A good friend recently told me young, rich, sophisticated relatives of hers were coming to town and asked what places I’d recommend for beautiful people watching and dinner. To come up with the best possible list I got some additional curating input from stylish man about town and Principal of Tara, Ink , Nick d’Annunzio and Suzy Buckley Woodward, former editor-in-chief of Ocean Drive ( now founder of chic online hat site, Shapoh — see my earlier writeup). Here’s the list of the top 10 restaurants in no special order:
1) Bagatelle – The international hot spot with locals in London, St. Tropez, St Barth’s, NYC, Sao Paulo, and now Miami. This restaurant not only has delicious food, but as the night goes on the party becomes livelier. Superman and Wonder Woman deliver magnum bottles of champagne to tables as the music gets louder while pretty women start dancing on their chairs. Real Housewives of NY Countess Luann DuEpps is fan.
2) Seaspice – On the Miami River, it offers a change of pace from the Beach and is undoubtedly a hot spot. You can come by car or better yet, by yacht. Leave your dingy at home. Sexy celebs like Beyonce, Ryan Philippe, Paris and Nicky Hilton Nadal, Sophia Vergara, and David Beckham frequent the restaurant.
3) Cecconi’s – International jet setters, especially a global fashion/media/music/art crowd, love Cecconi’s and its garden courtyard setting. Being located in the super chic Soho Beach House with three locations Miami, LA, and London makes this place a true hot spot. Expect to see celebs like Cameron Diaz and Rhianna, with people dining al fresco under the twinkle lights in the trees.
4) Prime One Twelve--Still one of the hardest reservations in town and expect to wait even with a reservation. Spot everyone from pop stars to Miami Heat players on any given night.
5) 27 at the Broken Shaker – 27 is right in the mix of the hipster hustle and bustle. With the hip Freehand Miami hostel upstairs you will always find like minded people traveling from all over the world. Enjoy a signature cocktail from one of their mixologists and have a seat in the nostalgic 1930’s home style restaurant. All the fish is locally caught and ingredients brought in from local farmers, making this a foodie hot spot.
6) Carpaccio and Makoto at Bal Harbour Shops – The reigning number 1 dining spot in Bal Harbour shops is Carpaccio and number two, Makoto for Japanese cuisine. It’s where the rich go to eat after spending tons of cash in Chloe, The Webster, de Grisogono, Nieman’s. Best place to people watch for high fashion and big jewels. At Makoto try to snag a table outside as inside it can be noisy.
7) Casa Tua– You will feel at home in this Mediterranean style villa, whether you are sitting inside or in the cozy library or the lantern lit garden. Make sure to make your reservations in advance because this place is always drawing a crowd with its ambiance and food. You can become part of the 250 member social club and make sure to never have to wait and enjoy the secluded upstairs bar. Filled with pretty women and wealthy men.
8) Hakkasan at the Fontainebleau, especially late night on the weekends because people en route to LIV nightclub eat there before.
9) Zuma– This downtown Miami restaurant is always on everyone’s must-go-to list. Zuma is an international sensation with hot spots in Dubai, Hong Kong, London, and even Istanbul. Japanese fusion at its best with a Zen dining experience. A favorite among Miami Heat players, Christian Slater and Jennifer Aniston.
10) Cipriani – The Italians always know how to make a lady feel glamorous. The sexy décor that makes you feel like you are in a beautiful old luxury streamliner is designed to make the guest the centerpiece. And everyone has a view of who is coming in the front door. Owner is an international playboy, so always the best looking super models.
Others in the running included new hot spot La Petite Maison, Baoli, Villa Azur, Juvia on the Beach, Il Gabbiano for the downtown power lunch crowd, and Prime Italian.