Where to eat, drink, and blow off steam between all the jewelry-buying at October’s LUXURY and JIS shows
So you’re planning six gorgeous days in Miami for the inaugural JCK LUXURY Miami show—Oct. 14–16 (the first day is invite-only, the last two are open to all registered buyers)—which conveniently overlaps with the always-anticipated JIS Miami show, Oct. 15–18, now in its first year under the JCK umbrella. But as the old adage goes: All work and no play makes Jack (the jeweler) a very dull boy. So we’ve rounded up a list of delicious lunch spots—most a stone’s throw from the Convention Center—decadent dinner settings, spectacular nightlife adventures, and only-in-Miami activities to fill your downtime. And while you’re at it, why stop at six days? Book an extra night at the SLS or Delano. The Delano Beach Club—site of the LUXURY opening night party on Wednesday, Oct. 14, incidentally!—is calling your name.
Joe’s Stone Crab
The wait at Joe’s Stone Crab is notorious—but the fresh-caught morsels are worth every minute. (photo: Rolando Diaz)
Florida stone crab season officially begins Oct. 15, which means you could be one of the first to taste them—dunked in drawn butter or Joe’s delicious mustard sauce—at South Beach’s most iconic restaurant. Note: Joe’s doesn’t take reservations, so get there early to avoid a wait. (11 Washington Ave.; 305-673-0365; joesstonecrab.com)
Step away from South Beach and visit true Miami with a trip to perhaps the most iconic Cuban restaurant on the planet. Versailles has been a staple of Calle Ocho (Eighth Street) since 1971. The platanos maduros (fried plantains) and camarones enchiladas (Creole shrimp) will transport you right to the island. Don’t forget some café Cubano to end the meal. (3555 S.W. Eighth St.; 305-444-0240; versaillesrestaurant.com)
The famous Sunday brunch party that has taken New York City by storm for years is now on South Beach. Somehow it seems more appropriate in sunny South Florida than in the Big Apple. If you like a high-energy brunch, then get ready to dance on tables while dining on dishes like spicy crab Benedict and le pain perdu. (2000 Collins Ave.; 305-704-3900; bistrotbagatelle.com)
For prime people-watching—think gym and tans—head to Ocean Drive (just a short walk from the Convention Center) and eat al fresco. We particularly like A Fish Called Avalon (700 Ocean Drive; 305-532-1727; afishcalledavalon.com), The Local House (400 Ocean Drive; 786-230-8396; localhousesofi.com), and News Cafe (800 Ocean Drive; 305-538-6397; newscafe.com) but restaurants line the street for blocks. Come thirsty and bring friends—you’ll want to slurp down one of the gigantic group beverages most establishments serve.
Bodega’s menu features Mexican classics like BBQ carnitas and the Mezcal-infused Don Diablo cocktail. (photo: Tim Graham/Corbis Images)
We know Miami is renowned for Cuban food, but it’s been lacking when it comes to Mexican cuisine until now. Drink a Mexican French kiss while feasting on barbecue carnitas or fried calamari tacos at this new spicy spot. (1220 16th St.; 305-704-2145; bodegasouthbeach.com)
If you are a food truck connoisseur, this is the best one in South Florida. From the blue cheese and bacon to the barbecue pulled pork melt, there’s an oooey-gooey pressed sandwich here for every cheese lover in the world. (7418 Biscayne Blvd.; 305-989-4019; mscheezious.com)
The doors at this provocative spot don’t even open until 6 p.m., so early birds need not enter. The Asian-inspired gastropub is especially fun for groups thanks to its Korean barbecue–style grilling tables. (1424 Alton Road; 305-397-8556; drunkendragon.com)
A steakhouse where the pretty people roam: Celebs can often be seen dining on the truffle mash with pinot noir sauce or the 48-ounce porterhouse for two. Not in the mood for meat? Try one of the inventive fish dishes like the jumbo lump crab–crusted grouper with wilted spinach and horseradish butter. (112 Ocean Drive; 305-532-8112; mylesrestaurantgroup.com)
Old school in the best sense of the phrase, The Forge has been around since the 1920s and, yes, it’s still roaring. The menu has been reinvented several times over, but continues to feature such signatures as the 2-pound lobster and the dry-aged prime New York strip “Super Steak.” (432 41st St.; 305-538-8533; theforge.com)
This nationally known chain takes Asian food to places you never thought possible. Some of our favorite dishes here are vegetarian: the wild mushroom lettuce wraps, the tofu clay pot in black bean sauce, and, for dessert, the coffee panna cotta. In other words, this is not your neighborhood Chinese restaurant. (4441 Collins Ave.; 786-276-1388 after 4 p.m., 877-326-7412 before 4 p.m.; hakkasan.com)
Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita
Why not venture off South Beach for a visit to downtown Miami’s newish Midtown area? One of the best things about this restaurant’s eclectic cuisine is the price. You can get an appetizer and entrée for under $25. Try to sit outside in the garden. (1000 S. Miami Ave.; 305-403-3103; doloreslolita.com)
Red, the Steakhouse
Red is frequently named one of the best steakhouses in Florida, so come for the steaks—but definitely stay for dessert. The house-made doughnuts are not to be missed: Our favorite was red velvet, and the chocolate raspberry melted in our mouth. (119 Washington Ave.; 305-534-3688; redthesteakhouse.com)
The best free activity in the city: Walk along the public beaches, or bring a bathing suit and jump in the water. Beach access begins at Ocean Drive and Fifth Street and stretches all the way up to 21st Street and Collins Avenue. Be sure to pack shoes that are good for sand, or be prepared to go barefoot!
