Shopping & Services

  • BEST JUNK

    Architectural Antiques

    This is junkyard heaven, the place where cool, funky things go to die or to be bought or rented as the case may be. Chandeliers and traffic lights hang from the ceiling while stained-glass windows, Coca-Cola vending machines, marble busts, golf clubs, and bookshelves line the walls. Looking for a life-size bronze boar sculpture with green patina? It's here. A… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BUY ITALIAN DELICACIES WHILE LISTENING TO DEAN MARTIN

    Laurenzo's Italian Market

    If Laurenzo's were nothing more than the area's best Italian market (and most people say it is), it would still be worth writing about. But the 50-year-old institution is so much more: a slice of Little Italy in Miami-Dade County, an oasis of Old World charm, a portal onto the past. Laurenzo's isn't just a store. It's a milieu. And… More >>
  • BEST FLORIST

    Jenny's Flowers

    "From the womb to the tomb and all moments in between." Those are the appropriate times for flowers and plants, according to the ebullient Jenny Kallert, who has run her famous flower shop since 1973. With the fastidious zip of a German-accented bee in pollination mode, she works in her environs making "creations," not mere arrangements. To Jenny, who in… More >>
  • BEST NEWSSTAND

    Worldwide News

    Broward has Bob's and we have Worldwide. That's the best way to explain this store's perennial lock on this category. If you're looking for an obscure magazine or an out-of-town newspaper, this is where you must come. And if Worldwide doesn't have it, you're out of luck, bub. Regardless of what you were searching for initially, it's hard to imagine… More >>
  • BEST COSTUME JEWELRY

    C. Madeleine's

    A cameo to nestle in your cleavage. Rhinestones to ring your fingers. Austrian crystals to drape around your neck. No matter what manner of costume jewelry you seek, you'll most likely find it at this vintage shop, where numerous cases house quality watches, fobs, brooches, chains, chokers, and the like. An added advantage: Since C. Madeleine's accepts items on consignment… More >>
  • BEST INDIAN GROCERY

    Bombay Super Bazaar

    When the vindaloo you've eaten in restaurants just won't do, it's time to try making it yourself. The perfect place to stock up on supplies is Bombay Super Bazaar. This small market boasts a bounty of ingredients destined for innumerable Indian dishes from every region. Packed in bags of various sizes: every spice known to man (including elusive cardamom pods),… More >>
  • BEST FLEA MARKET

    Flagler Flea Market

    An unofficial survey indicates many Miamians (well, at least three or four) do not buy anything, except groceries, anywhere but this flea market. Why run around to different malls and spend more, they reason, when on any given Sunday afternoon they can take Mom and the kids out to the pulguero (that's what the thrifty souls in the survey call… More >>
  • BEST SKATE SHOP

    Fritz's Skate & Bike Shop

    We trolled bowling-alley parking lots, video arcades, tattoo parlors, and public handicap ramps to survey skate rats about the best shop in town. Whether it was in Kendall, Westchester, or Aventura, the overwhelming favorite was Fritz's. This Lincoln Road storefront distinguishes itself by not only being the coolest place to assemble a new skateboard, but the friendly staff is knowledgeable… More >>
  • BEST VINTAGE STORE

    Morningside Antiques

    Zoom by too fast on Biscayne Boulevard and you might mistake Morningside Antiques for a small house. And it certainly was once upon a time. Now it's an intimate antique mall featuring a series of rooms that act as booths run by different dealers. Wander through leisurely and you're sure to come upon treasures: tasteful midcentury modern marvels that seem… More >>
  • BEST VIDEO STORE

    New Concept Video

    If you're looking for a stark example of the difference between a corporate giant and a locally owned emporium, just mosey through the carefully stocked aisles of New Concept Video, which serves up practically everything its surrounding community is after: imported fashion magazines, of-the-moment dance-music CDs, and of course an array of offbeat titles -- both new and old, foreign… More >>
  • BEST MANICURE

