Beyond the umbrella-lined beaches and Art Deco architecture of South Beach, Miami is cementing its reputation as Florida’s cultural and culinary capital.
For those who haven’t visited in a minute, some of the recent changes Miami has undergone may come as a surprise. The Design District, which for years was a maze of traffic cones and construction dust, is now brimming with fashion boutiques and places to stop and grab a cup of coffee, a taco or a scoop of local soft-serve ice cream. A $500-million investment to get ahead of rising sea levels has left the roadways of Miami Beach repaved and less prone to flooding — an especially welcome change in South Beach’s buzzy Sunset Harbour neighborhood, where the tables of locally beloved restaurants like Pubbelly Sushi and Stiltsville Fish Bar spill out onto the sidewalks.
Meanwhile, cultural capital has poured into the region, bringing with it new museums like Frost Science downtown and the Institute of Contemporary Art in the Design District, complementing the annual Art Basel Miami Beach fair that arrives each December. Then there is Brightline, a new high-speed rail service, which zips passengers from Miami to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in less time — and with less aggravation — than it takes to drive those routes on Interstate 95. The project’s next phase will extend the line all the way to Orlando.
Of course, Miami’s postcard-perfect beaches, Art Deco hotels and world-class restaurants — now run by a new generation of talented and diverse chefs — are all still here to enjoy. You might just find that there’s more to fill the hours between meals and spa treatments than ever before.
This Peruvian sushi kiosk inside the St. Roch Market in the Miami Design District is a true family affair. Run by the 26-year-old chef Val Chang, her older brother, Nando, and their father, Fernando, Itamae is a study in balance: Contrasting flavors, textures and temperatures come alive in inventive ceviche, fish bowls and rolls. In the fan-favorite Lost in Translation roll, creamy avocado and zippy aji amarillo play off fresh tuna and salmon while crunchy fried quinoa pops in every bite.