South Beach Dive and Surf Center
If you have a few hours to spare, take the plunge and explore the wonders of the ocean. This dive shop rents scuba gear and arranges underwater tours. (850 Washington Ave.; 305-531-6110; southbeachdivers.com)
Pérez Art Museum Miami
Jonesing for a little cultcha? Designed by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, this celebrated museum houses modern and contemporary artworks from the Americas and the Caribbean. (1103 Biscayne Blvd.; 305-375-3000; pamm.org)
Art Deco Walking Tour
Whether it’s the Porterhouse at Prime 112 (above left), architectural gems like the Avalon Hotel in Miami’s Art Deco District (above), or underwater activities at the South Beach Dive and Surf Center (above right), Miami offers no shortage of things to see, do, and feast on!
Architecture aficionados won’t want to miss Miami Beach’s legendary Art Deco District. Stroll along Ocean Drive and admire 800 largely pastel-colored buildings, most built between 1923 and 1943. Pick up a map at the Art Deco Welcome Center for more info. (1001 Ocean Drive; 305-672-2014; mdpl.org)
Miami Beach Botanical Garden
Craving some serenity? This urban green space—filled with native plants, trees, and gardens—is a short hop from the convention center. Plus: The flowery spot offers free admission. (2000 Convention Center Drive; 305-673-7256; mbgarden.org)
A great diversion for nature lovers or travelers with kids: Originally named Parrot Jungle, birds are the real stars here, but now you can also roam with ligers, penguins, flamingos, and plenty of reptiles. (1111 Parrot Jungle Trail; 305-400-7000; jungleisland.com)
Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach
Miami Beach has a rich Jewish history, so it was fitting that this stunning museum was a project started by Holocaust survivors living nearby. The memorial features a series of outdoor spots that allow for moments of silence and reflection. (1933–1945 Meridian Ave.; 305-538-1663; holocaustmemorialmiamibeach.org)
The Hyde Beach pool party at SLS South Beach—bring your drinking liver.
You don’t have to be staying at the SLS South Beach to enjoy the hotel’s epic Hyde Beach pool party—a Sin City–esque gathering with an energetic mix of music and booze, including potentially wallet-draining tableside bottle service. (1701 Collins Ave.; 305-674-1701; slshotels.com/southbeach)
With a revolving list of the biggest DJs in the country, house music is the star at this circus-style, 27,000-square-foot SoBe megaclub. Grab your dancing shoes and shake it to some uhntz-uhntz. Not for the faint of heart! (136 Collins Ave.; 305-479-4426; storymiami.com)
Rose Bar at Delano
The Delano’s sleek Rose Bar promises to be a post-show hot spot during LUXURY Miami.
The hotel formerly frequented by Madonna hasn’t lost one bit of its charm. Relax in one of the cabanas and imagine what life would be like if you could have drinks here every day. It truly is a haven. (1685 Collins Ave.; 305-674-5752; morganshotelgroup.com/delano/delano-south-beach)
Because sometimes in the Miami heat, nothing is better than a frozen cocktail. Add in the amazing view and you’ve got the perfect ultracasual place to unwind. (760 Ocean Drive; 305-532-5650; wetwillies.com)
Wander around the iconic Fontainebleau hotel, then grab a drink at Liv. There might be a line and cover charge—$20–$100, depending on the DJ—but hey, you can’t put a price on hipness! (4441 Collins Ave.; 305-674-4680; livnightclub.com)
Don’t like the drama of clubs and don’t want to get dressed to the nines? This unassuming bar is for you. The locals say it’s the best on the beach. Happy hour runs noon to 8 p.m. every day. (124 Second St.; 305-532-9869)