When we hear the name Faena, our minds immediately think of a place that’s way out of our price range. Fortunately for budget-conscious diners, Casa Faena — the namesake district’s boutique property — offers a financially friendly brunch for those seeking quality food in one of Miami’s hottest areas. It’s Faena without the Faena prices.
In fall 2015, La Feria by Mercado de San Miguel set up shop in Downtown to bring a taste of Spain to the 305. Based on a similar Spanish food market in Madrid, the popup stayed put for a few months before going on tour and expanding the experience to others. This past October, La Feria 2.0 made its return to Miami, bringing back much of the same delicious food plus several fun additions.
When we think of great happy hours on Miami Beach, Semilla always comes to mind. Their Monday-Saturday specials are hard to beat: Deeply discounted beverages and bites draw droves to this modern gastropub on Alton Road and 13th Street. $6 tapas and cocktails? Count us in.
But while these specials get much of the spotlight here, there’s a ton of other satisfying selections to be had. Chef Frederic Joulin mixes French, Spanish and Italian influences to create an extensive menu that can please even the pickiest of eaters. Look beyond the happy hour selections, and your taste buds will be handsomely rewarded.
Downtown Doral is killing it lately. Dragonfly Izakaya and Fish Market wowed us a few weeks back, and now another restaurant juggernaut is changing the neighborhood food scene for the better: Bulla Gastrobar. The beloved Coral Gables Spanish restaurant opened its Doral outpost last month and, if you’re a fan of the original, you’re going to love this one, too.
When we visited Barceloneta for a media dine a few weeks back, we weren’t expecting much. The Sunset Harbour restaurant, which specializes in Spanish Mediterranean cuisine, has been a staple of the area since 2011, but we just never had any urge to stop by; our “just-okay” experience at their now-shuttered South Miami location probably had something to do with it.
But life is all about second chances, right? Well, we’re glad we went back. Little did we know that we would enjoy one of our favorite meals of 2016 here — and one that had us immediately asking, “Did we just become best friends?”