By Paul Rubio
Miami Beach’s Española Way was conceived in the 1920s as an artists’ colony in the fashion of New York’s Greenwich Village and quickly evolved into one of Miami Beach’s most iconic spots for dining and entertainment. Now, on the heels of its centennial, the Spanish-inspired, pedestrian-only thoroughfare has undergone a $2.5-million facelift and is throwing weekly parties to celebrate the glowing results.
Through weekly programming, which includes the likes of opera performances, flamenco dancing, and salsa dancing—and plenty of eating and drinking—travelers and locals can immerse in Española Way’s festive atmosphere, bohemian vibe, and distinctive Mediterranean Revival architecture.
Here, our four favorite means for achieving the maximum Española Way experience, just a short drive from Acqualina Resort & Spa:
Opera and Happy Hour Wednesdays
Arrive to the Way early evening for a mini pub-crawl. Choose from six restaurants offering Happy Hour specials, from 4 to 7 pm. Start at Cuban restaurant Havana 1957 with mojitos, made with fresh mint and sugar cane, and continue with handcrafted kiwi margaritas or jalapeño margaritas at Oh! Mexico. Just before 7 pm, inch over to the Way’s famed trattoria, Hosteria Romana, and stake out one of the coveted outdoor tables. Go for happy hour’s last call with a pitcher of house sangria, and stay for a hearty dinner of homemade pastas, during which you’ll be treated to a complimentary opera performance from 8:30 to 9:30 pm.
The Miami Beach weekend unofficially starts at 7:30 pm on Thursdays when Española Way erupts into one big street party with a live salsa band and salsa dancers. The action first centers on 1950s-inspired Cuban restaurant Havana 1957 but soon spills over to neighboring restaurants and down an entire city block. By 8 pm, the Cuba libres are flowing, and patrons and passersby are showing off their best moves. Consider staying at 57 for a dinner of ropa vieja (shredded beef in an onion and tomato sauce) and truffle yuca fries. After, head to Española Cigar Restaurant & Lounge to smoke a hand-rolled stogie, or opt for a more family-friendly nightcap with handcrafted Italian gelato at Milani Gelateria (we recommend the Cream Caramel flavor).
Get swept away by the romance and beauty of flamenco dance with performances outside Spanish restaurant Tapas y Tintos every Friday between 7:30 and 8:30 pm. As the show tends to draw huge crowds, consider a more intimate experience by reserving a table at the restaurant for the live flamenco show indoors, which takes place Fridays at 9 pm (as well as Saturdays at 9 pm and Sundays at 8:30 pm). For dinner, begin with classic tapas like pulpo a la gallega (braised Spanish octopus) and patatas bravas (fried potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce), followed by family-style mains like seafood paella and cazuela del mar (seafood stew). Imbibe on Albariños, Tempranillos, and sangrias, but also consider trying one of the gin-forward cocktails—the restaurant proudly carries 18 types of gin and five types of tonics.
Rain or shine, from noon to 9 pm every Sunday, Española Way’s sidewalks teem with small stands featuring handmade merchandise by local artisans. Pick up souvenirs such as handmade candles, hand-knitted scarfs, costume jewelry, knitted purses, baskets, and jars of local honey and jams. On the earlier end of market day, enjoy some fresh French pastries from one of the regular vendors. If arriving later, pair the market with dinner at Pane & Vino La Trattoria, where the in-house pasta maker rolls out the good stuff in the front window and Sicilian Chef GianoPaolo Ferrera dazzles with his secret family recipes.
*All photos courtesy of Española Way
About the Contributor
Travel journalist Paul Rubio is a Miami native who has lived in nine countries and traveled to 110 (and counting). Rubio’s writing appears in Condé Nast Traveler, LUXURY, Robb Report, Private Clubs, and ultratravel.