have Shishido peppers these days, but what Kyu does with them in the roasted cauliflower and goat cheese salad is outstanding!
Swan (Design District) – $$$
Another Groot Hospitality (new arrival late 2018) Swan is the place to spot celebs in town shooting or performing. While being a rapper or a model is not a prerequisite, you will surely be rubbing elbows with them if you head upstairs to the lounge after dinner for drinks and a few DJ sets.
Via Emilia (South Beach) & Via Emilia Garden (Wynwood) – $$
Nowhere in Miami will you see more love put into dishes than at either Via Emilia locations. Chef/Owner Wendy Cacciatore and his wife wear their hear on their sleeve when it comes to traditional Italian dishes and fresh pastas. Don’t take my word for it though, walk by either any morning and you will see through the windows chefs carefully rolling fresh pasts and gnocchi for that night’s service.
Ember (Design District) – $$
Imagine a french bistro and a steakhouse all rolled into a single dining experience and you have Ember. What we love about Ember is the foundation it has on wood-fired cuisine that to us always comes through in the flavour. The menu isn’t super extensive and you have to be a carnivore to like this place but if you are, you will be in for quite the treat.
Casa Tua Cuccina (Downtown Miami) – $$$
From the couple that brought us the restaurant and boutique hotel of the same name, incarnations of an Italian food-hall we have ever seen.
Drunken Dragon (South Beach) – $$
Inexpensive but amazing. This tiny Korean BBQ restaurant just off Alton Road is famous with the locals as the spot to meet up with friends over sharing dishes and cocktails.
Bodega (South Beach) – $
It’s basically a food-truck, so don’t expect anything fancy, but WOW are the tacos amazing. A tiny hole-in-the-wall that you can easily miss but our go-to for a snack in the afternoon or late night tacos. If you happen to be there late night check out the ‘port-a-potty’ blue door – it leads somewhere pretty cool if you can get past the bouncer after 11pm.
Mandolin (Design District) – $$
Get ready to feel transported to the Greek Isles as Mandolin marries beach vibes with traditional Greek dishes only steps away from the trendy Design District. The perfect setting for a casual lunch, start with the trio of dips then indulge in freshly grilled whole fish.
Cecconi’s @ Soho House (South Beach) – $$
While not new to Miami, Cecconi’s at Soho House offers the unique opportunity to dine within a garden setting but with a elegant twist. Serving classic Italian dishes, pizzas and pastas for lunch, the true gem is the Saturday and Sunday brunch. It is, hands-down, the best brunch on the beach.
Bagatelle (South Beach) – $$$
If you’re looking for a party, Bagatelle is the place. Their Sunday brunch starts out simply enough with dishes like Eggs Benedict or Belgian Waffles but look-out … as the afternoon progresses the blinds go down and the music goes up and the party kicks into high gear. When you finally roll out around 3pm it will feel like you’ve just left the club.
Kiki on the River (Downtown Miami) – $$
One the liveliest spots in Miami, there’s always a party going on at Kiki. Perfect for large groups, try and get a table by the outside bar where the bartenders will stage at least one session of ‘Zorba the Greek’ inspired bar-top dancing throughout the night.
Sea Spice (Downtown Miami) – $$$
Right next door to Kiki, Sea Spice offers a similar dinner-party style atmosphere with a more elevated dining experience. You have to try the Meli Melo Tartar Tower that combines tuna, salmon, crab and scallops. Things may not get as crazy as Kiki but the volume will get turned up!
Marion (Downtown Miami) – $$
American dining with Asian influences is how they describe their menu and while somewhat odd … it works. Atmosphere is upbeat and chic and if you are there on a Thursday for their dinner party soirée you are definitively in for a good time.