WThis is a companion story to the Miami Beach Convention Center Spotlight in the September/October issue of ECN.
Within walking distance of the MBCC, the restaurant choices include 13 Mediterranean, 12 American, nine Italian, nine Japanese, nine International, four French, four steakhouses, three seafood, two Spanish, two Pan-Asian as well as an Argentinean, Brazilian, Chinese, Cuban, Korean, Peruvian, Southern, Thai, and a vegan/vegetarian restaurant. And many of them are participating in Miami Spice—a restaurant promotion in August and September that features a three-course meal with signature dishes created by world-renowned chefs for $23 at lunch/brunch or $39 at dinner. Best bets (with lots of great Yelp reviews) include Safron Mediterranean Grill, 1049 Washington Ave.; Pane & Vino (Italian) 1450 Washington Ave.; Osteria Del Teatro (seafood/Italian), 1200 Collins Ave.; Yardbird Southern Table & Bar (soul food), 1600 Lenox Ave.; Otentic Fresh Food Restaurant (French), 538 Washington Ave.; and Lola Restaurant & Grill (Argentinian/Italian steakhouse), 1223 Lincoln Rd.
There’s 85 hotels within one mile of the MBCC—and nearly all of them are stylish and sophisticated, many of them are boutique hotels and feature Art Deco architecture. The National Register Art Deco District is located in the heart of South Beach from 6th to 23rd Street and it’s one of the largest collections of Art Deco architecture in the world. But I prefer to head two miles up the street to the heart of Millionaire’s Row and the storied Eden Roc and Fountainbleu hotels. In 1952, hotelier Ben Novack purchased the Firestone Mansion for $2.3 million to build one of the most opulent and magnificent hotels in the world, and the Fountainbleu has been one of the most historically and architecturally significant hotels on Miami Beach ever since. Its signature features included a 17,000-sq.ft. lobby with the legendary “Stairway to Nowhere,” six acres of formal gardens designed to replicate Versailles and thousands of dollars in antique furnishings to convey the hotel’s French period theme. Hollywood appearances include Goldfinger, The Bellboy, Scarface, The Specialist, The Bodyguard, Midnight Cowboy, and Police Academy 5. Tony Soprano even stayed there in one episode. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the owners spent $1 billion and 2 and a half years in renovations, reopening the 1,504-room property in November 2008 to rave reviews. And the Eden Roc, next door, has a similar story since owner Harold Mufson was partners with the owner of the Fontainebleau Hotel before they parted ways and he hired the same architect (Morris Lapidus) to build a luxurious hotel right next door (and started a feud that ended up in the Supreme Court).
The Miami Beach Botanical Garden, a 2.6-acre urban greenspace is right next door to the MBBC at 2000 Convention Center Dr., while Jungle Island, an 18-acre zoological park, has some of the world’s rarest and most exotic animals and is located between downtown Miami and South Beach. Or if the water is more your style, Thriller Miami Speedboat Adventures at Bayside Marketplace, 401 Biscayne Blvd.in Miami, are high-speed boat tours that go to the ocean and you can see Port Miami, Star Island, Monument Island, Fisher Island and South Beach. Or take a relaxed cruise with Island Queen Cruises and enjoy a narrated bilingual sightseeing cruise along Millionaire’s Row. Or Ocean Force Adventures will take you adventure sightseeing with local guides aboard a high-performance Zodiac RIB (boat) with only six passengers exploring Biscayne Bay. Or swim with the dolphins at the Miami Seaquarium, 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, in Miami.
This story originally appeared in the September/October issue of Exhibit City News, p. 60. For more pictures and original layout, visit http://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecnflipbook_septemberoctober_2018_o?e=16962537/64174552