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Altima Miami Series:

A Local’s Guide for a Night Out

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Where to Eat & Drink When You Find Yourself in Palm Beach’s Colorful SoFlo Counterpart

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It’s no secret that South Florida is changing every day – for better or for worse. One of the biggest changes that we’ve seen for the better is the ever increasing popularity of the Brightline. This glossy railway gets you to Miami in just over an hour, no matter what the 95 looks like. It also offers wine, cocktails and snacks for you to indulge in during your trip (while you snicker to yourself thinking of everyone else stuck in traffic). Think of it like a first-class airline ticket, on land (and much cheaper).

So, whether you’re giving the Brightline a shot, in town for business or a day-trip, here’s my first guide to enjoying the Magic City like a local.

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Old’s Havana Cuban Bar & Cocina – Little Havana

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Walking into Old’s Havana in – you guessed it – Little Havana, is about feeling. The local band playing Cuban classics in the small corner near the entrance – as if greeting you when you walk in. The drummer toting an unlit cigar in his mouth. The bartop lined end-to-end with Collins glasses filled with sugar and mint, readying for a night of slinging the most perfect mojitos in Miami. If you’ve romanticized 1950’s Cuba and are still hoping to find it in Modern Day Miami, this place is sure to make you feel like Hemingway at El Floridita. All of the food here is great but don’t skip the croquetas because they’re some of the best this town has to offer. Which given these crispy, velvety logs of goodness are absolutely ubiquitous in Miami, is no easy feat.
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Jamon Iberico Pata Negra – Downtown

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Located on the ground floor of a condominium complex in Downtown – this (very) understated, old-world Spanish restaurant really is a hidden gem. Come here to feed your soul and delight in rare no-frills frivolity, with a flight of Spanish tapas and $7 glasses of Tempranillo. Make sure to leave room for one of their paellas – classically served in piping hot cast-iron skillets. The food here is made with and tastes like love. It will be one of the best meals you’ll have in Miami and Executive Chef, Felipe, will make sure of it. When he’s not stirring paella with an 8-ft boat oar, he’s personally greeting every table in the restaurant himself – as if welcoming every guest to his home, as friends and family. It is, quite simply, impossible not to adore this locals’ best kept secret.
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Abbalé Telavivian Kitchen – Miami Beach

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The man who gave Miami Pura Vida – for all of our overpriced green juice needs – partnered with renowned Colombian Chef, Samuel Gornstein (Zuuk) to open up Abbale Telavivian Kitchen, South of Fifth. It is currently holding the top spot on our Miami Beach favorites.

Expect Mediterranean classics like Shakshuka and Miami’s best (and basically, only) Jerusalem Bagels for lunch and Sunday brunch. As well as fattoush salads and open flame, fire roasted branzino for dinner. The Onion Tahini – also fire roasted – served with (need I say it) warm pita, is a menu highlight. Pair it with an order of their crispy falafel and try not to order it twice, although it is encouraged.

The space is tiny and very charming, made up of a shaded outdoor patio and a few tables inside. Reservations are recommended, especially for Sunday brunch.
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