By: Carla Torres
Miami’s Design District is living proof that if you build it, they will come. This once overlooked area of Miami has become more than just a neighborhood—it’s the pinnacle of luxury. A nucleus of design and architecture, the Design District has a distinctive sense of style and poise. From fashion powerhouses to elegant design showrooms, the Design District isn’t just well-heeled, it has an impeccable palate. Don’t leave without a meal at one of the neighborhood’s standout eateries.
James Beard Award-Winning Chef and restaurateur Michael Schwartz likes his ingredients locally sourced and farm fresh. With Michael’s Genuine, he made his mark in the Design District and started Miami’s farm-to-table movement. Pastry chef and James Beard Award finalist Hedy Goldsmith whips up whimsical desserts inside his kitchen that are not to be missed. With simple food served in an unpretentious, yet sophisticated setting, Michael’s sets the bar for Design District dining.
Dena Marino had big shoes to fill when she took over the former Fratelli Lyon space. The shoe fit perfectly because Marino’s MC Kitchen has accomplished in less than two years what many restaurants never will. Simplicity is the underlying theme at the rustic MC Kitchen, from its open kitchen and décor to its dishes that scream with flavor. Her perfectly poached eggs grazing black truffle bruschetta are just one of the chef’s many gifts. There’s a reason Esquire called MC Kitchen “not just the best and best-looking restaurant in Miami, it’s also one of the best in America.”
Just two blocks west of his flagship restaurant, Michael Schwartz tosses housemade dough and tops it with locally sourced ingredients before setting it ablaze in their wood-burning oven. At Harry’s Pizzeria, guests can order gluten-free local craft beer and pizza. Soups change daily and remain vibrant in color, and fries are made of polenta. It’s nothing you’d expect from of a pizza shop, and that’s the beauty of Harry’s.
The Cypress Room
Michael Schwartz hit the trifecta when he opened up his third establishment in the District with The Cypress Room. An interesting juxtaposition to his other two eateries, Cypress Room is intentionally elegant. A blue neon sign outside let’s you know you’ve arrived to an era that’s long gone. Inside, deer heads mounted on the walls prep your stomach for frog legs, one of Schwartz’s menu highlights and absolute must haves. But don’t skip out on the steak tartare with quail egg. Bon Appetit lauded the dish when declaring the restaurant one of the 50 New Restaurants in the country.
Inexplicable things happen at The Federal Food Drink & Provisions—pigs fly and ducks come in a jar. An ode to Americana, the Federal evokes a sense of patriotism with its warm and slightly countrified interior. The food is a charming departure from anything in the area. They also happen to have the best biscuits in the U.S. according to Food & Wine Magazine.
Mandolin Aegean Bistro
Mandolin is the Design District’s Greek goddess. Greek and Turkish fare is served in this 1940s house, which happens to be a restaurant. Its Mykonos-style, blue fence entrance paves the way to a garden enchanted by oak trees and lantern light. There are tables too, perfect for an intimate party of two or 10. Food is farm-to-table, and by that we mean from Mandolin’s own organic garden.
There are several reasons why Oak Tavern is special, starting with its Chef David Bracha, who got his first dose of Florida style cuisine under the tutelage of Norman Van Aken. A resident of the Design District for 15 years, and chef/owner of The River Seafood & Oyster Bar, Bracha now walks to work at his second establishment. His charming office looks less like a place of business and more like a midsummer night’s dream thanks to the majestic oak tree that envelops the outside patio. House cured duck prosciutto, bison carpaccio, and suckling pig are just some of the carnivorous options.
Buena Vista Bistro
The only French-inspired eatery in the Design District, Buena Vista Bistro was one of the neighborhood’s first spots to offer a memorable meal without the fuss. The menu is constantly changing, which is dependent on Chef Claude Postel’s daily morning visit to the market.
They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but at The District, one simply can’t help it. Exposed wood and brick add warm touches of personality to the industrial-like space, which manages to be both cozy and festive. Pan-America and Caribbean flavors permeate the Latin-inspired menu. Foie gras meatballs and deviled eggs with crabmeat illustrate the way The District does things differently.
Sometimes you just want a sandwich. One that’s hot pressed on ciabatta bread and oozing with brie and housemade pesto sauce. Everything here is housemade, including the soups, which change daily and range from cream of mushroom to tomato and basil. They also offer a wide range of salads and entrees all fresh made with natural ingredients.
Stay in Touch: Sign up for the Miami Insider enews to receive news, events and special offers.
Share the Love: We'd love to see your photos! Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and don’t forget to use the hashtag: #SoMiami.