The boyfriend of a good friend asked me to do a post on places to go where you can dress up. It got me to thinking that “dress up” restaurants are usually those for celebrations, and why not write about the best restaurants in Miami to celebrate. Drum roll please. Here’s my list — based on food, décor, service, attractive crowd and a “buzzy” atmosphere.
Thea’s Supper Club — You have to be flexible with your dates on this place because they’re only open one or two nights a month, but it’s worth it. Few people could pull off a sophisticated supper club that’s at the same time unpretentious and casual. That is, few besides Thea Goldman. And add to that an eclectic mix of people, very good Italian inspired food ,an intimate, romantic atmosphere (seats 40), and you have a winning formula. Interestingly enough, the location is part of the reason for the mix of people as it’s next to the Wynwood Arts District, south of the Design District with its fashionista crowd, near the courthouse, in a scientific building of the University of Miami Technology Center, and down from Jackson. Plus, there ‘s a three piece band playing “trova”, Cuban ballads from the 1920’s to 1950’s which suit the elegant theme of the evening.
Hakkasan – In asking friends which places would make their celebration list, they all mentioned Hakkasan. The decor is described as “haute Chinois” with seating areas of romantic, welcome small spaces and an international, well dressed cosmopolitan crowd that comes for the best Chinese food in Miami. As with most Chinese food, it’s made for sharing, which means it’s ideal for a celebration with a group of friends. They have a way with festive cocktails as well, and a seat at the bar before dinner makes for a perfect sendoff for the meal.
Red the Steakhouse – If your idea of celebration is a top of the line steak, luscious sides (especially the mac n’ cheese) and the best of American desserts, then this is the place. The rich deep red and black décor and soft lighting make for an elegant setting, the service is among the best in town, and the large, happening bar is, well, very happening. The wine list is quite good as well ,and the martinis, generous. What more do you need?
Zuma – This is a pick for lunch with its attractive crowd (dinner can be crowded and frenetic), buzzy atmosphere which still allows you to carry on a conversation, and Asian cuisine that never disappoints. Ingredients are top notch, the presentation is creative without being precious, and the service is attentive and friendly. You can also sit outside along the River, glorious on a beautiful day.
Other top spots include The Deck, Coya, Bagatelle, Quality Meats, and Seaspice.