|Expect large crowds in Wynwood.|
The weeklong, orgiastic mashup of artistic intellectual elitism is upon us. On December 5, Art Basel Miami Beach will begin with a VIP preview, also known as a vernissage
. It's a quiet affair where only those with buying power are invited to inspect what's on exhibit and make their purchases before us riffraff can use our day passes.
Don't be confused by all the trendy parties, free liquor, and over-the-top fashion. Miami Art Week -- or Art Basel or whatever umbrella name assigned to this first full week in December -- is all about the deal. So remember that as you affix that fake mustache to your fat upper lip while praying you'll get into the Le Baron party, none of it is really for you. It's for the Russian oil magnate looking for something to hang above his dining room table. It's for the Argentine cattle baron who's saddened by the bare walls at his chalet at the base of the Andes.
Still, the rest of us want to take in the sights, and we have to eat. So in between pretending to know about contemporary art's latest trends, peruse this rundown of the best places in Wynwood and the Design District to eat, make friends with an art dealer, and perhaps land yourself a sugar daddy (or mommy).
5. Oak Tavern
|Oak Tavern's charcuterie.|
David Bracha's Oak Tavern may have just sprouted along Northeast 40th Street, but he and his team long ago earned their bona fides with River Oyster Bar in Brickell. Stop in for smoked oysters and crudos. The team is also turning out some impressive sounding charcuteries, including Tuscan fennel salami, spicy soppressata and country rabbit pate.
4. Mandolin Aegean Bistro
|Mandolin's patio by night.|
Gallery lights can be harsh on the eyes and cast all kinds of awkward shadows. Do yourself a favor, get out of those labyrinthine tents and show rooms and get yourself a seat on the patio at Mandolin. The blue-and-white oasis on Northeast Second Avenue offers and endless selection of house made mezes to nosh on and cool crisp wines. If you're looking for more substantive and feeling flush, order the whole fish, simply grilled and seasoned with lemon and olive oil. Let your server fillet it for your, you wouldn't want a pin bone derailing your art affairs, would you?
3470 N. Miami Ave., Miami, FL