common / Luxe Living

A slice of Europe on South Beach

No need to fly overseas for a vacation when Española Way is only a short car drive away
BY MARY THURWACHTER


Balcony view of Española Way between 14th and 16th Street from Washington to Drexel avenues in Miami Beach. Balcony view of Española Way between 14th and 16th Street from Washington to Drexel avenues in Miami Beach. On a sultry summer evening in Miami Beach the waiters at Hosteria Romana go above and beyond to keep customers coming in and satisfied once they do. Their enthusiasm for each dish on the menu (from handmade pastas and pizzas to grilled meats and fish and hard-to-resist homemade desserts like tiramisu) can’t be overlooked.

But it’s not just the all-Italian wait staff’s fervor for Italian cuisine and knack for reeling in diners that makes them such a hit. They put on a show — singing, dancing and occasionally waving napkins in the air until customers find themselves joining in.

Not all of the music is Italian. Contemporary hits like “Despacito” and “Shape of You” get good play, too. It’s hard not to get caught up in the beat, the fun.


Rooms at the El Paseo Hotel come with gauzy white curtains, ocean hues and bold pops of color intertwined with pottery, books, blankets and framed vintage photos. Rooms at the El Paseo Hotel come with gauzy white curtains, ocean hues and bold pops of color intertwined with pottery, books, blankets and framed vintage photos. Welcome to Española Way.

Española Way, between 14th and 16 streets from Washington to Drexel Avenues, was the first commercial street in all of Miami Beach. The city just spent $2.5 million to restore the street and its vibe to the artist village it was in the 1920s.

Hosteria Romana is just one of 16 locally owned restaurants and specialty boutiques lining the pedestrian-only street. Another not-to-be missed attraction on the street is the flamenco show at Tapas y Tintos (www.tapasytintos.com) Thursday through Sunday nights. We loved it.

Other culinary hits for us on Española Way included breakfast at Havana 1957 (www.havana1957.com), a traditional Cuban restaurant that transports diners to old Cuba; dinner at Mercato della Pesceria (www.mercatodellapescheria.com), a market-style restaurant that features several culinary stations, including a fish market, meat market, and pasta-making station; and enjoying gelato and Melani Gelateria (www.milanigelateria.com).


Flamenco shows are offered at Tapas y Tintos on Española Way Thursday through Sunday nights. Flamenco shows are offered at Tapas y Tintos on Española Way Thursday through Sunday nights. On our next trip, we look forward to checking out Time Out Market, a few blocks away on Drexel Avenue. It’s due to open early next year. Food from the Miami’s best restaurants, top chefs and stunning local works of art will be the draw.

Unlike much of Miami Beach’s architecture in the city, which is Art Deco, Española Way was designed in a Mediterranean Revival style.

The place to stay is El Paseo Hotel, a boutique property reopened this year after a $7 million renovation.

A few blocks away from trendy Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road, the budget-friendly hotel has 71 rooms that stretch across seven villas. Elements of Spanish, Moroccan, Italian and French architecture are prominent throughout, and includes tile roofs, rounded archways and European inspired balconies. Rooms sport gauzy white curtains, ocean hues and bold pops of color intertwined with pottery, books, blankets and framed vintage photos.


Guests at the El Paseo Hotel have complimentary use of Spectacles, new sunglasses with an integrated video camera that connect directly to Snapchat. Guests at the El Paseo Hotel have complimentary use of Spectacles, new sunglasses with an integrated video camera that connect directly to Snapchat. An attentive staff checks in with guests daily to make certain all needs are met (need another blanket? Honor bar need re-stocking?). The hotel’s beach club is just three blocks away. Complimentary wine is served during happy hour in the hotel’s second floor library Mondays through Thursdays.

“We take pride in our authentic and unpretentious service that allows us to foster relationships with our guests while creating unique and tailored memories,” says general manager Luis Soto.


Dinner at Hosteria Romana, one of the most popular restaurants on Española Way. Dinner at Hosteria Romana, one of the most popular restaurants on Española Way. A unique way to save some of those memories is offered, too, since guests have complimentary use of Spectacles, sunglasses with an integrated video camera that connect directly to Snapchat via Bluetooth or WiFi and transfer images onto the user’s app.

The El Paseo never lost power during Hurricane Irma. And there’s always something new in the neighborhood. Yoga a la Española started on Saturday mornings last month and is already a hit. The destination had its first Noche de Coche, a monthly event geared towards families with small children who parade down the street in strollers, wagons and tri-cycles. And Papo Café opened in September. (Cafe mocha, anyone?).

Can’t wait to get back. It was like going to Spain or Italy without boarding a plane. ¦


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