In the late 1950’s in a swampland far far away from the city of Miami, Doris and Alfred Kaskel purchased 2,400 acres between NW 36 street and NW 74 street and from NW 79 avenue to NW 117 avenue with the intention of building a golf course and hotel. Many decades later, the combination of the couple’s name is now a city. Today everyone in Miami knows of Doral, the overall sentiment is that it is far. I grew up in Doral before it was on Miami-Dade’s map and you won’t hear me speak ill of my hometown, but yeah, it is far.
Now that you’ve made the 5-mile trek from Miami International Airport, there’s plenty of food and beverage choices. Downtown Doral has everything you could hope for: it’s walkable, quiet and there’s a bunch of delicious options.
Dragonfly Izakaya & Fish Market is a top choice in Miami’s culinary line up. The selection of sushi, the main dining room and a traditional fish market similar to Tsukiji Fish Market in Japan are all reasons to go to Dragonfly. An impressive place such as Dragonfly can leave you overwhelmed and unable to make a decision on what to order, but don’t worry Chef Ray has a menu of his choices for you. There’s a staff menu, if that’s not enough good advice, they’ve also complied customer favorites into a menu. You can’t go wrong with any of these selections. If you missed a chance to try their menu during Miami Spice you can still find great deals during happier hours: Monday through Friday, 3 to 7pm and Saturday and Sunday, from 5 to 7pm. You could even walk with your dog to the stylish terrace.
Pisco y Nazca
Ceviche is a must in Miami. Pisco y Nazca Gastrobar is the right place to have a business lunch or come back at night when the place comes alive; ideal for a date or celebration. You can’t go wrong with a pisco and ceviche here. I can’t decide what I appreciate more: Pisco y Nazca Gastrobar’s architecture or la hora loca. Both should be on your radar. My brunch recommendation: paneton french toast fruit cake, mixed fruit salad, dulce de leche syrup, lúcuma syrup and Nazca mule: Pisco Cuatro Gallos, Fever-Tree ginger beer, fresh lime juice.
In Downtown Doral there’s a public library branch and Doral’s contemporary art museum, Dorcam. Take it all in and enjoy your favorite coffee at Pasion del Cielo or a dulce de leche ice cream at Freddo.
Doral keeps growing, but the best is yet to come. Great spots to look forward to: Antonio Bachour’s editorial worthy patisserie is located at Time Out Market Miami and in Coral Gables. Soon Bachour Bakery will also be in a great space in Downtown Doral. Della Heiman is one of Miami’s most inspirational people. She’s lived all over the world and brings a sense of community to Miami. The Doral Yard is set to open very soon in Downtown Doral. Stay alert for the open sign to appear and keep supporting local vendors. If you loved Wynwood Yard, you’ll have a chance to join in on the calendar of events at their new location.
For many neighbors in Doral, they’ve left their countries and they’ve had to start anew. Something that brings us together is food. Join the communities and experience each cuisine, language and culture.
On the main streets in Doral: 41st street (the continuation of 36th street), has all the goods. The Argentinian deli of Doral has your medialunas, yerba mate, alfajores, empanadas, bife de chorizo, provoleta, chimichurri, dulce de leche. You think you get the picture, but I’d bet you’d freak out the second you open the doors to all their Patagonian treats.
Italian restaurant, Basilico is run by friends, Rodrigo Gonzalez and Carlos Loya. It’s my family’s second home and for many people in Doral as well since this restaurant is packed on any given night. Home cooked favorites: costoletta di vitello alla milanesa, ravioli di gorgonzola e pera con salsa di fico fatti in casa, spaghetti al nero sepia con gamberi, portobello al pomodoro fresco, linguine ai frutti di mare, linguine alle vongole and of course tiramisu.
Mention Pepito’s Plaza to a Venezuelan anywhere in the world and they know where it is. It has been open for almost two decades, it’s the place to go at any hour day or night, and Anthony Bourdain ate at Pepito’s during his Miami rendezvous (Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown). This intersection of Doral is to meet up for a cachapa and watch a soccer game. Follow the two birds with one stone philosophy and get gas here while taking a breather from the traffic.
There are really good craft beer options made in Miami. Local recommendation is to check out the breweries. In Doral there’s more than a couple, M.I.A, Beat Culture, Biscayne Bay Brewing and The Tank Brewing Co. Our choice is Tripping Animals Brewing Co. They’ve only been around since late 2018, but they’re very much a part of the community like events with Sofar Sounds or pop ups with The Yard. The place and people are super inviting and dogs are welcome too. Some suggestions given by José from Tripping Animals: It’s showtime, turpial saison lemon grass and ginger, new turpial saison blackberry and sage, and to commemorate their one-year anniversary of their opening, flight around the sun.
ICYMI here’s some random information about Doral: Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli grew up in Doral. David Beckham’s Inter Miami will not be in Doral, Dolphin Mall is not located in Doral, and Miami Herald HQ is in Doral. In 2020, HistoryMiami Museum will give a Doral history and culture walking tour. Check out the go-to places in NW Miami a.k.a Doral and be pleasantly surprised.