South Beach may be the official hub of Art Basel Miami Beach, the contemporary art world?s biggest brouhaha (December 2?5), but in the last few years, the more adventurous shows—and Miami?s new wave of food and drink—are all happening on the mainland, in an area that stretches from Wynwood through Midtown to the Design District. Escape the sandy madness for an afternoon with these vibrant urban alternatives.
For lunch, jostle for a spot at longtime local favoriteEnriqueta?s Sandwich Shop (1) (186 N.E. 29th St.; 305-573-4681). Their Cuban-style sautéed chicken steak really pops with a little oil, vinegar, and fresh lime juice, slurped down with a mango shake.
THE DESIGN DISTRICT
Sra. Martinez(2) (4000 N.E. Second Ave.; 305-573-5474) anchors the area?s flourishing foodie scene in a former post office. Dine downstairs on an almost chocolaty braised oxtail with mascarpone cheese or canoodle over sweetbreads with sticky oranges in the intimate nook bar. If all this food makes your clothes a smidge too tight, dart to En Avance(3) (161 N.E. 40th St., Suite 101; 305-576-0056) for Yigal Azrouël jackets, colorful sweaters by Loden Dager, and slick kicks by Tretorn, or head a few doors east to high-end French import Maison Martin Margiela(4) (3930 N.E. Second Ave., Suite 101; 786-718-1931), a former Basel pop-up made concrete this year.
Top Chef contestant Jeff McInnis?s Gigi(5) (3470 N. Miami Ave.; 305-573-1520) offers slick Asian diner fare—Florida snapper ceviche, a cakelike short rib meatloaf with soy molasses?—with the best seating right at the bar. For booze, head to the back entrance of Bardot(6) (34th St. and N. Miami Ave.; 305-576-5570), a shadowy mélange of couches, oriental rugs, naughty paintings, and innovative cocktails, like the gingery Honey Mule. If Basel brings door hassle, Vlada Lounge(7) (3215 N.E. Second Ave.; 305-381-5015) is an easy alternative—and the only gay bar in the area. Like the New York City original, it has 25 infused vodkas lined up in vats, including kiwi, dill, and a spicy horseradish used for a vigorous bloody mary.