    New Slick Unisex Salon

    6726 Bird Road

    West Miami-Dade

    305-667-9827

    In the Bird-Ludlam Shopping Center there are three places to get your nails done, but only one salon will do if you want a seven-dollar manicure and more chisme (gossip) than you can possibly process. While your cuticles are being pushed back and the polish is being applied, you'll hear about what happened this week in the Mexican telenovelas, reviews… More >>
  • BEST NURSERY

    Cornell Landscape Nursery

    The topiaries perched on the fence posts give you a clue about what you'll discover at this family-run nursery. The eager assistance, available as soon as you open your car door, will soothe any confusion you may experience gazing upon the tangle of vegetation in front of you. And the landscaping know-how will allow you to select the best ground… More >>
  • BEST NURSERY FOR TROPICAL FRUIT TREES

    Clinica de las Plantas

    You've got the family, the job, the little plot of land. What's missing from your idyllic life? Oh, right. The folks from whom you bought your house had thumbs about as green as the sky. You need trees, and since you live in Miami you figure they might as well bear fruit and save you some bucks in the end.… More >>
  • BEST COMIC BOOK SHOP

    Super Heroes Unlimited

    This is the place for those who want to scope out their funnybooks and still feel like a grownup. The Archie/Pokémon/Disney presence is relatively low-key. Cutesy card games and movie tie-in toys clearly aren't this previous "Best of Miami" winner's reason for existing. Instead the haphazardly stacked selections feature everything from Marvel to Oni Press, plus a good variety of… More >>
  • BEST LAST-MINUTE GIFT IDEA

    Cookies by Design

    You're a generous person with a heart for gift-giving, but you're a lousy shopper without an ounce of creativity. Every Mother's Day you do five laps around the mall looking for the perfect gift, only to end up empty-handed, bitter, and with sore feet. Wearily you lick the envelope on yet another cheap greeting card and drop it in the… More >>
  • BEST BOTANICA

    Botanica Oricha

    All the usual potions and talismans and statuettes and candles and flowers any good santero needs are here in the heart of Allapattah. On the exterior green walls of this building are painted colorful renditions of some of Latin America's more popular Catholic saints, such as Caridad del Cobre and Niņo de Antocha. If you and your Santería santo have… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BUY A SHIRT AND CHAT WITH A LEGEND

    La Casa de las Guayaberas

    Guayaberas may now be ubiquitous, as familiar a sight in South Beach as in Little Havana, as popular with club-hopping twentysomethings as with potbellied old men. But there is still only one mago de la guayabera (guayabera magician): Ramon Puig, owner of La Casa de las Guayaberas, the famed Miami emporium. The Cuban-born Puig has been making guayaberas for more… More >>
  • BEST DIVE SHOP

    Bubbles Dive Center

    If this dive shop is good enough for Flipper, most likely it will be good enough for you. The pros at Miami Seaquarium drive across the Rickenbacker Causeway regularly to get their tanks filled and equipment repaired by the guys at Bubbles. As a shop, they offer the latest gear from SeaQuest, Mares, and other top brands. As a dive… More >>
  • BEST BABY STORE

    Crybaby

    Frankly the only tears we see flowing in here are ones of joy. No consumer in his or her right mind would even think of shedding one in sadness, given the plethora of goods you can peruse for your young one, ranging from cute little one-size outfits (with matching hats) for newborns to faux fur coats for your big, grown-up… More >>
  • BEST SECURITY SHOP

    Counterspy Shops of Mayfair, London

    In this current age of paranoia, which dates back at least ten years and which was heightened tremendously by September 11, well-heeled folks (Colombians and Venezuelans who can't shake the creepy feeling they're vulnerable and need extra zones of protection) are turning more and more to James Bond-style specialty shops to make themselves feel safer. How about a pair of… More >>
  • BEST JUICE BAR

    Los Piņarenos Frutería y Florería

    This is a carefree, open-air oasis with buckets of cut flowers and bins of produce at your fingertips as you stroll along the sociable Calle Ocho sidewalk. Coco frio is said to be the specialty here, and there's something naturally wonderful about grabbing a freshly slashed coconut and sucking down the sweet juice. The rest of the juices and batidos… More >>
  • BEST MALL

