Where to Eat During Art Basel

Lee Brian Schrager | December 3, 2019 | Food & Drink Home Page Homepage Latest

Miami’s resident foodie-in-chief highlights his top picks for where to eat before, between or after Art Week Festivities.

Basel7_Tigertail_Mary_Rhubarb_Soda_Genuine_Hospitality.jpg

Bottoms up, it's Basel! Toast to the most wonderful time of the year with the Rhubarb + Soda from Coconut Grove dining destination, Tigertail + Mary.

There’s nothing quite like the Magic City during Art Basel, when its cup runneth over with interactive art and cultural installations to keep one’s senses on overload. In between the parties and exhibits that seem to outdo themselves every year, I like to keep my energy up with nourishment from a mix of both more refined and quick and casual fare. With activities buzzing all over town, you never know what neighborhood you might end up (or, cough, get traffic-trapped) in—so I’m happy to share my picks for each alongside some of my favorite dishes.

For a meal that looks like it belongs in a museum: Le Jardinier, Design District

Basel_5_LeJardinier_081019_0782.jpg

At Le Jardinier, the watermelon and heirloom tomato salad is dressed tableside.

The vegetable-forward restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Alain Verzeroli is an original concept from the protégé of famed chef Joël Robuchon. As sophisticated as the neighborhood in which it resides, dishes showcasing fresh herbs and the highest- quality ingredients are as artfully constructed as the restaurant itself. Burrata with kabocha squash, fig and pomegranate is a standout starter, followed by roasted lobster with cherry smoked potatoes and favas.

For the best fried chicken: Ember, Design District

Basel_3_Coffee_Cardamom_Cured_Salmon_Plate.jpg

The coffee and cardamom-cured salmon plate at Ember

South Florida phenomenon chef Bradley Kilgore has nestled his new wood-fired concept inside the illustrious Paradise Plaza. Dishes not typically cooked over fire—like the roasted lasagna with Gruyere fondue or cornbread custard—are just as tantalizing as the smoked fried chicken and Scottish salmon. Don’t miss the artfully crafted cocktail menu, complete with modern twists on classic libations—like the Manhattan with coconut or daiquiri with carrot and cinnamon.

When you need some midweek comfort food: Vinaigrette Sub Shop, Downtown

It comes as no surprise that chef Danny Serfer’s new casual spot in downtown Miami has been charming taste buds for lunch since opening over the summer. Laden with classic combos, Italian specialities and vegetarian offerings, this simple menu is brimming with thoughtfully sourced ingredients and Serfer’s carefully perfected dressing for the sandwiches. Like any great sub shop, the setup is designed so that you can customize your sandwich or choose from preselected arrangements like the namesake Vinaigrette Sub— which includes an array of Italian meats and truffled pecorino.

For power lunch with blue chip buyers: Boulud Sud, Brickell

Basel1_BSud_OctopusAlaPlancha1_EvanSung.jpg

Boulud Sud’s octopus a la plancha

Renowned chef Daniel Boulud is known for his insatiable affinity for quality and attention to detail, and his chic concept situated within the JW Marriott Marquis is no exception. A vibrant and approachable spot for dinner, this coastal Mediterranean- inspired menu is filled with fresh mains from the land and sea amid brightly spiced vegetables and grains. Begin with the expertly prepared lamb flatbread before moving through the Moroccan chicken tagine and lemon saffron linguine with shrimp.

To fuel up for a morning at the fairs: Zak the Baker, Wynwood

Basel8_ZTB_Building_Front.jpg

The colorful facade of Zak The Baker

Nab breakfast, lunch or an afternoon nosh to hold you over at perhaps the most buzzed-about bakery and cafe in South Florida. Exceptionally fresh and certified kosher, Zak Stern’s eponymous spot is not only supplying the best breads in town but also a selection of vegan soups—like lentil and tomato bisque—and unique sandwich twists like the salmon Reuben. While I’m partial to their roasted heirloom tomato and labane in the morning, you also can’t go wrong with any of the featured bagel platters.

To catch up with the creatives, gallerists and off-duty tastemakers: Kyu, Wynwood

Located mere steps away from the iconic Wynwood Walls, this is an ideal place to satiate the taste buds with their Asian-inspired menu for lunch or dinner. Mouthwatering Korean fried chicken and beef short ribs are a must, to be complemented by a plethora of snacks and sides. Crunchy kale, soft-shell crab steamed buns, pork and shiitake gyoza, and grilled baby bok choy are just a few of the delicious ways to step up your game at the table.

When its 3PM and you’ve only had three espressos: Time Out Market, Miami Beach

Basel8_TOMM-AUG-DSC02632.jpg

A lunch bowl at Time Out Market

Grab some of Miami’s tastiest bites under one roof at this newly opened culinary epicenter offering a smorgasbord of tacos, sushi, smoked meats, burgers, ice cream and more in the recently debuted space spanning more than 17,000 square feet. An ideal spot to snag a quick lunch, don’t skip the contemporary offerings from star chefs Jeremy Ford and Antonio Bachour.

To feast (and party) with all art-loving A-listers: Papi Steak, Miami Beach

In the trendy South of Fifth neighborhood is David Grutman’s latest concept, brought to life in partnership with David “Papi” Einhorn—a charismatic guest of Groot Hospitality’s nightlife outlets. Classic steakhouse elegance meets Hollywood glamour, and an over-the-top menu to match. Start with the PB&J uni toast and wagyu pastrami, before indulging in the Papi glatt kosher ribeye and side of Monop-Potato topped with caviar.

To celebrate a major acquisition: Fiola, South Miami

Celebrated chef Fabio Trabocchi’s flagship, Michelin- starred Fiola in Washington, D.C., has long been a spot for power players, and his first outpost of the concept in South Miami has proven to have the same stronghold on discerning palates. Alongside his wife and business partner Maria Trabocchi, the chef has given the area a luxurious platform to experience his delectable fare. Eye-catching raw bar and crudo offerings are just the brink of a menu bursting with soups, salads and wood-oven and simply grilled offerings. But you won’t want to skip over the pastas— especially the Roman shell cacio e pepe and lobster ravioli.

When you only have time for a pinot and pizza at the bar: Tigertail + Mary, Coconut Grove

Basel4_IMG_0007_25.jpg

Tigertail + Mary in Coconut Grove offers the perfect escape.

Designed to be as lush and easygoing as the neighborhood in which it resides, acclaimed chef Michael Schwartz presents a series of dishes comprised of honestly treated ingredients for his latest culinary endeavor. The pizzas and pastas for which Schwartz is known are combined with delicacies like lamb neck, speck and sunchoke chips. Larger mains like meticulously prepared Berkshire pork chops with mustard jus and Open Blue cobia with braised fennel are enjoyed after succinct starters like yellowjack crudo with smoked trout roe and pink peppercorn or octopus with chorizo vinaigrette.



Photography by: Courtesy of restaurants