Thousands of people descend on Miami every December for the world-famous Art Basel fair. The city vibrates, paintings and sculptures are bought and sold and the restaurant scene lights up like bulbs on a Christmas tree. When you’re sunning by day and partying at night, remember: 1.) The Art of Black Miami festival runs concurrent with Basel. 2.) Miami’s amazing restaurants make the city a food mecca all year long!

Bodega Taqueria y Tequila

Join the South Beach crowd that hovers outside Bodega’s neon-lit, food-truck facade. Order the  amazing tacos, burritos and other Mexican quick-service dishes. What’s this south-of-the-border cuisine’s secret sauce? Multiple layers of heat (peppers) and crunchy textures (Chicharróns). After 6 p.m., a clandestine blue door leads to a 2,448 sq. ft speakeasy cocktail lounge where the Mexican beer, tequila and mezcal cocktails flow like a river until 5 a.m.! Come for Happy Hour 6-8 ($2 tacos; ½ price drinks). Enter before 10 p.m. to skip the velvet rope. 

Our Picks: 1.) Quesadilla Con Rajas. 2.) Carnitas Tacos (Pulled Pork, Red Onion, Cilantro, Cuban Mojo). 3.) Nutella Paletas (Brightly colored popsicles)

Juvia

Save this rooftop/penthouse restaurant for a special, memorable evening. Then, gaze at the gorgeous panoramic pink/orange sunset views. The sky above. The Atlantic Ocean in the distance. When you’re through gasping at the wonder of Miami’s scenery, concentrate on the food. Your taste buds will be as fulfilled as your eyes when you dine on the delectable trinity of French, Japanese and Peruvian cooking styles. A very romantic and heavenly-high dining experience.

Our Picks: 1.) Japanese Hamachi Espuma or Lobster Ceviche. 2.) Seared Foie Gras.  3.) Angus NY Strip Steak or Seared Tuna (sashimi grade).

Ortanique

Your lasting impression of this Coral Gables district restaurant will be: “This is some of the best-tasting, most sophisticated Jamaican cuisine on the planet.” Every morsel, from appetizer to dessert is a study in refined cooking that puts ingredients, flavor and presentation first. Proprietor Delius Shirley (co-owner Cliff Hotel in Negril, Jamaica) and wife/chef/co-owner Cindy Hutson have a created a consistently stellar menu and a friendly atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re sitting in their stately island home. 

Our Picks: 1.) Start with the Ortanique Chardonnay and Jumbo Lump Crab Cake. 2.) Dine on the savory West Indian Style Bouillabaisse. 3.) End with Sweet Potato Bread Pudding.

House of Mac

The hip-hop vibe is so strong at House of Mac you can feel it before you walk in the door. Bounce to the reggae/soul playlist. Order up some of the best tasting Mac & Cheese you’ll ever eat. It’s no wonder the Williams sisters, Rick Ross and Pitbull get their soul food fix here. Derrick Turton (aka Chef Teach) keeps his Overtown neighborhood restaurant as homey and humble as the lines-around-the-block food truck that started his fame. Dig in. Chicken, burgers, thin crust pizza.

Our Picks: 1.) Fried Chicken Wings. 2.) Show some love for the M&C and try the Lobster Mac & Cheese. The Jerk Pasta rocks too. 3.) Crown it all with Red Velvet Cake.

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