    Dolphin Mall

    It's only a year old but already the Dolphin Mall has its devoted fanatics. One of the appeals is variety: more than 200 stores running the gamut from low-end to high, from Burlington Coat Factory to Bebe. There are also outlets (Off 5th, Bombay), offbeat gift stores (Exotic Treasures), and standard mall fare (Old Navy). The outdoor area invites you… More >>
  • BEST WINE STORE

    Wolfe's Wine Shoppe

    Given the pedigree of the husband-and-wife owners -- 34-year-old Jeffrey Wolfe was formerly general manager of Norman's restaurant, and 29-year-old Christie was marketing manager for Augustan Wine Imports -- we had a suspicion this place would stock some pretty eclectic bottles gleaned from family-run wineries like Napa's Livingston Moffett Winery and Sonoma Valley's Frank Johnson Vineyards. We also kind of… More >>
  • BEST SUPERMARKET

    Publix Super Market at Shores Center

    The pleasure of shopping at the Shores Publix begins outside, in the ample parking lot, where an empty space can usually be found with relatively little effort (if the lot is full, just take the ramp to the rooftop parking deck; an elevator will bring you to ground level). Before you go in, though, stand back and admire the architecture:… More >>
  • BEST MEXICAN MARKET

    Mexico Market

    On Sundays, when everyone is off work, this grocery store looks like the site of a fiesta. In aisles festooned with all-occasion piņatas, shoppers -- many with kids in tow -- load carts with provisions for the week ahead. A lot of socializing takes place here. And eating, too. There is a nacho kiosk by the front door, and back… More >>
  • BEST PAWNSHOP

    Daddy's Cash

    At Tenth Street near downtown Miami, Daddy's is presided over by Herman ("Dat's the only name you need!"), a guy who'll purchase your wristwatches ("Rolex is still da best"), AK-47s ("Dat's a lotta money -- I can't quote ya a price 'cause prices vary, ya unnerstand?"), or Sony 30-inch TVs ("Couple hundred if it's good, ya unnerstand?"). The weapons display… More >>
  • BEST DANCE SUPPLY SHOP

    StarStyled

    At this small, unassuming store on the northern fringes of Little Havana, dancers can purchase everything they need to dress up their routine. Danskin unitards that normally sell for $50 or $60 can be had here for little more than $20. On our last visit we came across the most inexpensive pair of jazz boots we've ever seen. The selection… More >>
  • BEST BOOKSTORE

    Books & Books

    Maybe Miles Davis's Kind of Blue is playing when you walk in. Maybe you spot on the newsstand a literary magazine you've never heard of -- Tin House, for example. Maybe when you're inside the store, slowly looking over the new books displayed on tables and the older stock arrayed on dark-wood shelves that reach far overhead, something reminds you… More >>
  • BEST SPECIALTY BOOKSTORE

    Murder on Miami Beach

    I could see this dame was trouble the minute I laid eyes on her. A tough-looking blonde with a hard smile and a bagful of sideways glances. Yeah, I knew better than to ask her for help. So I just browsed the aisles and bided my time. They were all there, 8000 sordid little stories of greed, lust, and dead… More >>
  • BEST SPANISH-LANGUAGE BOOKSTORE

    Libreria Revistas y Periodicos

    Here is a real find for political-science junkies interested in Latin America. Tucked into a strip mall across from Tropical Park, this Colombian-owned store specializes in a collection of books that concentrates on social upheaval throughout the Americas. Since 1989 its owners, Eduardo and Norma Duran, have imported the latest and most important Latin literature directly from South American publishing… More >>
  • BEST RECORD/CD STORE

    Blue Note Records

    The word "records" is a bit of a misnomer these days, given that Blue Note owner Bob Perry has transferred the bulk of his store's vinyl to a separate jazz annex a few blocks away. But despite that additional schlep now required for those still, ahem, possessing needles and in need of a twelve-inch fix, Blue Note remains the best… More >>
  • BEST PLACE FOR DJs TO BUY VINYL

