Best of Miami 2010

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Best Bar Scene: Crazy Piano’s
There’s a time in every UM student’s career when the Grove simply becomes too repetitive. Popular bars like Tavern and Barracuda’s are too crowded to enjoy a pitcher. Once you drop $10 on a Moose Juice at Mr. Moe’s, you start thinking about pre-gaming twice as hard next time. Crazy Piano’s, located on the top floor of CocoWalk, takes care of these woes. The piano bar provides a unique setup with an eclectic mix of music, while the outside patio/bar provides a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy a drink and overlook another round of chaos in the Grove.

Best Happy Hour: Monty’s
Once the weekend officially starts and Friday’s disastrous exam is long forgotten, there’s only one place to be when the sun is out. Offering the strongest drinks in the Grove at discounted “happy hour” rates, Monty’s is home to a (mostly) friendly bartending staff and the best outdoor atmosphere in the area. Try a Miami Vice (strawberry daiquiri/piña colada combo) while gazing out at the yachts near the dock, and you’ll think you’re in paradise. But beware: have one too many Painkiller-3’s on an empty stomach, and you’ll think you’re in hell.

Best Bar Where You Can Wear A T-Shirt: The Rathskeller
When administration announced plans to knock down the Rathskeller in preparation for a new and improved University Center, panic struck through campus like wildfire. What would students do without their NFL Sunday go-to spot? Where else could you go to enjoy $4.99 pitchers of beer after class and $2.99 specials at lunch? Where else could you drink on campus in shorts and a t-shirt and then stumble back to your room? Imagining campus without the Rathskeller is an undeniable nightmare for any UM student.

Best Apartment Complex: Red Road Commons
The recent on-campus housing crisis and the shutdown of the apartment area would be a lot more horrifying for students if it wasn’t for the Red Road Commons apartment complex, which is less than a year old. Located a mere five-minute walk from the nearest HurryCane shuttle stop, the complex offers the benefits of living off campus without the hassle of commuting a significant distance. With its own pool (complete with grills for outdoor barbecues) and a roughly 80 percent UM student-tenant ratio, it’s no surprise that Red Road has become a popular spot for weekends relaxing in the sun and Thursday night Grove pre-games.

Camron Ghorbi may be contacted at

Best Pizza: California Pizza Kitchen
California Pizza Kitchen serves up hearth-baked gourmet pizzas in a trendy atmosphere. With toppings like Jamaican jerk chicken, pear and gorgonzola and carne asada there is something everyone will love. And if you’re not in the mood for pizza, CPK has a full menu of appetizers, pastas, soups, sandwiches, smoothies and unique salads to choose from. You can even call in your order for takeout or have it delivered right to your dorm.

Best Kept Secret: Bougainvillea’s
Bougainvillea’s is a cozy, laid-back bar located in the heart of South Miami, known for its live music and friendly crowd. Come in Tuesday through Saturday night to hear a variety of live bands with styles ranging from rock to jazz, and reggae to R&B. There are drink specials every night of the week but never a cover charge. Ladies drink free on Wednesdays, and Friday’s feature live classic rock.

Best Pizza: California Pizza Kitchen
California Pizza Kitchen serves up hearth-baked gourmet pizzas in a trendy atmosphere. With toppings like Jamaican jerk chicken, pear and gorgonzola and carne asada there is something everyone will love. And if you’re not in the mood for pizza, CPK has a full menu of appetizers, pastas, soups, sandwiches, smoothies and unique salads to choose from. You can even call in your order for takeout or have it delivered right to your dorm.

Best Dessert: Whip ‘n Dip
Whip ‘n Dip may be located a few blocks away from the hustle and bustle of downtown South Miami, but it is well worth the walk. The shop is famous for their homemade ice cream and light soft serve. Their whips and dips come in all the typical flavors, as well as mouth-watering monthly specials like brownie batter and cherry pie. Whip ‘n Dip also serves an array of other sweet temptations like chocolate-dipped frozen bananas, homemade cookies and custom cakes. With all the tasty treats to choose from, you’ll be coming back for more.

Danielle Peloquin may be contacted at

Best Mexican: Chipotle
When you’re craving Mexican or just a burrito the size of your head, Chipotle is sure to please. The options are endless. Choose between a burrito, burrito bowl, taco or salad, and five different meat selections. Add some cilantro-lime rice, beans and salsa, and you’ve got an original Chipotle creation. Even though your stomach might feel like it’s going to explode after a visit to Chipotle, the savory flavors of this Mexican standy-by are well worth it.

Best salon/spa: Nikita Paris
Upon entering Nikita Paris, a receptionist sweeps past you to take your jacket and offer you a beverage. Many of the stylists on staff are originally from France, adding a unique European flair to the salon. It is not uncommon to hear French, Spanish and English spoken simultaneously during your visit. Using their Parisian flair to coordinate with your personal vision, stylists create an effortlessly elegant hairstyle upon every visit. Whether you simply want a trim or entire style makeover, you can’t go wrong with Nikita Paris.

