BEST RESTAURANT DéCOR (2005)
www.chinagrillmgt.com There is certainly no shortage of stunning restaurants these days, but you always remember your first. For Miami diners that would be China Grill, which, when it burst upon the South Beach scene in 1996, instantly became the blueprint for grand contemporary dining rooms in the region. When you enter the Jeffrey Beers-designed, 390-seat space, an audio-assault of clatter, chatter, and buzz might momentarily distract your visual senses, but soon enough your eyes will take in the onyx glass and Egyptian limestone surfaces, the towering cherry-wood columns, and a kinetic cocktail scene at the center bar, which wraps around a hectic open kitchen. You probably won't even notice that the floor tiles pay homage to Marco Polo. Subtly terraced seating levels provide clear sight lines to the action, and hanging sheepskin-shaded lamps cast a muted golden glow upon it all. China Grill's décor exudes elegance and class yet at the same time is quintessential South Beach. That's not easy to pull off.
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