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restaurants near the american airlines arena

Best Night Ever: Where to Eat and Drink Near the American Airlines Arena

By / October 9, 2018
   
   

If you’re all about basketball (hey, Dwyane Wade), star-studded concerts, and the occasional Cirque du Soleil or Disney on Ice show, then you’re probably familiar with Miami’s American Airlines Arena.

As the largest sports and entertainment venue in Miami, the arena is best known as the home of the Miami Heat. Minutes away from South Beach, the stadium is set up along the Biscayne Bay waterfront near the center of downtown Miami.

Since some of Miami’s best restaurants and attractions are just a few blocks away from the arena, anyone on their way to or from a show or game should consider spending the day here.

We’re thinking brunch at Fooq’s, a trip to the Pérez Art Museum or the Frost Science Museum, and dinner at NIU Kitchen before heading to the stadium. Then there’s post-event drinks at Lost Boy. Tommy Margarita, anyone?

Consider this your guide for what to eat, drink, and do before and after an event at this classic Miami venue.

 

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Where to eat

For a casual meal: Fooq’s

This family-style Persian restaurant is the perfect place to sit back, break bread, and fuel up with friends before or after an event. You’ll want to dig into a lavash bread basket with tahini hummus and smoky eggplant dip, followed by the house meatballs and a kebab platter. On weekends, the restaurant serves a killer brunch complete with pistachio French toast, bucatini carbonara, and a seasonal gelato platter.

For something a little more upscale: NIU Kitchen

This place is where you’ll want to take a date or significant other. NIU Kitchen serves an intimate Spanish-style tapas menu featuring cheese boards, steak tartare, mussels in a light wine sauce, seafood rice, and steak. Plus, it’s open for lunch and dinner daily, making it an easy place to stop.

 

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For an all-out feast: Boulud Sud

This one is a no-brainer. About a 15-minute walk (or five-minute drive) from the venue, Daniel Boulud’s restaurant Boulud Sud specializes in Mediterranean fare. It’s open for lunch and dinner, and you can choose from a selection of small, medium, and large plates. Some of our favorites include the mezze platter, octopus à la plancha, classic Greek salad, grilled skirt steak, and chicken tagine. Don’t forget to order a warm basket of Madeleines for dessert. During lunch, opt for a $27 two-course meal, or three courses for $34. Plus, Tapas Tuesday offers a lineup of $5 bites.

Where to drink

For a laid-back vibe: The Corner

This cozy drinking den — appropriately named for its location on the corner of 11th Street and North Miami Avenue — offers a robust list of cocktails, beer, and wine. There’s the Hurricane (white rum blended with passion fruit, pineapple, and orange), or the Hot & Smokey (mezcal, cane sugar, and chili). There’s also beer from Cigar City and Dogfish Head.

 

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For cocktails: Mama Tried

It’s hard not to love everything about this retro-inspired bar. Its ‘70s vibe and a unique concoction of cocktails have us sipping on the Porn Star Martini (vanilla vodka, passion fruit, and strawberry) or a beer from local brewmasters MIA Brewing or Funky Buddha. If you can swing it, stop in before the arena for an extended happy hour, which runs from 3pm to 8pm daily. It’s hard to beat $2 snacks, $3 beers and shots, and $7 cocktails.

For post-show drinks: Lost Boy

Think of this clothing store-turned-bar as an edgy spot to wind down with an Old Fashioned on a leather couch chair. The vintage-inspired space, which features an old piano, large bookcases, brick walls, and portraits of former U.S. presidents, serves an eclectic mix of drinks, from Aperol spritzes to margaritas and Negronis. On weekends, Lost Boy is open until 2am, which means you’ll have just enough time for a drink or two post-game or post-show.

 

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What to do

For culture: Go museum-hopping

Conveniently located next to the arena, find two of Miami’s main arts and culture spots: the Pérez Art Museum Miami and the Frost Science Museum. Peruse modern and contemporary works as well as an outdoor sculpture garden at the Pérez. Dine at the museum’s waterfront restaurant, Verde, which plates many of its items with an artistic touch. The Frost Science Museum includes a planetarium and an aquarium, along with exhibitions on space, engineering, animals and wildlife, and the body and mind. Across the street, visit the Freedom Tower (best known for its operation by the U.S. government as a reception center for Cuban refugees in the ‘60s and ‘70s), which now houses art and history exhibits.

For shopping: Brickell City Centre

The best way to kill some time? Go shopping. A couple miles away (and easily accessible via car), the state-of-the-art Brickell City Centre offers enough stores to keep you busy all day long (think Saks Fifth Avenue, Zara, the Apple Store, and more). Plus, there’s also an upscale movie theater, two Italian food halls, and a hotel with a swanky bar.

 

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For exploring: Bayside Marketplace

If you don’t have enough time to venture to the Brickell City Centre, right next door to the arena is Bayside Marketplace. It’s filled with restaurants, stores, and coffee shops, and a great spot to stop for an hour or two. It’s also a meeting place for a number of boat tours and cruises.

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