The Hot Restaurant in Town

la petite maison

 

One of the “hottest” new restaurants in town is undeniably La Petite Maison Miami.  I’ve gone there twice for dinner on a Monday night and each time it was not only full, but they were turning over the tables twice in many cases.  It was a monied crowd  ((“older” money by Miami standards, as opposed to new money). I saw executives in financial services, lawyers, board members of art museums – you get the picture. And the first time when I was seated in a corner round table with a well starched, immaculate tablecloth illuminated by candlelight and surrounded by works of art, I had a flashback to the glamour days of New York in the 80’s, albeit  with patrons dressed more casually as we do here circa 2017.

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byblos miami
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High Marks for Byblos

Byblos has one of the most exciting menus I’ve seen in Miami in awhile. The restaurant is named for the Lebanese city that was a crossroads of the Middle East and varied civilizations over centuries. So think Eastern Mediterranean including Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Spain and Greece – its foods, wines and even teas. When we sat down to dinner in the upper level of two stories, a residential like ambiance with 17 foot high ceilings and fabric covered art panels of the Minoans, we could smell the Turkish barberi bread baking from the stone oven. Whatever we ate was uniformly delicious, unusually seasoned, yet with the right touch, and had us craving more. Not surprising that with food like this, the restaurant is a success in its two other locales — Toronto and Dubai — and more outposts on the way.
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o munaciello miami
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O Munaciello, Fave Neighborhood Pick

I’m often asked where to go for a casual bite with family or a group of friends, a place that’s reasonable and where you eat well,. Pizzerias often qualify, though they often lack style, and the other menu items are just ok. ‘O Munaciello 6425 Biscayne Blvd., in the heart of the MiMo District is my latest place to enthusiastically recommend. Not surprisingly, it’s from Florence — a leading pizzeria and full menu restaurant import. To add a special twist, the pizza master hails from a long line of Neopolitan restaurateurs and pizza makers, and the chef is from Genoa. And, as you’d expect from Italy, the place is casual and attractive.
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A Different Kind of Happy Hour

On Friday at 5:30 Palm Court, the principal outdoor courtyard in the Design District, was standing room only. People of all ages, and a local and international crowd, were seated around a stage with the full complement of The Miami Symphony Orchestra that abutted the iconic Fly’s Eye dome by Buckminster Fuller. Others looked over from the two story balcony through sea green glass, beside shops from the biggest names in luxury.And still others were just listening to the music from the café that’s part of the new Estefan restaurant. Everyone was loving it. This different Miami happy hour. And The Palm Court Performance Series is free. Plus, thanks to the new restaurant and to bars strategically placed around the courtyard, you can enjoy a mojito, glass of wine, or other beverage while listening to the musical sounds. Next concert, this Friday April 14.
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Wynwood Shopping Discoveries

Wynwood continues to move upscale. Happily, that doesn’t mean yet another area for global luxury brands or even other brands you see everywhere. Instead, I’m witnessing what happened with New York City’s SoHo area as it moved from bohemian to quality, unique offerings. But back to Wynwood, first came Alter, then Montreal fashion designer Marie Saint-Pierre, Ilesteva and some other shops I wrote about last year. A recent “recon” (as in reconnaissance) mission to the neighborhood uncovered new Wynwood shopping finds including an Argentine home store that would be at home in the Hamptons, a men’s store that would do fashion forward guru Tyler Brule of Monocle magazine proud, and a perfumery with unusual niche offerings. Plus, a permanent home for Salty Donut.
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Fashion Spotting: Miami’s Emerging Designers

Miami is giving birth to more fashion design talent than most people would ever realize. I expected to see some exciting fashions at the annual show of work by students at the Miami International University of Art & Design, but was frankly blown away by what I saw. The show featured over 70 garments for women and men designed by seniors and other talented students who were chosen to exhibit based on their skill and creativity. Here’s a not to be missed photo gallery of select award winners and other favorite fashions for women and men.
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Saffron Supper Club

Lifestyle experiences in travel, food, drinking – you name it, are a major trend. Dining experiences have been around for around five years, some “underground”, such as Cobaya where the venue is a surprise, others that revolve around visiting “name” chefs, and still others with a theme like “Diner en Blanc” where guests dress in white, the décor is white, and you bring a picnic. The latest one on the scene in Miami is the Saffron Supper Club with several novel twists – it explores the food and culture of Persia and the Middle East and there’s a cultural component such as poetry, music, performance or storytelling. There are two dinners coming up in April, so you can give the club a try soon.
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