It’s no secret that the Magic City’s thriving cultural and culinary landscape offers much more than the usual suspects. Here, we uncovered seven hidden gems guaranteed to put a spin on your standard routine.
Nestled in a lush courtyard behind the Riviera Hotel, Moreno’s Cuba is a welcome escape from the hustle of South Beach. The brainchild of hotelier Nathan Lieberman and Latin Grammy award-winning vocalist Jorge Moreno, this Havana speakeasy-inspired locale boasts killer mojitos, traditional favorites like bistec palomilla and lechon asado, and live music every night plus frequent performances by Moreno himself. 318 20th St., Miami Beach, 305-538-7444
The next time you’re craving authentic Ital- ian cuisine, head to Villa Castelli, a new Surfside locale named for a small southern Italian town where general manager Ciro Costanzo was born and raised. Sicilian-born chef Gioacchino Sofia and Chilean-born chef Gonzalo Fuente Alba helm the kitch- en, and have joined forces to deliver an ever-evolving register of specialties ranging from house-made pasta with langosti- no shrimp, fresh prosciutto carved to order, to whole branzino filleted tableside. 9472 Harding Ave., Surfside, 805-763-8595
A recent addition to Miami Beach’s South of Fifth neighborhood, French 27 invites guests to embark on a culinary journey through all 27 regions of France. Chefs Andreas Trilk and Yann Rio created the extensive menu, which highlights classic French dishes such as duck confit, escargot, and steak frites, interspersed with Miami-centric eats like seasonal stone crabs and fresh ceviche. 850 Commerce St., Miami Beach, 305-764-3948
It’s not every day that you stumble into a gas station convenience store and notice that a quaint Spanish restaurant lies just beyond the snacks and lottery tickets. Beyond its surprising location, El Carajo is celebrated for its wide array of delicious fare—think homemade tostones, traditional paellas, and skirt steak with chimichurri—and an eclectic selection of wines from all reaches of the globe. 2465 SW 17th Ave., Miami, 305-856-2424
Stationed in an unassuming Alton Road strip mall under the guise “MARKET” is Asian-in-spired gastropub Drunken Dragon. At this hidden haunt, guests have the chance to experience a true taste of Korean barbecue with influences from Japan and Vietnam with veritable do-it-yourself tableside grilling in addition to delectable chef-prepared menu items like simmering bulgogi, peking bao, and kimchi carbonara. 1424 Alton Rd., Miami Beach, 305-397-8556
Distinguished only by an illuminated sign that reads “BAR”, you’ll have to be on the lookout to spot The Bar at 1306, a new watering hole for tasty craft cocktails and light bites. Envisioned by former Grand Central owners Brad Knoefler and Brian Basti, this cozy and unpretentious hide away is the ideal spot for an after-dinner nightcap or an intimate date night. As for the libations, which were created by Broken Shaker alum Virginia King, we suggest velvet swizzle, an inventive blend of rum, vel- vet falernum liqueur, lime, and tonic. 1306 North Miami Ave. Miami, 305-377-2277
Mouth watering Mexican street food in front and a clandestine speakeasy in the back? That’s exactly what you’ll find at South Beach’s hot spot, Bodega Taqueria y Tequila. After feasting on tantalizing tacos from a retrofitted airstream trailer, guests can slip through a secret door leading to a late night lounge where the ambience is elevated by impromptu graffiti sessions and live performances from local musicians and DJs. 1220 16th St., Miami, 305-704-2145