    Grooveman

    Other stores may have larger selections, but Grooveman is the DJ's record store. Stocked with everything relevant -- from club standards to obscure imports -- Grooveman concentrates solely on a DJ's needs, resisting the temptation to turn the shop into another South Beach tourist trap. With an inventory that spans the electronic-music spectrum, Grooveman carries just about every style of… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BUY LATIN MUSIC

    Museo del Disco

    Looking for that old Bola de Nieve bolero your abuelo used to sing? Itching for a copy of that Pablo Neruda poem set to music by Aterciopelados but you can't remember what it's called? Eager to hear the latest releases from Cuba, Brazil, Colombia, or Spain? Has collecting round discs etched with music gone beyond being your hobby to becoming… More >>
  • BEST USED-CD STORE

    Uncle Sam's Music

    As those wise men of dance culture, the Village People, once opined, "You can't stop the music." That's definitely the motto over at Uncle Sam's, which took this award last year and deserves it again in 2002. Why? Because a never-ending supply of used CDs keeps turning over, rewarding a weekly stop whether you're seeking the latest beats from clubland,… More >>
  • BEST CONSIGNMENT STORE

    Twice As Nice

    This diminutive storefront looks unremarkable from the outside. You might even miss it if you're not paying attention. But on the inside, where every available square inch is taken up by clothes, jewelry, and accessories, it's pretty darn amazing. Twice As Nice is all secondhand merchandise, but much of it has barely or never been touched. These aren't thrift-store clothes.… More >>
  • BEST SEX TOYS SHOP

    Pink Pussycat Boutique

    Let us ask you something. Are you gonna buy the ten-inch Jeff Stryker molded-plastic cock from just any purveyor of the prurient, or are you going to buy it from the little neighborhood porn shop that's been helping Miami get off for more than 30 years? That's what we thought. Actually the Pussycat is one of four stores owned by… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SIP CUBAN COFFEE WHILE SELECTING A MODERATELY PRICED PINOT NOIR

    Best Time Wine and Gourmet 305-443-6070

    One of the best one-stop shopping concepts in town. Both Best Time locations offer a pretty extensive selection of cheap to moderately priced wines (seven to sixteen bucks) as well as a counter for Cuban coffee and sandwiches. The perfect place to grab a bottle for that unexpected dinner party and refuel for the long night ahead with a shot… More >>
  • BEST LIQUOR STORE

    Crown Wine and Spirits

    Remember all those times in college you told your parents you had been at the library studying when you actually had been out drinking? You weren't lying. You were just anticipating this place. Crown isn't just a liquor and wine shop; it's the ivory tower of vino, Wine U., an institute of higher fermentation. To go along with its stunning… More >>
  • BEST COSTUME SHOP

    Casa de Los Trucos

    Ay, Mami! When Tio took us to see the trucos, I got too scared! There's this big witch's head when you walk in the door, and it's so ugly! I told Tio I had to go back to the car but he just laughed at me. Then you go in and they have all these body parts you can put… More >>
  • BEST COMPUTER REPAIR

    Computer Village

    Warning! If you own a PC, this is not for you. But if you own an Apple, consider yourself in heaven. When your maniac Mac goes totally bozo, which scenario would you prefer: 1) While you try to explain the problem to some SuperduperSlickStore front-desk person who's basically a receptionist, your sick computer is whisked into a back room from… More >>
  • BEST CIGAR EMPORIUM

    305-604-9694

    Rudy Rodolfo opened his South Beach Cigar Factory five years ago, during the height of the cigar boom, at 1136 Collins Avenue in a charming storefront that looked like a walk-in mom-and-pop joint, only hip. At the time Anglo cigar bars were proliferating all over Miami, but particularly in South Beach, always Trend Central, with guys and girls in off-white,… More >>
  • BEST BIKE SHOP

    Cycle World

    Back in 1981, when Owen Lee and his wife Joan took a gamble on a business opportunity by purchasing a bicycle shop, it seemed a relatively straightforward enterprise. Inventory decisions were simple -- a limited number of manufacturers produced a limited number of models. Mountain bikes were unknown outside an elite group of enthusiasts in northern California. Since then the… More >>
  • BEST MODERATELY PRICED MODERN FURNITURE