Best tanning salon: Au naturale
What’s the point of visiting a tanning salon when you live in Miami? Students can be found laying out daily on the IM fields, soaking up the sun at the UC pool and tanning between classes. Despite having to study for finals and writing term papers, students pressed for time at “Sunshine U” still know how to achieve the perfect bronze…the all natural way.

Danielle Kaslow may  be contacted at

Best Takeout: Gables Pizza and Salad
Bursting on the scene last year, Gables Pizza and Salad has gained a reputation for a take-out place where you can stuff yourself silly. The salads, which come in mixing bowls, their New York-style slices and those oh-so-heavenly garlic knots makes it hard for any student to resist walking across U.S. 1 for satisfying takeout. Open until 1 a.m. on weekends and with free delivery, “GPS” is perfect for late night cravings.

Best Place to Shop: Victoria’s Secret
Victoria’s Secret is perfect for women at the U. Pink’s Miami line is great for class or studying at “Club Richter.” The swim line can be seen everywhere at the pool and their lingerie is bound to award you best dressed at your next mixer. Stop in to any of the multiple locations that surround campus and shop your homework blues away.

Nancy Oben may be contacted at

Best Asian: Stir Moon/Moon
If you’ve never tried Thai or Japanese food, Moon is the perfect place to begin your love affair with Asian cuisine. Moon and Stir Moon are both walking distance from the UM campus on U.S. 1, and conveniently stay open until 11 p.m. on most days. The restaurants offer a wide variety of food from their two separate menus of Thai and Japanese, sure to please everyone in your dinner party.

Claudia Aguirre may be contacted at

Best Place to find a hot date: Otto G. Richter Library
Next time you consider going out to find a date, don’t forget about “Club Richter.” The Otto G. Richter Library is filled with students at all hours of the day who could use a study break and, with so many dark corners, who wouldn’t want to cuddle up to someone in the stacks? Next time you see someone go from writing their essay to writing on someone’s Facebook wall, invite them for a coffee at the conveniently located Starbucks next door and see if sparks fly.

Best After-Hours Spot: Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill
Twenty-one Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill locations dot the South Florida coast. Among these, the Flanigan’s in Coconut Grove is elite: it’s open until 5 a.m., making it a popular destination for University of Miami insomniacs. Students love its rustic, seafaring charm (and by rustic, it looks to be made of wood salvaged from Noah’s Ark) and its high quality food. The ribs here are standouts from a menu filled with delicious sandwiches, pastas and seafood dishes. When you go, in the wee hours of the night or otherwise, be sure to keep your cup- next visit refills are $1.39 and unlimited.

Best Liquor Store: Gulf Liquors
Gulf Liquors is the college kid’s equivalent to a little kid’s candy store (moderation, in both cases, is required). Here, instead of jelly beans by the pound, the walls are lined with pretty glass bottles from around the world filled with beer, wines and spirits. The emphasis at Gulf Liquors is on the latter two, so winos and bartender wannabes can find their favorites right across from campus on U.S. 1. UM students get discounts with a Cane Card, but be sure to bring a card of a different sort, too- your license.

Jeremy Rosenthal may  be contacted at

Best Club: LIV
If you are looking for a place to rub elbows with celebrities from the Kardashians to Bill Clinton, LIV is the place to go. Located in the Fontainebleau hotel, LIV combines the energy of being one of the hottest clubs in Miami and the allure and elegance of the historic hotel. The big-name celebrities, sophisticated style and fabulous design make LIV stand out from other clubs on the beach.

Rebecca Falcon may be contacted at

Best Place to Nurse a Hangover: Bagel Emporium
An assortment of bagels? Check. A variety of spreads? Check. Fast and friendly service? Mark that off too. Bagel Emporium isn’t just a run of the mill deli; it’s a breakfast haven with a stellar lunch menu as well. Have eggs done your favorite way, choose from a plethora of hot and fresh sandwiches, or sample the soup and salad duo as a healthy midday filler.

Best Burgers: Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Maybe it’s the enthusiasm of the staff, packed behind the counter and shouting out order numbers to the eager customers standing by. Or maybe it’s the sheer joy you get from biting into a juicy bacon cheeseburger. Whatever it is, Five Guys has got it right. Tangy Cajun fries, burgers done to perfection and sizzling foot-long hot dogs make this joint a surefire favorite among University of Miami students.

Best Late Night Munchies: Taco Bell
There’s no late night craving more synonymous with college kids than the fast food titan that dared you to think outside the bun. While you may regret your Taco Bell excursion the next morning, the minute you sink your teeth into the chewy and cheesy Crunchwrap Supreme is worth the subsequent stomach pain.

Best Place for a First Date: Villagio Ristorante
Villagio consistently serves mouth-watering dishes while providing intimate service in a beautiful setting, whether seated inside or outdoors. You should definitely try the lasagna once (creamy, well-portioned and deliciousness), any cut of veal and either the quattro formaggi (four cheese) or margherita pizza. For dessert, the apple pie will leave your taste buds rejoicing: its thinly-sliced apples, ample cinnamon and an airy puff-pastry crust will end any night on a high note.

Nicole Adlman may be contacted