Wynwood’s street art attracts camera-toting tourists as well as locals in pursuit of the perfect selfie in front of colorful buildings that line the streets. While celebrity chefs may favor posh hotels in Brickell and South Beach, many local chefs have set-up camp in Wynwood. Miami’s best restaurant Alter is here, as are perennial favorites Kyu and Zak the Baker. New eateries are continually opening their doors making this neighborhood the place to eat and drink in Miami. In my opinion, the best way to experience the neighborhood is by hopping around Wynwood to different establishments to sample all the neighborhood has to offer. There are hipster restaurants, divey bars, and art coating every paintable surface – walls, lampposts, and even the sidewalk. This one of the more dynamic and rapidly changing neighborhoods in Miami and a definite must for any visitor.
On a recent evening, we built an evening around a dinner reservation at Palmar. It was named one of Bon Appetit 50 nominees for best restaurant of 2018 and inspired our Latin-Asian hop around Wynwood.
Our first stop was at Gramps, a bar that boasts air conditioning, cold beer, and cocktails on a sign on the side of the building. We arrived early enough to snag two open barstools. Upon settling in, we quickly ordered the Gramps’ take on a Paloma – When Doves Cry. On steamy Miami evenings when the mercury is hovering around 90 degrees, I find myself favoring tequila-based cocktails with a kick. This one achieved an added punch with a paprika juice that tempered the sweetness of the grapefruit soda. Gramps is a Wynwood stalwart just off of the main drag and like many bars in the area has air-conditioning for Miami summers and a large patio for winters. We ordered a second round, switching it up with another Latin inspired beverage, Cucumber in Paradise. The jalapeño juice ratcheted up the punch with a pleasant slow burn that lingered after you swallowed.
Before revelers overtook the bar, we continued hopping around Wynwood by heading over to Wynwood Walls to join the Instagram illuminati filming Instastories or arranging their hair for the millionth time before snapping that perfect selfie. Wynwood Walls was the brainchild of a real estate developer. He recognized that warehouse walls could serve as giant canvases for street artists and in a few years, kaleidoscopic color has transformed the neighborhood. Some of the best murals from world renowned street artists can be found inside the walls. I am partial to South African artist Faith47’s monochromatic lion mural and Logan Hicks moody Manhattan nightscape. Plan on allowing enough time here as there is something for everyone.
Our next stop was dinner at Palmar, a Chinese restaurant with Latin inflections and a salsa beat. Dishes flew out of the kitchen. W had barely placed our order when the first bites landed on the table – lightly battered eggplant, calamari dumplings, and shiitake-edamame potstickers that had a deep meaty taste. As soon as I popped a fried dumpling in my mouth the rabbit egg rolls and duck confit dumplings arrived. We were planning on ordering a different set of small bites, but changed our minds on the recommendation of our waiter. His recommendations were spot-on and were easily the best dishes we sampled. After we had polished off every morsel, it was time for the main course of Mongolian Beef. The food came so quickly that we only finishing downing our sake after the plates had been cleared. While there were several desert options on the menu, we had other plans.
For dessert, we headed to 1-800-Lucky, an Asian food hall, in order to sample Taiyaki NYC ice cream. I elected for the Straight-Outta Japan signature cone containing rich matcha black sesame ice cream sat atop the best waffle cone I have ever had. The spongy, eggy waffle is in the shape of a fish and it is easy to see why this is one of the Instagrammable desserts. Topping of this ice cream revelation was several tiny mochi and a chocolate covered wafer stick. To say that I enjoyed it, is an understatement. I could eat it everyday. Standing in the red glow of neon sign, Callum and smashed our ice cream with abandon.
Reaching food coma bliss, we headed to No. 3 Social for a nightcap. This upscale rooftop bar serves up interesting connotations. Continuing with alcohol from agave plants theme, I ordered a Cactus Flower. In addition to Mezcal, it contained an aloe liquor, Prosecco, and aloe juice. It was a flavor combination I never had before. It was neither good nor bad, simply unique.
In the end, continuing our evening hopping around Wynwood in the steamy heat, lost out to the promise of our air conditioned home. There are so many options that you can easily create a custom circuit, but if you are looking for a Latin-Asian mash-up, this one is for you.