Kelly Talamas' Insider Guide to Miami

Photo by Genesis Bonilla

Photo by Genesis Bonilla

If you follow fashion, you probably know Kelly Talamas de Rilliet. Kelly is most known for her role as Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Mexico, a post she held from 2012-2016. During her tenure, Business of Fashion named her one of the 500 people who were shaping the global fashion landscape. While Kelly has bounced from her hometown of Miami, to Mexico, to Bogota, Miami is the place she will always call home. Since growing up there, she finds it exciting to return and explore the city with fresh eyes. As Miami has experienced a sort of creative renaissance over the last decade, the city extends itself beyond the South Beach party scene for which it was once known. Below, Kelly shares her favorite local spots to visit when she returns home.

Favorite hotel to stay at?

I often switch it up depending on the purpose of my visit. Recently we’ve stayed at the Mandarin Oriental in Brickell, and when staying on the beach, I like 1 Hotel, The Edition or Soho House.

Hotel you want to check out next time?

I’ve been wanting to try Casa Faena, a small boutique hotel owned by the Faena group, located just across the street from their main hotel. It has a more intimate feel, which personally I prefer. Also Life House Hotel just opened their first hotel in Little Havana so I definitely want to check that out.

Best brunch?

Sansara Cuban style pop-up brunch on Sundays at Tinta y Café is a local secret. Seating is very limited, so reservations are a must. For a more sceney brunch, there’s Faena’s also on Sundays, which has a delicious Argentinian asado.

Best shops?

The Webster is a well-known classic, but recently a handful of really cool shops have popped up, such as Bossa Concept, which specializes in Brazilian and Latin American designers. I love Antidote and it’s curated selection of sustainable brands. Also! I’m thrilled Ten Over Six recently opened a location in Little Haiti.

Best place to watch the sunset?

The Standard, hands down.

Best dinner spots for a big group?

I always do Mandolin Bistro with larger groups, not only for the charming ambiance and delicious food, but also there’s no comparison to the hospitality and personalized attention that Anastasia (a.k.a. @mrsmandolin) and her staff provide… it always feels like you’re over at a friend’s place for dinner. Also check out her shop that just opened!

Best romantic dinner spot?

Café Roval and Le Chat Noir because on date night I love dark, cozy places where you’re not likely to run into anyone you know.

Best bars?

I’ll always love Broken Shaker at the Freehand Hotel for its Wes Anderson-esque vibe. Baby Jane, The Anderson and Casa Florida are also fun, and if you’re looking for a night with live music and salsa dancing, Ball & Chain or Hoy Como Ayer on Calle Ocho are good options.

Best spot on the beach?

You can never go wrong with Soho House. When I’m not feeling the crowds though, I head to my dad’s place in North Miami Beach, which is nearby the Carillon Hotel (previously Canyon Ranch), a wellness resort with a delicious (and healthy) beachfront restaurant called The Strand.

Best neighborhood to pass the day:

If I’m not working or spending time with the family, my favorite place to be when back home is on the beach, in the ocean. That being said, the more I live abroad, the more I appreciate Calle Ocho’s unique charm and authenticity. Growing up in Miami, I never really appreciated its Cuban influence with the sidewalk windows where you can order a cafecito and croquetas to go, but the neighborhood is recently having a comeback. I’d suggest having a proper Cuban meal for lunch at Versailles, then popping over across the street to La Carreta for a cafecito (they make the best in my opinion). Then stroll down to Azucar for ice cream before heading to the domino park, where you can peak in at the local elder Cubans playing a game of dominoes while reminiscing about the good old days in La Habana. Then top off the day with a drink and live music at Ball & Chain.

Photos by Celia Luna

Photos by Celia Luna

Ball & Chain_Credit Celia Luna.JPG

Insider tips only a local would know?

There are so many layers to Miami, and different ways to do it. While I love new neighborhoods that have been developed more recently, such as Design District, Wynwood, etc., the more suburban neighborhoods like Coral Gables or Coconut Grove are also worth exploring. Try brunch at Green Street Café in the Grove then bike riding down Ingraham Highway (there’s a farmer’s market on the weekends worth checking out). Book a tour at The Kampong (a hidden gem some locals don’t even know about), the former estate of David Fairchild, which is now a National Tropical Botanical Garden that is so beautiful. Then continue bike riding to South Miami for ice cream at Whip n Dip, a true locals hangout. The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables is also a landmark and truly breathtaking. Try having brunch or lunch at one of their outdoor restaurants.

If you’re into music, a cool, iconic joint is Sweat Records in Little Haiti, which is now an up and coming neighborhood. It’s been around for ages though. And last but not least, if you love Joe’s Stone Crabs, but hate the ridiculous no reservation policy, a local’s secret is ordering next door at Joe’s Take Away, where you can order exactly what you would at the restaurant and enjoy a picnic on the beach or in the comfort of your own home/boat/location of choice, avoiding the often 2 hour plus wait to be seated.