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The city’s most modern food is emerging from one of its oldest neighborhoods: Coconut Grove.

For Giorgio Rapicavoli, the chef and Chopped champion behind the year-old restaurant Glass & Vine, Coconut Grove is a refreshing contrast to the glitz of the city.     

“To me, Coconut Grove represents old-school Miami. This small pocket of bayfront parks, marinas, shops, and restaurants just south of downtown Miami, is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. If you grew up in Miami like I did, odds are you spent a lot of time in Coconut Grove. I’m from Westchester, a mostly Hispanic suburb about seven miles west, but I spent my days in the Grove’s parks as a kid, and I went on dates to the movies here as a teen. Then in March 2016, I opened my restaurant, Glass & Vine, in Peacock Park. It seems that no matter how old you are, the Grove is always a part of a Miamian’s life.

“Many people see Wynwood as the cultural hub of Miami, because of its art galleries, or they think that South Beach is the only place with exciting restaurants. And while the Grove went through a period in the ’90s and into the aughts where it was dominated by chain restaurants, malls, and tourist traps, it has seen a revival in recent years. Independent shops and restaurants are opening. Young families have moved in, and there are art galleries and green spaces and pedestrian-friendly streets. People from all over the city are realizing that the Grove is cool again. Yet it still has authenticity, which can be lacking in other corners of Miami.

“Plus, some of the best food in Miami right now is coming out of the restaurants here, from Ariete, a Cuban-influenced spot, to Harry’s Pizzeria. I’m at Glass & Vine most nights, but even when I’m not, you’ll likely find me eating or shopping nearby or hanging out in Peacock Park.

"I think my favorite part of the neighborhood—the thing that never gets old—is when you turn from Main Highway onto McFarlane Road. You go from seeing small shops and tree-lined streets to this gorgeous view of the Biscayne Bay, the marina, and the surrounding areas. It’s beautiful, especially around sunset. You see all these people walking and biking, and it adds an aura of well-being. I see that and I think, ‘This is why I’m here, right now.’”

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A Chef's Guide to Miami
Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli shares his seven favorite places in Miami's Coconut Grove neighborhood for locals and travelers.
Collected by Afar Magazine, AFAR Staff
Harry's Pizzeria
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    Daniel Ramirez, a Miami native and and the chef de cuisine at the pioneering Harry's Pizzeria, has helped usher in the city's new wave of Neapolitan pies, pies so good they’d make a nonna cry. With locations in the Design District, Coconut Grove, and downtown Dadeland, these popular pizzerias are colonizing the city. Made with toppings such as braised short rib, slow roasted pork, and rock shrimp, devotees include other Miami chefs, such as Giorgio Rapicavoli of Glass & Vine and a Chopped champion who orders his Margherita pizza with extra char. 

    By Afar Magazine, AFAR Staff
    Harry's Pizzeria
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    Panther Coffee in Miami's ultra cool Wynwood Art District (and two other Miami locations) makes all drinks and brews to order, specializing in cortaditos, espressos and roasting their own beans. It's a hip spot with a Pacific Northwest vibe matched with a nod to the bike culture in South Florida. It attracts local artists, musicians, writers, and other locals who flock to their happy hours, poetry readings, and music events.
    By GiAnna Wyatt, AFAR Local Expert
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    "My everyday outfit, casual pants and V-neck tees, is all Kit and Ace. I own about 15 T-shirts from here, and they all have holes because I’ve worn them so much."—Giorgio Rapicavoli

    This appeared in the May/June 2017 issue.
    By Afar Magazine, AFAR Staff
    Kit and Ace
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    Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli opened a 225-seat restaurant in the space that used to be Coconut Grove Library, right in Peacock Park, and it quickly became one of the top retaurants in the city for its bright, seasonal cuisine and relaxed ambience. Most of the seats are outdoors, shaded by tall trees, and the indoor ones have views of the open kitchen. The chef tells diners to order the local fish tiradito, which is made with frozen leche de tigre and is his new take on ceviche.

    By Afar Magazine, AFAR Staff
    Glass & Vine
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    "They serve modern American riffs on Cuban food—I love the desserts. Their pastry chef studied under Hedy Goldsmith, a local pastry legend. Their take on pavlova is excellent."—Giorgio Rapicavoli

    This appeared in the May/June 2017 issue.
    By Afar Magazine, AFAR Staff
    Ariete
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    "This outdoor-adventure shop is so rad. It sells surfboards, paddleboards, hiking gear, and other outdoorsy things. I bought a great pair of swim trunks here, but I lost them in Hawaii when I tried to dry them by hanging them out a car window."—Giorgio Rapicavoli

    This appeared in the May/June 2017 issue.
    By Afar Magazine, AFAR Staff
    TKS Miami
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    "The Barnacle is a true piece of Miami history. I can’t think of many things in this city that are over 100 years old. It’s a great place to walk out to the water and take a few moments to reflect. Once you walk through the Barnacle’s subtropical landscape, there’s an incredible view of Biscayne Bay." —Giorgio Rapicavoli

    This appeared in the May/June 2017 issue.
    By Afar Magazine, AFAR Staff
    The Barnacle Historic State Park

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