Posted December 9, 2015
By JORDAN COYNE
MIAMI – If you’ve ever seen a map of Miami’s many neighborhoods and districts, you’ve probably wondered how the Magic City manages to encompass so many different cultures. When visiting Miami, the best way to navigate the different areas and get the most out of your trip is to eat and drink all the city has to offer. Each district boasts unique nightlife and cuisine that’s sure to give you an accurate taste of the community and its people.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Miami on Friday, you can join the masses of locals and college students that flock to Monty’s every Friday rain or shine. The casual restaurant and bar seats up to 700 people both inside and outside, underneath a plethora of straw huts/awnings, and right next to the marina. The outside also includes two bars and live bands that are sure to get you dancing on the floor. Monty’s runs happy hour daily from 4 to 8 p.m. featuring a cash-only raw bar and half-off drinks, specifically their rum-based Painkillers. The parking lot next to the restaurant is a nightmare, so plan on parking in the garage that’s a half block up the hill and Monty’s will validate your parking.
It would be a crime to visit Miami without trying some of the area’s best Cuban food, making a trip to Versailles an absolute must. The restaurant is one of the main attractions of the famous Calle Ocho in Little Havana and a staple of Cuban cuisine in South Florida. The spacious restaurant delivers big flavors and authentic cooking, and the waiters will make sure you’re fed and full before leaving. Even more importantly, however, the restaurant also serves as a gathering place for the large Cuban exile community. When Versailles opened its doors in 1971, it quickly became the “unofficial town square” of Little Havana. Now, it is often referred to as the World’s Most Famous Cuban Restaurant.
Anyone looking for the traditional bougie Miami experience, cannot leave South Beach without attending Prime Fish or one of its sister restaurants (Prime 112, Prime Italian and Big Pink). Prime Fish offers an upscale dining experience with some of the freshest seafood and steaks you will ever devour. The menu features a raw bar, assorted caviars and a la carte fish on a plate. While the meal might burn a hole in your pocket, the live piano playing, intimate dining area and world-class food are certainly worth the expense.
Those looking to see the artsy side of Miami must take a stroll through Wynwood’s Art District before stopping by Lagniappe House, one of the area’s hidden gems. Customers enter the tucked away venue through what appears to be a small house in the middle of the city. Upon entering, you’ll be met with nightly live music, second hand home furniture and an extensive wine selection. As you continue through the restaurant, you’ll walk outside to find the grill cooking up BBQ on the right. And on the left, you’ll find what looks to be an endless backyard of assorted lawn furniture. The canopy of string lights combined the with humble furniture create an atmosphere similar to that of a small hippy village (occasional smells of marijuana included). This laid-back venue is perfect for anyone looking for a low-key ending to a day of adventure.
If You Go
What: Monty’s Seafood Bar & Grill
Where: 2550 South Bayshore Dr., Miami, Fla. 33133
When: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday
What to Order: Fried calamari and a Painkiller #3 (PK3)
Where: 3555 SW 8th St., Miami, Fla. 33135
When: 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 a.m. Saturday
What to Order: Chicharrones and a carafe of sangria
What: Prime Fish
Where: 100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, Fla. 33139
When: 5:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. daily
What to Order: Scallops and cognac butter with a side of grilled asparagus
What: Lagniappe House
Where: 3425 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, Fla. 33137
When: 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightly
What to Order: BBQ salmon and a bottle of merlot