The Biscayne Times

Jun 02nd
South Beach Wine and Food Festival Turns 18 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Geoffrey Anderson Jr. and Dianne Rubin, BT Contributors   
February 2019

Food news we know you can use

TPix_Dish_2-19his year the South Beach Wine and Food Festival becomes an adult. The festival, which is celebrating its 18th season, is usually top of mind for South Florida foodies in February. And for good reason. From February 20 to the 24, guests can eat great food, drink a ton, and mingle with some top television talent.

Despite the name, the festival’s events aren’t relegated to Miami Beach. Mainland folk can get in on the fun without crossing the MacArthur Causeway, thanks to a fun lineup of events throughout Brickell and Downtown Miami. Just be prepared to stay up past your bedtime.

On that Thursday, Mixing It Up on the Miami River will close out the day’s festivities. Starting at 10:00 p.m., crowds will descend upon The Wharf (114 SW N. River Dr., 305-906-4000) to enjoy bites from local staples like Spris Artisan Pizza, Suviche, and Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita. The host of the evening: Adam Richman, of Man Finds Food fame. Throughout the night, ticketholders will also indulge in specialty cocktails and Whispering Angel rosé.

Two days later, Mangia! A Taste of Italy After Dark will keep Casa Tua Cucina (70 SW 7th St., 305-755-0320) in Brickell City Centre open until 1:00 a.m. Ten different stations within the eatery will serve up pasta, pizza, and other Italian cuisine alongside plenty of wine (no surprise there). Chopped star Marc Murphy will be the evening’s host.

Not everything will keep you up late. On Saturday and Sunday, individuals who treasure their shut-eye can round up the kids and head over to Jungle Island (1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, 305-400-7000) for Goya Foods’ Fun and Fit as a Family. The two-day affair teaches attendees the basics of healthy living (and cooking) through hands-on experiences and interactive activities. Celebrity chefs like Rocco DiSpirito and Robert Irvine are slated to participate.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to SOBEWFF events. You can visit for a full lineup.



Although the festival is dominating the month’s headlines, it’s not the only fun to be had. New restaurants have opened (and reopened) since our last column, so voracious readers have a lot of opportunities to stay busy and full.

Arguably the biggest opening last month was La Placita (6789 Biscayne Blvd., 305-400-8173), the latest restaurant from Pubbelly chef José Mendin. This Puerto Rican eatery in MiMo stirred up quite a bit of controversy before its opening; a gigantic flag mural on the building’s exterior was met with pushback from the city. The controversy seems to have worked in their favor for now, as the restaurant is slammed for dinner service. Mofongo and stews are just a few of the specialties here, which you can read more about in this issue’s Dining Guide.

Not too far south, Wynwood welcomed a new rooftop spot: Astra (2121 NW 2nd Ave., 305-573-5778). The restaurant/lounge concept sits atop Sette Osteria, but the menu is nothing like that of its Italian neighbor. Instead of pastas and pizza, Astra focuses on Mediterranean selections like lamb chops, Greek salad, and mezze platters. There’s also ample space for you and your friends to catch a Miami sunset. In fact, the more the merrier: the roof can hold over 300 people.

On the other side of town, the Village at Gulfstream celebrated the reopening of Christine Lee’s (801 Silks Run, Unit #1580, 954-457-6255). Now located on the ground level instead of the third floor, the Chinese-American favorite has reinvigorated its menu with new items like poke bowls and ramen, while also “trimming the fat” by removing older selections, such as lemon chicken. These changes, combined with a more accessible location, should lead to more foot traffic and new customers.



In January, the Brickell community mourned the loss of Fado Irish Pub. The Mary Brickell Village establishment closed with little warning, announcing its sudden closure on social media. In its heyday, soccer fans flocked to the bar to watch their favorite teams (and drown their sorrows if they lost). Unfortunately, ongoing construction in the area kept many patrons away. We’ll personally miss Fado’s themed street parties -- St. Patrick’s Day won’t be the same.


Geoffrey Anderson Jr. and Dianne Rubin are co-founders of Miami Food Pug, an award-winning South Florida food blog that fuses the couple’s love of dogs and food.


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