The Gourmet Guide
In the final instalment of our partnership with Santos de Cartier, we explore Miami’s top foodie haunts
Miami is a meeting place, a city where cultures come together. You see this on every street and in every shop and restaurant. The reason is simple: geography. The last city on the southern tip of the Florida peninsula, it is just 90 miles from Cuba, and has long been a gateway between North and South America. It is, then, a melting pot, a place where Cuban culture happily jostles with American, and Peruvian sits just across the street from Nicaraguan. And that has meant, in turn, that Miami has one of the richest dining cultures in the US. It is a gourmand’s dream.
To help you make the most of these culinary riches, Santos de Cartier sunglasses and MR PORTER have come together to produce the ultimate guide to the Miami food scene.
FORTE DEI MARMI
When it was announced a few months ago that Michelin-starred chef Mr Antonio Mellino was to make the jump from his Amalfi Coast restaurant to Miami, the city’s dining classes went into overdrive. Advanced tables became like gold dust at the new Tuscan-style restaurant, which opened in January – and little wonder. Mr Mellino’s Quattro Passi restaurant in Nerano is considered one of the best on that corner of the Italian coast – and is known for the quality of its ingredients, the precision of the cooking, and the well-dressed sophistication of his clientele.
The Miami outpost is little different. We love the interior, designed by Milan-based Mr Henry Timi, as much as we like the plant-lined terrace, which is the perfect place to wear your Santos de Cartier sunglasses. Yet, all that pales in comparison to what comes on the plate. The menu showcases locally sourced organic produce and runs the gamut from Italian favorites such as tagliolini with stone crab and cherry tomatoes to a Miami speciality, freshly caught red snapper. If you want a little slice of Italy on Ocean Drive, then this is your place.
The first thing you notice when you pass through the doors of Estiatorio Milos is the fresh fish. Great piles of it, spread like treasure over ice. Not just familiar fish such as Dover sole or cod, but fish you can’t quite name, which the patient waiter explains are fagri, milokopi, tsipoúra and skorpina. This is why most people come to chef Mr Costas Spiliadis’ Miami institution. The freshness of the catch, the care with which it is prepared and served, the restaurant is unmatched in the city. But it is not simply that which draws the crowds to this 200-seat restaurant on 1st Street. This Mediterranean-style menu also takes in a mean meze, a whole list of salads, plus its famed deep-fried courgette flowers. So, sit back, let the waiter guide your choice, and revel in an evening in the best Greek restaurant this side of Athens.
Nautilus Cabana Club, Nautilus South Beach
Since its opening in 2015, Nautilus South Beach has drawn plaudits from far and wide. The attractions of the hotel are numerous: the vast square pool lined with trees, the manicured gardens and the well-stocked marble bars are just a few, but greater than all these is the Cabana Club. The restaurant, all dark wood accents and mustard yellows, spills out onto a huge 1960s-style terrace (think retro rattan chairs and capacious scalloped-edge banquettes). The food, which is served all day from breakfast to dinner, is a happy marriage of southern French styles with Miami ingredients. We like the snapper ceviche with aji amarillo, red onion and cilantro as much as we do the mussels and saffron aioli with grilled sourdough (and on a cheat day, the aptly named double-patty Nauti burger). Be warned, though: at brunch the queue of young well-heeled travellers down from New York can snake out the door, so be sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment. If the worst comes to the worst, consider visiting continent-spanning Japanese restaurant Zuma, another favourite of ours.