Best Aperol Spritz 2020 | Smith & Wollensky | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Smith & Wollensky photo

"Best Aperol Spritz" is a new category for 2020, and it's one we felt was appropriate for the Miami lifestyle. A light and refreshing drink, the spritz is great for brunching, lunching, boating, or even just an afternoon of day drinking. This Italian aperitif is best enjoyed outdoors on a sunny day, which happens to be even more convenient for the world we currently live in. With all those factors considered, Smith & Wollensky is the move. It can be tricky creating the perfect ratio of bitter Aperol to high-quality Italian prosecco, then topping it off with club soda and a slice of fresh orange. If there's too much soda, the drink tastes watered-down and doesn't last. Smith & Wollensky uses LaLuca prosecco to create a well-balanced spritz for $17. With the restaurant's coveted location in South Pointe Park, dining here lends itself to fun people-watching with a backdrop of cruise ships coming in and out of port. If you squint a little while taking in the view of the rocky shoreline against the cerulean water, it's almost as if you're on the Amalfi Coast.

Photo by Laine Doss

The espresso martini is the little black dress of cocktails. Perfect for all occasions, a proper espresso martini has caffeine to perk you up and vodka to mellow you out, making it the one to have before dinner, to end the evening, paired with brunch, or just because you want one. The Pani espresso martini ($14) goes one step further in pleasure by adding a touch of chocolate. Vodka, Baileys Irish Cream, Kahlúa, crème de cacao, and a full shot of espresso are shaken, strained into a coup glass, and garnished with cocoa and a coffee bean. It's elegant and satisfying. Pair it with one of Pani's cakes or just sit on the patio and sip.

Photo courtesy of St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort

The bloody mary is the official cocktail of brunch. There's something about that first sip of the tangy, slightly spicy cocktail that goes right to your soul and tackles even the mightiest of hangovers. You can get a bloody just about anywhere, but why not go to the source? The first bloody mary was made in 1934 at the St. Regis New York's King Cole bar. Bartender Fernand Petiot perfected the recipe, using vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire, Tabasco, black pepper, cayenne pepper, celery salt, and lemon juice. The recipe is used today at all St. Regis hotels — with a twist. Each location tweaks the recipe to reflect its environs. The St. Regis Bal Harbour's version is called the "Bloody Sunrise" ($19), a clever play on the original with extra citrus and a vegetable pincho garnish. It's a zesty way to start any day — or end a long night.

Photo courtesy of Raw Juce

Whether you're looking for a seven-day juice cleanse or a quick, nutritious lunch, Raw Juce has you covered. With a versatile menu, this homegrown chain serves a smorgasbord of options for health-crazed customers. What sets Raw Juce apart is that it looks beyond juice, despite what the name suggests. A dive into the menu reveals innovative cold brew options, savory protein bowls, oatmeal parfaits, and other plant-based treats — all made with organic ingredients. With nine locations in Florida, Raw Juce's mission is to make plant-based eating approachable and undeniably delicious.

Platonic Studios / Courtesy of Zak the Baker

This iconic Wynwood establishment is hard to miss — literally. Painted with the bold letters "BAKERY," the colorful exterior leads inside to a place that is much more than that. Zak the Baker goes beyond what's expected of a bakery, offering a variety of handmade pastries, artful toasts, and delicious soups and salads with a hint of Mediterranean flavor. Since the bakery came on the scene in 2012, owner Zak Stern has kept the establishment as fresh as its bread by incorporating new recipes for dough, pastries, and entrées. Most recently, he introduced a falafel pop-up with a limited menu and a ton of flavor, highlighting traditional falafel and shawarma served in homemade pita bread. In a sense, this is what makes Zak The Baker unique: an unwavering commitment to the comfort and magic of traditional yet delicious foods, even during a pandemic. And it's not just the food that makes Zak the Baker the best bakery — it's the compassion and dedication that goes into each batch of whatever he and his staff is baking. With every bite, you can taste the time and care that was part of the process.

Photo courtesy of Kush Hospitality Group

Think of this Coconut Grove dessert parlor as an '80s-inspired time warp. When you walk inside, you'll transport yourself into a whole other world — and that's the point. Matt Kuscher, founder of Vicky's House and its parent company, Kush Hospitality, began the project with a vision: to recreate his childhood home and the sweet comfort of his mother's treats. The result is this magical dessert spot, equipped with good vibes and a retro attitude. Vicky's expertise is over-the-top milkshakes ($15) with frosted rims and wild ingredients, from cola gummies and homemade blondies to bacon-glazed doughnuts and caramel popcorn. Vicky's also partners with local vendors, offering ice cream sandwiches made with ice cream from Dasher & Crank and savory snacks from Miami Smokers.

Photo courtesy of Serendipity Creamery

Serendipity's ice creams are made from scratch in small batches to ensure every bite is as flavorful as possible. Unique flavors like lavender orange — made with real lavender! — and breakfast cereal are complemented by classics, including traditional vanilla and sweet pistachio. Serendipity also offers a series of sorbets, as well as house-made marshmallows and peanut butter cups. Dedicated to the community, the shop sources local ingredients, including beer, coffee, and flowers, to infuse into various ice cream flavors whenever possible.

Fresh key limes? Check! Buttery spiced graham cracker crust? Check! Controversially delicious Italian meringue topping? Check! The battle between meringue and whipped cream runs deep when it comes to the perfect key lime pie, but there's a clear winner at dbakers. This tangy slice of heaven comes topped with a mile-high mountain of meringue that gives each bite the ideal sweet to tart ratio. Owned and operated by twin brothers who have mastered the art of macarons, cakes, and a variety of confections, they left no stone unturned when creating their version of a quintessential South Florida favorite. It's available by the slice ($7) or a whole pie that's enough for 15 servings or one really big sweet tooth ($45). Calling ahead to reserve this tasty treat is recommended as it's known to fly off the display shelves.

Photo by Elena Vivas

Beneath a ceiling painted to resemble melting chocolate dripping onto bright pink walls, watch the team at this Coral Gables dessert and gift house carefully stir and then roll up the scrumptious condensed-milk base that makes up brigadeiros — the irresistible, bite-size Brazilian treats that come in flavors such as classic chocolate covered with sprinkles, dulce de leche, key lime, and cookies-and-cream. The confections are sold by the unit ($1.80) and in an assortment of gift boxes. Brazilian-born brothers Pedro and Luciano Brilho also entice guests with delectable milkshakes, gooey chocolate cappuccinos, and cakes, including jar options for the calorie-conscious. The shop offers same-day delivery and catering for special events.

Courtesy of Vice City Bean

It's tempting to call Roland Baker, the cofounder of this industrial specialty coffee shop at the nexus of Wynwood, Downtown, and Edgewater, the mayor, but given how backward most Miami mayors are we'll save the compliment. Instead, rest easy knowing that in an era when coffee shops embrace an aloof millennial hipster motif and staff that seem unwilling to utter more than a curt, monosyllabic greeting, Baker is a kind of coffee man of yesteryear. He knows each one of his regulars, and soon-to-become regulars, by name. He knows what they do, how many kids they have, what they've been up to lately, and best of all who in the room they will get along with and can perhaps make a few bucks with. Of course, a slice of almond cake ($4) and the espresso and tonic ($6.25) are a perfect afternoon pick-me-up, but it's the fact that Vice City has a true personality, thanks to those behind the counter, that makes it extra special.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®