A Korean steakhouse with a Michelin star, new public art installations, and gardens with native plants all under the Metrorail: What’s new in the Magic City is listed below.
Miami, on the other hand, has grown during the pandemic, while many other cities have shrunk. Thousands of people moved to South Florida, where restaurants, attractions, and stores stayed open. Miami’s tropical shine seemed to be the perfect cure for being stuck inside.
“The pandemic made Miami’s stock value go up,” said Craig Robins, a real estate developer who has helped revitalize South Beach and other parts of the city in recent years. “Only in the Design District are two new hotels and eight new restaurants being built. All over the city, this growth is happening.”
The number of tourists is also going up: According to STR, the hospitality benchmarking analysts, there were 1,010,657 transiting passengers at Miami International Airport during the week ending May 21. This is a 20% increase from the same time last year, when there were only 841,892 passengers. For the same week, hotels sold 345,091 rooms, which is a 14 percent increase from the 301,648 rooms booked in 2019.
Both a steakhouse and a gem in a strip mall have Michelin stars.
At Cote, the only Korean steakhouse with a Michelin star in the world, having fun is just as important as the beef. The owner, Simon Kim, opened the Design District location in February 2021. It has psychedelic lighting and a red-light dry-aging room that doubles as an art installation. Serious meat eaters like the 10-course steak omakase, which costs $185 per person and is cooked at the table on smokeless charcoal grills and served with pickled vegetables from the season. The “steak and eggs” dish, which costs $58, has filet mignon tartare and caviar.
In Buena Vista, Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer’s Boia De, which has 27 seats and is in a strip mall that has been burned by the sun, just got its own Michelin star. The two chefs, who have worked at Scarpetta, Carbone, and Eleven Madison Park between them, make small plates (starting at $15) that are inspired by Tuscany and are simple and a little bit surprising. The best things to order are the crispy polenta sticks with marinated eggplant and the hangar steak tartare with tonnato sauce and crispy capers.
Eric Demby, who started Smorgasburg in New York, brought his outdoor food market to Wynwood in March when he saw that a lot of people who worked in restaurants were looking for work. In an email, Mr. Demby said, “We give food entrepreneurs a huge public platform so they can do their own thing with little money up front.” There are more than 60 vendors at the event every Saturday afternoon.
But Major Food Group, a hospitality company based in New York City that is known for fancy restaurants like Carbone and Dirty French, has had the biggest effect on South Florida’s food scene. Jeff Zalaznick, a partner in the group, was with his family in Miami in the spring of 2020 when the coronavirus hit that city. They extended their trip, and Mr. Zalaznick said he saw “an opportunity to raise the bar, to bring our style of high-energy fine dining to Miami.”
Major Food Group came through with a bunch of fancy restaurants with prices that go through the roof. First came Carbone Miami, which opened in South Beach in January 2021. It is a mix of Sinatra-era elegance and South Florida glitz, with dishes like spicy rigatoni ($33) and veal Parmesan ($69). Next, Israeli chef Eyal Shani brings Ha Salon, a dance party in Tel Aviv, to Miami. Then, Sadelle’s in Coconut Grove serves $125 bagel towers at brunch. The Dirty French Steakhouse sells $275 Wagyu Tomahawks, which are bone-in rib-eye steaks served with the whole rib bone. The restaurant is on Brickell Avenue and has zebra-print and velvet walls.
New art, shopping, and green spaces in cities
During the pandemic, the Design District neighborhood was both a cultural center and a place to go shopping. Public art by Zaha Hadid, John Baldessari, Marc Newson, and Buckminster Fuller drew both locals and tourists to an 18-block area with shops. In addition to new shops, there are also new works of art, such as a window installation by Argentine photographer Luca Fainzilber and two murals, “Interdimensional Portal” by Afro-Brazilian muralist Criola and “Baltimore’s finest: Mr. GirlYouCrazy and Dev, 2021-2022” by Amani Lewis.
As part of a public project in Downtown Miami called “The Underline,” 10 miles of empty land under the Metrorail system are being turned into gardens with native plants. From the Miami River to S.W. 13th Avenue, you can walk and look at the cityscape and functional art, like Cara Despain’s Ping-Pong tables with terrazzo tops that talk about rising sea levels.
Art Deco and Spanish-Mediterranean revival styles are seen in some hotels.
The Goodtime Hotel, which opened in April 2021 and has rates starting at $243, is a nightlife promoter David Grutman and an artist Pharrell Williams’ fever dream. Those who want to stay there won’t be disappointed. The 266-room hotel in South Beach was inspired by its Art Deco surroundings. It has vintage scalloped bar seating, hand-painted hothouse murals, and a 30,000-square-foot pool club with a DJ booth, which is full of scantily-clad millennials taking selfies.
Also in South Beach, the Esme Hotel is in a place that used to be an artist’s colony. Rooms start at $250 per night. With 145 rooms and five restaurants in eight Spanish-Mediterranean revival buildings, the hotel takes up an entire city block. Fun fact: Al Capone used to run a secret gambling business out of the main building of the property.
The busy area of South Beach is 25 minutes north of the $1,050/night St. Regis Bal Harbor, which is on a stretch of beachfront with sand dunes. Non-hotel guests can book one of the property’s private oceanfront day villas for an afternoon of peace and quiet.