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Miami

Mr. Harper's Travel Guide

From the classic splendor of Coral Gables to the parade of vanities that is South Beach, few American cities are so vibrantly beautiful — and so profoundly aware of it. Miami legally belongs to the United States, but it's also the cultural capital of Latin ...

From the classic splendor of Coral Gables to the parade of vanities that is South Beach, few American cities are so vibrantly beautiful — and so profoundly aware of it. Miami legally belongs to the United States, but it's also the cultural capital of Latin America, and the lingua franca here is Spanish in all its myriad accents: Cuban, Nicaraguan, Colombian, Puerto Rican. The last decade has seen the ascendancy of several cultural institutions, including the symphony and Basel Art Fair, and a resurgent downtown in the Design District. Outside of the city, several lavish resorts offer self-enclosed experiences popular with families and those looking for some straightforward rest and relaxation.

bird icon Recommended Luxury Hotels in Miami

All Andrew Harper-recommended hotels offer impeccable accommodations and high levels of personal service. Only the best of the best make our list, so we rate them on a scale from bird icon 90 to 100.
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Best Restaurants in Miami

For a city beside the sea, Miami has surprisingly few good seafood restaurants. The menu at Mandolin draws on the cuisines of Turkey and Greece. In this pleasant, light-washed space, look for mezzes such as the Greek sampler of tzatziki, eggplant purée and taramasalata, or marinated grilled octopus. The simply delicious mains might include fresh whole fish grilled with olive oil, lemon and oregano; a classic moussaka; or grilled lamb chops with an orzo pilaf.

4312 N.E. Second Avenue Miami $60

Michael Schwartz’s airy, modern bistro is a Design District favorite. Schwartz cites Alice Waters as an inspiration, and his creative menu emphasizes unpretentious, locally sourced dishes at reasonable prices. It changes frequently, but look for selections such as house-made duck confit with orange marmalade, frisée and spiced pumpkin seeds; stracciatella with heirloom tomatoes, basil and extra-virgin olive oil; and slow-roasted and grilled Harris Ranch beef short rib with roasted cipollini onions, romesco sauce and hazelnuts. 

130 N.E. 40th Street Miami $55

This restaurant on Biscayne Bay is the Southern sister of esteemed Il Mulino in New York. Look for classic appetizers such as clams casino and arugula salad. The terrific pastas include a fine spaghetti alla carbonara and fettuccine alla Bolognese. The array of main courses features dishes such as veal saltimbocca, chicken scarpariello and roasted branzino. Service is excellent. Closed Sunday.

335 South Biscayne Boulevard Miami $75

Small-plate aficionados will be delighted by the Nuevo Latino flavors at this bright and simple space in South Beach. To begin, an astonishing variety of ceviches might include salmon with white soy sauce, citrus juices, chili-spiced cucumber, tarragon, red onion and crispy garlic. A starter could be the chicharrón plate, featuring crispy rock shrimp coated with rice and corn flour in a sweet-and-spicy sauce with micro cilantro. Among the main courses, you might find filet mignon cut and grilled churrasco style. 

The Sanctuary Hotel 1745 James Avenue Miami Beach $65

A makeover has taken the signature restaurant of The Biltmore in Coral Gables from stuffy to stunning. The seasonal menu is as contemporary as the décor. Look for starters such as king crab with carrots, English peas, cipollini onions and grissini; or sea urchin custard with poached langoustines, golden osetra caviar and a Granny Smith apple gelée. Main courses might include Alaskan black cod poached in coconut milk with a sweet potato degustation and curry; or Japanese Kobe beef tenderloin with a confit of baby potatoes, tomatoes, green asparagus, spring onion and diable sauce. Closed Sunday and Monday.

The Biltmore 1200 Anastasia Avenue Coral Gables Four-course menu, $95; six courses, $115; 11-course chef's menu, $195
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