For Miami, Wynwood District is what Williamsburg is to New York or Silverlake is to Los Angeles, it’s hip and getting hipper. The once-dangerous neighbourhood is now Miami’s epicentre for restaurants, independent theatres, music venues and art galleries. Wynwood’s regeneration includes Wynwood Walls, the world’s largest permanent art exhibit, and a boom in local cuisine. Here are ten local restaurants not to miss in Wynwood.
The tapas-style cornerstone of the Wynwood District, Wynwood Kitchen & Bar is surrounded by graffiti walls by famous international street artists such as Shepard Fairey, Aiko and Invader. It is home to a gallery space, as well as a common place for Saturday night al fresco dining and live music. Culinary recommendations are the steamed Brussels sprouts with bacon, chicken skewers with chipotle aioli and scallion; and sautéed clams with sausage, celery, caramelised onions, aji panca broth and sweet potato fries. There is also a selection of wine and beer to complement anything on the menu.
Joey’s, the Italian darling of the neighbourhood, also a vision of the late Tony Goldman, was constructed alongside Wynwood Kitchen & Bar. Located on a prominent corner in Wynwood, the restaurant showcases elegant design and ambience. The dining room at Joey’s is diverse. It can complement a post-evening outing of the performing arts crowd, or offer a more relaxed atmosphere on its outside patio. An ideal dinner at Joey’s would start with the beef carpaccio, a mix of arugula, shaved grana padano cheeses and a truffle mayo appetizer. Follow this with the gorgonzola tartufata pizza, which consists of gorgonzola cheese, walnuts and truffle oil topped with arugula. The classic spaghetti pomodoro is a classic entrée selection and wash it down with a rich Argentinian malbec.
Award-winning chef, Michael Shikany helms the wheel of Wynwood’s newest signature masterpiece, a 4,000 square foot warehouse-turned-restaurant constructed for epicureans. The Miami born chef experienced every stage of the business before opening Shikany, which offers a modern, minimalist atmosphere with a twist of classical sophistication. The neutrally toned room applies accents of copper, with light wood tables and transparent chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The menu is whimsical yet complex. The sous-vide baby octopus or the panko fried oysters should be tried, followed by the butter poached Maine lobster mac. For dessert, the creatively named ‘beet is on fire’, consisting of red beet sponge, roasted white chocolate, crème fraiche, yellow beet pop rocks, cassis sauce, and cajeta ice cream is a definite winner.
The two-storey refurbished house on 29th street borders Miami’s Midtown neighbourhood and is the popular go-to brunch spot known as Morgan’s. Family owned-and-operated, Morgan’s serves all natural dishes from the farm to the table. The restaurant’s interior is a breezy linen-and-leather white with mid-century accents, while the exterior is composed of a large southern style porch and outside terrace for dining. On Saturday or Sunday mornings the tables are lined with mimosas and bloody marys helping nurture bodies from the previous night. Ordered often are the eggs Benedict, homemade sticky buns and the chicken and waffle sandwich accompanied with a glass of freshly squeezed Florida orange juice.
Bar, Restaurant, Asian, Fusion, Japanese, Peruvian, Sushi, $$$
SuViche is Miami’s first pisco bar, serving 12 different infused pisco varieties. Chef Jaime Pesaque’s third restaurant offers a truly innovated Peruvian-inspired ceviche and Japanese dining experience. The small restaurant sits in a newly constructed plaza with sleek design features like terrazzo counter tops, light wood dining tables and hammock chairs that occupy a large outdoor patio. SuViche’s must-have menu items are the lomo saltado spring rolls, which consist of a crispy wonton skin and homemade huancaina sauce; the mixed seafood aji amarillo ceviche; the perfection sushi roll, made of crispy shrimp, cream cheese and real crab salad, topped with avocado and tempura flakes, garnished with spicy mayo and eel sauce; and a traditional pisco sour.
This colourful Latin kitchen’s claim to fame is their mofongo, a Puerto Rican plantain dish. The healthy and hearty restaurant houses local art in a modern space that feels similar to a one-storey loft. Located along a newly renovated section of North Miami Avenue, Jimmy’z Kitchen offers a selection of soups, salads and sandwiches alongside entrees like lean chicken breast with portobello mushroom and arugula. The ease of the varied menu makes this restaurant a straightforward Wynwood District favourite. With a global selection of wine and beer to accompany meals, Jimmy’z Kitchen can be enjoyed mid-day or for an evening happy hour.
Conveniently located next to Bardot, one of Miami’s best live music venues, Gigi is an urban Asian fusion restaurant that offers late-night party-goers and midday lunch diners an equally palatable array of Asian-meets-Southern cuisine. Located in a renovated warehouse space with windowed walls and no soundproofing, Gigi’s delivers innovative food, street art and a expansive food and drink menu. Don’t leave the restaurant without ordering the pulled pork brisket bao bun, the honey and bacon infused corn bread, or the udon soup, which is hard to find anywhere else in the city.
Enriqueta’s is a Miami landmark offering authentic Cuban cuisine in the northeastern corner of the Wynwood District. This hole-in-the-wall restaurant was a little known neighbourhood secret until it featured in the Miami Herald and Food and Wine. Meal prices are low and the food is full of flavour. The house-converted-to-diner is dressed with 1950s style aluminum and vinyl tables for those who wish to dine in. Enriqueta’s also offers a drive-up window for an easy pick-up meal. The favourites here are the pan con bistec (steak sandwich), croquetas (fried mashed potatoes) and coladas (shots of Cuban coffee with sugar).
Tagged with a name derived from an Oscar Wilde play, and run by two Argentinian sommeliers, this Argentinian tapas bodega serves each of its wall-to-wall bottles of wine for a small cork fee. The organic, artistic décor gives the non-pretentious gem a minimal sophistication, where good conversation can be heard over light background music. With comic strips lining the walls and a large window sans garage door, this dark, cozy room has plenty of natural lighting in the daytime. At night, local DJs are on-site for a weekend soiree and occasional live music guests can be seen here. Bunbury is a locale for urban dwellers seeking good food and harmonious sounds. Argentina is rumoured to make the best empanadas in South America, so pair one with a decadent glass of wine.
For dessert, this kosher, vegan and gluten-free bakery in the Wynwood District offers coffee, tea, sandwiches, soup, cakes and pastries. With a compelling story and business start, Bunnie Cakes is the brainchild of Mariana Cortez, a mother whose son is allergic to dairy products. One year Cortez struggled to find a cake for his birthday, so she created her own vegan recipe and the rest is history. Bunnie Cakes is a one-of-a-kind establishment in Miami, which helped it in landing a spot on The Food Network’s TV show Cupcake Wars. On the menu, one can find an array of kosher, vegan and gluten free donuts, cupcakes, chia pudding, pizza rolls, empanadas and stuffed biscuit sandwiches.