The Art of Eating: 5 Great Food Spots to Hit During Art Basel Miami

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Art Basel Miami is not just about the art and fashionable fetes, it’s also about the food
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Dominique Ansel Bakery/Facebook

Yum! Dominique Ansel brings a burrata soft serve cone to The Setai.

Here’s a guide to savory sustenance and sweet treats to fortify your staying power during Miami’s world famous blowout this December 3–6.
The Setai Miami Beach

The Setai Miami Beach is opening a special pop-up experience by New York City–based pastry chef Dominique Ansel,

renowned for his invention of the Cronut, a croissant and doughnut hybrid. The surprise pop-up is a soft-serve window featuring two delicious flavors: caramel stout soft serve with chocolate “caviar,“ and sea salt brownies and burrata soft serve with balsamic caramel confit and microbasil (with a confit strawberry filling inside). Super creamy and made with fresh milk (as opposed to a mix or a powder), each flavor is served in a homemade, hand-rolled honey tuile cone for $7. Guests staying at the hotel get complimentary cones.

Beachcraft by Tom Colicchio

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Estudio Mendoza

Tom Colicchio’s Beachcraft is the place for seafood lovers.

In line with the brand’s eco-friendly ethos, Beachcraft is the newly opened 1 Hotel South Beach’s sustainable seaside grill. Celebrated for its farmstand-fresh vegetables, locally hooked catches of the day, raw bar, and antibiotic-free meats, the restaurant is worth a visit for seafood lovers. I happen to be one of those and can personally vouch for the calamari with garbanzos, preserved lemon, fresno chili and artichokes; organic vegetables with heirloom grains and mustard vinaigrette; the queen snapper with Chinese long beans and lemon-rosemary vinaigrette, and the cobia served with heirloom cherry tomatoes & purple cabbage kimchi. Through December 5, (8 a.m.–noon), refresh and recharge at the hotel’s private beach oasis with a hydration station, vegan snacks, mini massages, mediation, yoga, Pilates, and full body training. Don’t miss SoulCycle’s pop-up studio, featuring live art by Brooklyn-born, L.A.-based Gregory Siff through December 4.  

Verde at PAMM

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Cendino Teme

Enjoy this atypical museum restaurant overlooking the idyllic Biscayne Bay.

Verde at the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is not your typical museum restaurant. Chef Kaytlin Brakefield, previously of L’Apicio in New York, is constantly finding inspiration in the museum’s exhibits, landscape, and culture when developing new menu items — which you can enjoy from either indoor or outdoor seating overlooking the idyllic Biscayne Bay. During Art Basel, diners can enjoy a special, prix fixe menu to honor the new “Sun Splashed” exhibit created by Nari Ward. 

Mandarin Oriental, Miami

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Mandarin Oriental Miami

Food, art, and music mix during La Mar’s special Art Basel dinner series—where this performer will be wearing a dress made of speakers.

Mandarin Oriental Miami is blending art, music, and technology for Art Basel. Executive Chef Diego Oka is launching a special ABMB menu in the hotel’s waterfront Peruvian restaurant, La Mar by Gastón Acurio, inspired by the hotel’s “Pure Abstraction” exhibition, which features colorful works from popular street artist and painter Alex Brewer, known as HENSE. On December 3, from 7–9 p.m., Peruvian musician Pauchi Sasaki will kick off the exhibition with a live musical session in the restaurant; she’ll be wearing a dress made of speakers that allows her to mix a violin performance with electronic music through sensors on her hands. Not one to miss! 

The Freehand Miami

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The Freehand Miami

Pig out for a good cause at The Freehand’s Swig & Swine benefit party.

The Freehand, Miami’s hottest hostel and watering hole, is hosting its second annual Swig & Swine party on December 6. The fete benefits the Overtown Youth Center and will be held in the Freehand’s in-house bar, the Broken Shaker. From 3–8 p.m., partygoers can fill up on art, pig, and punch with beats by DJ Morse Code, who will be playing all afternoon. An impressive roster of culinary talent will prepare the Swig & Swine menu, including The Bon Vivants’ Founding Partner ScoQ Baird; Michael Pirolo, chef/owner of Macchialina and Bazi; Jimmy Lebron, chef at 27 Restaurant; and Halid Quiroz, chef at Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Co. (Tickets are available online for $30 at or $40 at the door. 

The Standard Spa

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The Standard Spa

The Standard will perfect the art of the barbecue this weekend.

The Standard Spa is partnering with the New York–based nonprofit arts organization Creative Time to present its annual Lazy Sunday BBQ on December 6, from noon to sunset. The celebration will include delicious grills and cold bayside drinks with tunes by DJ Brendan Fallis in Miami’s most stylish oasis, the hotel’s Lido restaurant. 

Mondrian South Beach

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The Mondrian South Beach)

Pies, thighs, and Ping-Pong balls — all at the Mondrian South Beach.

When all you New Yorkers are dying for a bit of Brooklyn, head to Mondrian South Beach for Japanese dishes at the pop-up Momo Sushi Shack, known for its use of heirloom ingredients and extensive vegetarian and vegan options. For Art Basel, Williamsburg-based Pies ‘n’ Thighs will serve its signature fried chicken, pork sandwiches, and other Southern classics here too. After you digest, dive headfirst into the pool full of Ping-Pong balls, which serve as an interactive canvas for a projection installation from digital artists Dawn of Man. 

Nautilus, a SIXTY Hotel

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Nautilis, A SIXTY Hotel

The restaurant at the new Nautilus is helmed by celeb chef Alex Guarnaschelli.

The Driftwood Room is the stunning signature restaurant at the newly opened Nautilus, A SIXTY Hotel, one of Jason Pomeranc’s latest creations. Helmed by Food Network star and Executive Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, the menu uses locally sourced ingredients and reflects her expertise in French cuisine blended with the diverse array of Latin cultures represented in Miami. While you are there, don’t miss Wonderwheel, a site-specific installation in the hotel’s lobby, featuring neo-pop art in a variety of mediums.

Viceroy Miami

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Viceroy Miami

The Viceroy is serving up a special happy hour menu of art.

On December 3 and 4 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the Viceroy Miamis  signature restaurant, 15th & Vine Kitchen and Bar, is hosting a special Art Basel Happy Hour in collaboration with American-French painter Duaív. Guests can nosh on appetizers, and signature cocktails, house wines, prosecco, and draft beer for $5 each while appreciating the artist’s masterpieces presented on the back of dinner menus and adorning the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling columns. Duaív is an accomplished painter and classically trained musician whose immigration to the United States was sponsored by Yo-Yo Ma.

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This article was originally published on December 3, 2015 by Nora Walsh / Patchwork Compass