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An Insider’s Guide to Miami

In a monthly column produced for AFR’s Boss Magazine, we highlight the best of a city for biz visitors and sophisticated travellers alike. This month LUXE lovely Valeria Avirett dishes on her fave Miami hot spots.

I live near Calle 8 (the Cuban epicentre of Miami) and often start my day with a cafe con leche, a sweet and frothy coffee accompanied with a buttery toast or tostada from the Latin American Cafe. When I have company, I swing by Threefold Cafe, an Australian import serving healthy locally sourced breakfasts all day. To unwind after a busy day, there’s nothing like a glass of pinot at Marion or a pisco sour at Coya, both nestled in the Brickell neighbourhood, the financial hub.

Come the weekend, my family often heads to South Pointe Park for a picnic (first picking up some of the freshest ceviche in town from My Ceviche). Or we go north to Haulover Park to fly kites, take a dip in the ocean and enjoy a feast at my favourite Cantonese restaurant, King Palace in North Miami, on the way home.    

In A Nutshell

Exotic, flashy and sexy Miami is the gateway to Latin America. Although it is often considered as a destination for a mini shopping break, Miami has blossomed and is quickly becoming a major business hub attracting foreign investors and large investment groups (real estate prices are lower than other major cities in the US). Art Basel has also catapulted Miami to be a leading city for art and cultural development.

Where The Business Crowd Meets

The Brickell area is where business people congregate. Finance types prefer to dine at La Mar by Gaston Acurio, a solid choice for fresh ceviche and Peruvian fare housed at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Those looking for innovative dishes head to Alter, the best new restaurant in town. For those who love classics, Joe’s Stone Crab is an institution: best for early dinner unless you have serious connections.

A Few Hours To Spare

Head to South Beach to soak in the vibe and, if weather permits, take a dip in the ocean (beaches around South Pointe Park or off 5th Street are best). Or stay poolside and rent a cabana at The Edition hotel, a dreamy tropical setting inspired by 1950s Havana. If you’d rather stay dry, grab some fresh Mediterranean nibbles at Mandolin Beach, now opened at the Soho Beach House.

Tourists often flock to Miami for shopping, but do yourselves a favour and avoid malls at all costs. If you must get something, the Design District is now an enclave for global names in fashion. Gentlemen wanting a dashing look will find plenty to browse in the smart Supply and Advise shop located in Downtown. For the classic Cuban look, head west via Calle Ocho in order to find the very best linen and the most handsome guayaberas at Ramon Puig

Sleep, Eat, Play

Faena Hotel 

This art-deco jewel is whimsical and elegant. Alan Faena’s first venture in the United States. 
Faena Hotel, 3201 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach.

1 South Beach 

Nature meets nurture at this sprawling, eco-chic vision of clean lines, crisp whites, deep blues and greenery. 
1 South Beach, 2341 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach.


Down-home diner dishing up fabulous friend chicken and waffles, shrimp n’grits, and other yum calorific bites. 
Yardbird, 1600 Lenox Avenue, South Beach,


Multi-story space of candlelit lanterns and Egyptian wall hangings offering a fusion of mediterranean flavours. 
Byblos, 1545 Collins Avenue, South Beach.

Perez Art Museum 

Captivating Miamian, American and Latin American 20th to 21st-century art. 
Perez Art Museum, 1103 Biscayne Boulevard, Museum Park.

Fairchild Garden

An artfully maintained rainforest that brings horticulturalists to their knees. 
Fairchild Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables.

This article originally appeared on the Australian Financial Review, March 7, 2016.

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