As told by Carlos Gazitua
We asked Miami born and bred restaurateur Carlos Gazitua to walk us through his perfect day in the Magic City. Gazitua proves once again, there’s no better way to get to know a place than to ask a local.
OK, my perfect day in Miami, here we go: First off, I’m waking up in a bed at the Fountainebleau, especially if I’m in town for the boat show. This city is full of great hotels but for my money the Fountainebleau might have them all beat between its bars, clubs, and beach access. It’s got it all.
Then, you know, I’m headed over to Sergio’s for my Cuban coffee fix and some fresh-baked empanadas. Yes that’s a shameless plug for my restaurants but it also is really high-quality, authentic Cuban food—when you’re in Miami you have to eat some Cuban. After I fill up I’m headed to Bal Harbour to check out the shops. They’re always changing all the time so it’s good to get over there and check out what’s new. I like Hugo Boss and John Varvatos the best. They do a good job of catching that kind of casual Miami vibe. You can wear those designers to work, but they also fit in when it’s time to be more casual. You know, go get a cocktail by the water. That happens a lot in Miami.
After shopping I’m going back to the Fountainebleau to hit the beach. Well, the pool and the beach. I’d split my time evenly. Both are beautiful settings.
After some sun, I’d head back to my room for a well-deserved nap, and get ready for dinner. Pre-dinner drinks are at The Broken Shaker, in the Freehand Hostel in South Beach. It’s a speakeasy concept, with handcrafted cocktails—very laid-back cool. Next I’m rolling over to Prime 112 for dinner. This is the spot in Miami. Lamborghinis out front, and whoever decided to take their talents to South Beach that particular night probably set up at a corner table. The portions are huge and the food is all good. Try the filet mignon and tuna tartar. Oh, also, their shrimp is colossal, the size of your finger. I don’t even know where they get it. I don’t even know if it qualifies as shrimp when it’s that big! Best steakhouse, by far, in Miami.
After dinner I’d go to the lounge at the SLS hotel. It’s got a beautiful inside/outside bar with a great view. That’s for earlier in the night when everybody’s still pretty chill. When things crank up I’d go to Liv at the Fountainebleau. That’s the club spot. Good crowd, you don’t have to worry about the crowd, and the DJs are the best. It’s a really classy place to finish the night. [Laughs] Of course, if you don’t want to finish at Liv, and your night’s still, how do I say it … unfolding … go to E11even. It’s a late night cabaret and club mixed together. Be ready to party. Be ready to see something. Anything and everything goes on at that place. The party goes on til about noon the next day. Hey, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
About the Author: Carlos Gazitua, 33, is a first-generation Cuban-American and a lifelong Miami resident. He is the president of Sergio’s restaurants, a purveyor of authentic Cuban cuisine that will have six locations in the South Florida area by the end of 2015. His empanadas are the best empanadas.
This article originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.