The Ultimate Guide: Sunny Isles Bites & Beverages

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Miami, the name elicits dreams of innovative cocktails on the beach, authentic street food, Cuban Heritage and the ambiance of a party in paradise.

Since I grew up as a second generation restaurateur my most vivid memories revolve around delicious dishes and contemporary cocktails with my favorite people.

There were many great places to dine in Sunny Isles; however, our favorites were at the resort. The brunch was a feast for the senses, the steaks were cooked to perfection and the service disillusioned us into believing we’d entered an alternate dimension. No place in the area could compete with the five star service we received at Acqualina.

 
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COSTA GRILL - DAILY BEACHSIDE SERVICE

Kate and I bolted onto the beach where Giselle from Costa Grille greeted us promptly. She offered some great drink suggestions, which we took her advice on.

We both ordered fresh coconuts from Thailand, which were out of this world. Once we drank the coconut water she offered to fill them with Pina Coladas, which was over the top in the best way possible. It was a great first impression.

 
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AREA 31: EPIC HOTEL

That evening we ordered a ride downtown to dine at Area 31: Epic Hotel; however, it did not live up to the high standards Acqualina set. We both ordered butternut squash risotto, which was not as good as the risotto we are used to in the North End of Boston. The view was spectacular so it was worth going for the opportunity to experience different surroundings, but I’d recommend getting a quick cocktail over a meal.

After, I suggested we try Il Mulino Lobby Bar to see what the resort had to offer.

 
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IL MULINO, THE LOBBY BAR

This is where I discovered the name of my new favorite drink, The Woman in Red, as well as two amazing employees.

William made the most carefully crafted cocktails I have had in years and was always quick to offer a smile to guests. The attention to detail, down to the garnishes was impeccable. He garnished the drink with beautiful edible flowers, which added just the right amount of elegance to the decadent drink.

Hector, our cocktail waiter, was a true natural to the industry. He would often check in with us to make sure we were having the best possible experience. These two employees definitely set the tone for our stay at Acqualina and we were quick to ask if they were available because we enjoyed their service so much.

 
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IL MULINO, FINE DINING ITALIAN

The following day, after having a relaxing experience at ESPA Spa, we went over to the Concierge Desk where we met Fredrik. He was an absolute gentleman, quick to acquiesce to our every wish and offer helpful advice on the area. He suggested Bourbon Steak for a meal, which looked exquisite, but we ultimately decided to try Il Mulino at the resort. We were so thrilled we did.

We started our meal with some simple white wines followed by an appetizer of Burrata. The delicious cheese practically melted in your mouth. Our server was quick to accommodate, going as far as to brush the crumbs from our table with a table crumb sweeper. Luis, our server, suggested a special of seafood stuffed ravioli.

I thoroughly enjoyed this suggestion and even decided to stay for a Baileys on the rocks and a dessert platter.  The platter included a flourless chocolate cake, tiramisu and ricotta cheesecake. If you decide to dine at Il Mulino I highly recommend this platter.

 
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COSTA GRILL, BEACH DINING

The night following a long photo shoot combined with a tour of Miami, Kate and I decided to have dinner outside. We both ordered steaks, with different sides.

While we were waiting our waitress, Fiorella, brought out spicy homemade zucchini chips. She was very good at paying attention to detail and I have to commend her on how quick she was to pre-bus everything so our table stayed neat and tidy.  I ordered my steak, medium, which was cooked to perfection. I also ordered the truffle fries.

 
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ACQUALINA CHOPHOUSE & GALENTINE’S DINNER

We went to the Acqualina Chop House on two separate occasions. The first time we went our waiter was Warren. He was a complete gentleman, knowledgeable of the menu and friendly. Luis also came by our table and was kind enough to offer to take a picture of the two of us when he saw us struggling to take one on our own. These two had the capability to truly anticipate a guests needs. I ordered the halibut special and Kate had the chicken parmesan. Both were very good, but the highlight of the trip for me was the steak.

On Galentine’s Day Kate and I were dateless so we decided to treat one another to dinner. The special dinner was four courses and each was more delectable than the next. Hector was our waiter.

Despite how busy the restaurant was, he made the effort to truly give us the best service possible. He went above and beyond to make sure we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. I started with the crab cake and Kate had the burrata. The crab cake was a bit heavy on the potato, but the flavor was still good. The second course was one of my favorite meals of the trip. It was a short rib ravioli in a rich browned butter, cream sauce with sage. The flavors of this dish were exquisite. For my entree I had pollo marsala and Kate had the steak followed by a pana cotta dessert. The experience was truly what made this meal so special. The waiters were super thoughtful and noticed we were alone on Valentine’s Day so they tried to make us feel as special as possible. It was truly very sweet.