Eleven of the Best Latin American Cultural Stops in Miami| 06 July, 2018
As a Latino travelling the world, it’s always interesting to see how other countries view our culture. For most foreigners, Latin culture is symbolised by a few generic concepts: salsa dancing, spicy foods, and sangria foremost amongst them. We love that we’re associated with such vibrant and colorful delights but we also appreciate it when we visit a place that does more than just scratch the surface.
Why? Because it’s nice to find a piece of home brought to life even when you’re thousands of miles away. Because it’s beautiful to see the culture you embrace bring joy to others. Because we’re proud of our heritage and we like to see it celebrated.
Nowhere does a better job of this than Miami. True, a sleepy southern city isn’t the first place that springs to mind when you envisage a vibrant Hispanic hub, yet it’s nonetheless hailed as the northern capital of affluent Latin America. With Spanish spoken everywhere, 70 percent of the population boasting Hispanic heritage, and an abundance of amazing Latino-inspired bars and eateries, it’s the perfect place to go when you’re searching for a home away from home.
Here are a just a few of the most authentic destinations to stop at should you ever find yourself there.
Homely and authentic, Mi Colombia is regarded as one of the greatest Latin American treasures in all of Miami. Tucked away on 71st Street, it does away with showboating and chic styling and focuses instead on serving up the best culinary delights north of the border. With a menu that changes day-by-day, the quality of its food never wavers, yet the versatility of its offerings means stepping inside is always exciting for anyone with an empty belly. Our favourite dish is the Desayuno Colombiano (Colombian Breakfast) so, if you’re not quite sure of what to order, give it a try and prepare to be impressed.
Source: Facebook via OLA Restaurant
For something more upmarket but still authentic, a trip to OLA Miami is recommended. Offering an array of delicious dishes, its seafood specials are to die for, with the fresh catch of the day certain to impress even the most discerning of diners. With a menu matched only by its exceptional customer service and chic Latin American ambience, this is the perfect place to go for those thinking of dating in Florida, whether you’re looking to impress an existing beau or want to make a great first impression with someone you met on a dating site like Badoo. You can even indulge in a cocktail or two before you eat, to help loosen your tongue and get the conversation flowing.
Florida Museum of Hispanic-Latin American Art
Latino cuisine is celebrated the whole world over but something that is less widely known outside of the region is the brilliance and beauty of our art and the talent of our artists. The Florida Museum of Hispanic-Latin American Art is committed to changing that. Showcasing the genius and ingenuity of Latin artists based in the country, the gallery was founded in 1991 and is still as vibrant and fresh today as it was at its inception. Dedicated to fostering and promoting both established and emerging contemporary artists, it hosts 11 separate exhibitions throughout the course of the year, with works created by those of Hispanic, Latin, Brazilian and Haitian descent. Located in the heart of Miami, the museum is not only a cultural treasure but an invaluable resource for artists and educators in need of a helping hand. Pay it a visit and show your support for the essential work it does.
Once you’ve taken a trip around the Florida Museum of Hispanic-Latin American Art, it might be that you’ve worked up an appetite, so onto our next culinary recommendation: Los Fuegos. The creation of Argentine grillmaster Francis Mallman, Los Fuegos was born from a passion for the ancient art of South American live-fire cooking and, boy, does it showcase it to perfection!
Furnishing diners with a contemporary asado experience, the restaurant offers everything from an open-fire kitchen to locally sourced ingredients, traditional rustic recipes, and more sophisticated savory dishes for those who want to sample the very best Miami has in store.
Hoy Como Ayer
Once you’ve experienced a day of culture and an evening of dining, perhaps it’s time to don your dancing shoes and boogie the night away? If that idea sounds right up your street, pay a visit to Hoy Como Ayer on Eighth Street. Fun, vibrant, and all about las estrellas musicales and el sonido Latino, it’s a place where the drinks are always flowing, the conga drums keep kicking, and the fiesta carries on until the sun comes up. Honestly, you have to live it, breathe it, feel it, to believe it.
Ball & Chain
Also located on Eighth Street is another of Miami’s finest Latino nightclubs: the inimitable Ball & Chain. With its original incarnation welcoming everyone from Billie Holiday to Chet Baker through its doors, it was forever immortalized as one of the hottest destinations the city has seen, and it remains so to this day. Resurrected by brothers Zack and Ben Bush in 2014, Ball & Chain is again one of Calle Ocho’s most popular bars, especially amongst the Hispanic faction. Its backyard pineapple stage offers the perfect place to sit and sip a cocktail with your beau come the daytime but, when the sun goes down, it’s time to turn up the heat and salsa until your feet are sore.
Source: Facebook via Matador Room
Perhaps we shouldn’t have favorites but, if someone were to press us on it, the Matador Room would definitely be up there. Brought to life by world-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, this exquisite eatery is a perfect reimagining of the original. Possessed of the same decadent glamour and 1950s aesthetic, it offers up everything from Spanish to Caribbean, Latin, and South American specials, each with a unique twist to energize and invigorate these iconic dishes. The place to go when you want to splash some cash, it really is the height of Latino luxury.
Sazon Cuban Cuisine
For those who have a special place in their hearts for Havana, Sazon Cuban Cuisine is an exceptional eatery and one you absolutely have to try for yourself. Tucked away on Collins Avenue, this authentic Latino restaurant offers extraordinarily good food, an amazing atmosphere, and the friendliest of wait staff. Renowned for its generous portions and magnificent mojitos, it’s best visited on a sunny day when you can sit out on the patio and enjoy some truly brilliant live entertainment. If you don’t have a friend to take along with you, don’t worry – you’re sure to be welcomed with open arms.
Locura Marina Peruvian Cuisine
There are few places outside of Peru that specialize in Peruvian cuisine, and not only is Locura Marina amongst them but it just so happens to be one of the best. Situated close to Sazon Cuban, it’s authentic, atmospheric, and serves up an incomparable ceviche. All of its dishes, without exception, use only the freshest locally sourced ingredients, serving these up in such a way that they deliver a unique fusion of flavors – one that’s sure to leave you reaching for seconds.
Club Tipico Dominicano
Now to return to the city’s nighttime delights and another amazing club: Club Tipico Dominicano. Found on 36th Street, the club serves as the Allapattah joint by day, offering up traditional Dominican grub like mangúand mondongo. But, when the sun goes down, it transforms – into the ultimate una tremenda pachanga. Playing hypnotizing, hip-gyrating rumberos, it knows exactly how to get everyone on their feet and having fun. Involve yourself in the anarchy for an experience you’ll never forget.
You’d be forgiven for thinking Doral is nothing more than dilapidated warehouses and boarded-up businesses, but you’d also be wrong. Home to the final pick on our list and one of the best Latin clubs in the 305, Doral plays host to the vibrant and vivacious La Covacha. Favorite haunt of reggaetoneros, including J Alvarez and Tito el Bambino, La Covacha has been bringing la rumba to the Magic City for over 20 years. Offering nightly parties and plenty of drunken decadence, it’s rightly earned its place at the pinnacle of Miami’s Latino nightlife.
A wonderland of Latin American cultural treasures, Miami is somewhere that’s learned to celebrate its Latino influence in the very best of ways – by embracing it and bringing it to the attention of everyone. Happy to showcase its music, its food, its artists, dance forms, and even its drinks, it offers a little taste of the south in a city far away.
For Latinos like us, this is something to be proud of. We understand what a gem our unique heritage is, and now everybody who visits Miami will get the chance to recognize the same. One sip of authentic sangria, and we’re sure they’ll be heading even further south and into our welcoming arms.
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