    Spasics

    Pressing your nose against the windows of the ritzy furniture stores in Coral Gables has to stop. You can't afford what you stare at so longingly, and you're smudging a lot of glass. Yeah, yeah, furniture is an investment, but in this case saving pennies isn't an option. You just can't bring yourself to purchase a loveseat that rivals the… More >>
  • BEST TOY STORE

    The House of Dolls

    Dolls are toys too! A toy emporium doesn't have to be packed with Pokémon, G.I. Joes, Beanie Babies, or remote-controlled cars. We'll admit it may be a little creepy walking into this two-and-a-half-year-old store, which is wall-to-wall dolls, and being stared at by a thousand pairs of eyes. But we're happy to report that one pair of peepers belongs to… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO CURE YOUR ILLS

    Halouba Botanica

    Let's say that one day the devil jumps down your throat when you are caught with your mouth open, and from then on you are worse than miserable with bad luck and grief. You may be haunted, the victim of a spell. You may never know who is responsible. But let's say the only thing that will get you back… More >>
  • BEST BUSINESS NAME

    Seņor Stereo

    Need we say mas?… More >>
  • BEST SPORTING GOODS STORE

    Play It Again Sports

    The marketing-recycling phenomenon began in Minnesota in the Eighties with Once Upon a Child, the notion that kids outgrow their clothes, toys, and furniture so fast it's nuts to just keep buying new, then spread to sports (Play It Again), and lately to the electronic-communications frontier with places like Computer Renaissance. Out in Kendall Irv Richter has been doing bang-up… More >>
  • BEST DELIVERY SERVICE

    On Call Beer Express

    So your party is a hit. Somehow your pad is full of cool strangers who are mingling loudly around the keg of Pabst. As you approach the center you hear some chick bitching about the soggy suds being spit from the tap. Some geek is trying to impress her by dipping the spout below the canister. Although he insists he… More >>
  • BEST ADULT VIDEO STORE

    Miami Playground Adult Entertainment

    They claim to be the largest adult bookstore in the entire U.S. of A. True? Who knows? Who cares? Size doesn't matter, right? This clean, well-lighted place for porn and sex toys, conveniently located near State Road 112 and busy 27th Avenue, has everything a sexy beast might need, from Astroglide to poppers to lingerie to dildos to anatomically correct… More >>
  • BEST RUSSIAN VIDEO STORE

    Moscow Video

    Lurking behind a Miami Subs and a bikini shop on an awkward corner beneath the 163rd Street overpass, Moscow Video is a curious catch-all shop of videos, CDs, cassettes, Russian newspapers, and small, ornately decorated wooden boxes. Besides the Russian-language flicks you can enjoy the sublime pleasure of Eddie Murphy's comic masterpieces as translated into the mother tongue. But the… More >>
  • BEST BEACH BOUTIQUE

    La Squadra

    "I knew you'd be back," says Stephane Amar with a satisfied smile. A few hours earlier you had stopped in at his shop on Washington Avenue searching for a new suit. His racks featured several sweet-looking suits from Europe. The fit could not be topped and the price was too low to believe. You were prudent, though. You said you… More >>
  • BEST SECONDHAND STORE

    Bargain Box

    This small storefront boutique d'yesterjour, located near the Orange Bowl, features the usual thrift-store goodies like books, records, kitchenware, appliances, and furniture. But the best reason to go there is the clothing: men's and women's suits, shirts, jackets, jeans, and shoes, a lot of it in almost-new condition. Prices are cheap, the ladies who run the place will let you… More >>
  • BEST SOCCER SHOP

    Soccer Locker of Miami

    There's a reason we keep naming this store numero uno among soccer outlets. In a word it's service. Oh yeah, and the selection is pretty good too. The first-time futbol mom, facing a daunting array of supplies, can take comfort in the patient explanations on the relative merits of the Diadora line of balls and cleats and gloves and shin… More >>
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