Museum Director Franklin Sirmans’ perfect day in Miami

This article is part of a guide to Miami from FT Globetrotter

As most of the world knows, Miami never really stopped during the pandemic, but it really felt like it was in full swing again over the summer. Around that time, it became clear that the number of new transplants in New York and the Bay Area – which responded to South Florida’s call for the promise of sun and fun in a technology-friendly dream landscape – was not just here for the holidays.

Next came a series of busy new NYC-founded restaurants, with the kind of splash one expects from Miami: Korean steakhouse Cote Miami, with its popular (and incredible) Butcher’s Feast experience; ZZ’s Club, a membership club serving some of the best seafood in town; and of course the flashy, Instagram-ready Italian restaurant Carbone, where the rigatoni in a spicy vodka sauce is a solid ingredient.

Rigatonia in a Spicy Vodka Sauce in Carbone, Miami © Carbone / Noah Fecks

Salmon carpaccio at ZZ’s Club

These venues are best known for attracting celebrity diners and being nearly impossible to score a table at, but they are well worth the effort to go to if you are looking for a very Miami experience. (The first two are based in the Design District and the latter in Miami Beach.)

One of the best new Miami outposts (which was many years along the way) is close to downtown: Red Rooster Overtown by chef Marcus Samuelsson. This is the place for soul food with a Miami twist, a world-class art collection and an atmosphere of breathtaking fun along with elegant dining. It’s Samuelsson’s vision that comes to life with the help of developers Derek Fleming and Michael Simkins. The decor speaks to the heritage of the historic Black Quarter, and Red Rooster also tends to attract the most diverse audience in Miami.

Red Rooster Overtown, chef Marcus Samuelsson’s latest venture

Kara Walker’s artwork can be found among the world – class art collection on the walls of the Red Rooster

In addition to works of art by the likes of Derek Adams, Theaster Gates, Mickalene Thomas and Kara Walker and music by house DJs Kumi and Pam Jones, Red Rooster also regularly invites guest DJs such as hip-hop legend Jarobi White from A Tribe Called Quest. I recommend starting a meal with a dish of oysters or the Tasmanian sea trout crudo to start your evening in the right direction.

For something a little more quiet and intimate, Boia De in Little Haiti serves a beautiful blend of pasta and small plates accompanied by delicious and unique wines. The menu changes seasonally, so be sure to ask for your server’s recommendations and you will be in pampering. The fried baby artichokes and marinated mussels are to die for. And do not forget the dessert: the crispy tiramisu is a must.

Lucio / Wine Shop is Sirmans’ go-to shop for natural and low-intervention wine

The pool and terrace look out to the beach at the Faena hotel

As for wine, if you want to get something special, I suggest you go into the Lucio / Wine Shop at 82nd and NE Second. It sells an impressive selection of natural and low-intervention wines, hand-picked by owner Lucio Bueno, who also worked as a chef for almost two decades. Pét-nats (abbreviation for naturally sparkling, or “naturally sparkling”) is worth the trip alone. A special guy with great stories, Lucio has works by local artists on the walls, plays great music and often offers surprise tastings.

After dinner, for both tourists and locals, there is nothing more enjoyable than spending time at Faena, relaxing on the beach or at The Living Room for cocktails (my favorite is Faena Spritz, the hotel’s version of an Aperol spritz with hibiscus syrup and champagne ). The atmosphere at Faena is a lot of fun, especially when they have live entertainment. Place yourself near the large open beachfront terrace and enjoy the worldly crowd and Miami sights and sounds. Nothing fills last year’s social void like a great lounge.

Museum of Contemporary Art is located in North Miami © Courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami

Maryan’s ‘Character’ (1962) will be included in the ‘My Name is Maryan’ exhibition at MOCA © Courtesy of the Artist and Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami

To atone for these indulgences, one of my new favorite places to exercise is the Virginia Key Outdoor Center, where you can rent bikes, paddle-boards and other equipment, or sign up for guided tours such as full moon paddles, manatee safaris or sunset bike rides. I love renting a kayak and going on the water. In less than 15 minutes you will enjoy the best possible views of downtown Miami – a sight to behold from the water to truly be appreciated.

For a culture fix, much of the most interesting and diverse art to be seen in Miami is off the beaten path. Do not miss an opportunity to enter the Little Haiti Cultural Complex – see an exhibition or a live performance, and learn about Haiti and the inspiring, decades-long history of Haiti in Miami. I’m also really looking forward to seeing MOCA North Miami’s exhibition about the fascinating Polish – born artist Maryan, which opened just in time for Art Week.

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