MIAMI – Happy 305 Day!
For some, 305 loyalty is a lifestyle. Miami's area code is on tattoos: "305 till I die," "305 girl" and "305 state of mind." Adventurous Latin American expats fluent in Spanglish rule the area. Pitbull and Dwyane Wade are royalty and the AmericanAirlines Arena is their palace.
Here is a list of lunch and dinner spots that honor the spirit of the 305:
1. The competitive fine dining scene forces restaurateurs to innovate or die. There is a new restaurant in Edgewater touted as "a love letter to Miami" that seems like it could be here to stay. Amara at Paraiso counts on its glorious view of Miami's Biscayne Bay, and the impeccable genius of James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Schwartz. His restaurant Michael's Genuine Food & Drink in the Design District, a glitzy area in Miami's Little Haiti, recently celebrated 10 years.
2. Don't let the name fool you. There is nothing lavish about Versailles, a restaurant in Miami's Little Havana, and although some 305 residents consider it a tourist trap, the place is a beloved landmark. There is no better place to experience a Cuban colada, while listening to others chat about politics. The spot's regulars include passionate Cuban abuelitos who could have interesting stories about shaking hands with John F. Kennedy, while plotting to get rid of Fidel Castro. If you have never had a colada, keep in mind two cups of Cuban coffee are enough to fuel all of the players of the Miami Heat. That's why the espresso is served in mini cups at the window.
3. Takeaway food at the Palacio de los Jugos, a market in Miami's Flagami area, offers Latin American and Caribbean flavors that come in with a coupon for your cholesterol medication. There are dishes with variations of fried and grilled pork, and the sweet and creamy Mamey fruit juice is their specialty.
4. The menu at Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar and Latin Grill in Miami's Coconut Grove includes dishes that are inspired on two of the most popular Latin American cuisines -- Mexican and Peruvian. The quick lunch date restaurant is near the Peacock Park and serves a mean flan, the Spanish creamy custard dessert that is served all over Latin America.
5. When it comes to crab and Florida's signature Key lime pie, there is no better place that Joe's Stone Crab in Miami Beach. It opened in 1913 and has a take away market. Other signature items include Lobster Ruebe and their Soy Truffle Tuna Ceviche.
6. Happy Hour is best at Area 31, a hot spot at the EPIC in downtown. They serve late-night food with a view of the area where the Miami River meets Biscayne Bay. The other spots with the best views of Miami are the Rusty Pelican, La Mar by Gaston Acurio and Sugar at EAST Miami.