This year, the city of Sunny Isles Beach celebrated its 20th anniversary since incorporating. This beach boomtown is a 2-mile stretch of luxe condos, diverse retail and high-end hotels that draw visitors from around the world. Sandwiched between Aventura and Bal Harbour, Sunny Isles put itself on the luxury map with the 2003 opening of Trump International Beach Resort. That drew other upscale hotels and residences, like Acqualina and Porsche Design Tower. More than just pretty buildings, Sunny Isles also boasts picturesque parks, beautiful beaches and globally inspired restaurants.
Meet Our Guide: Chef Kurtis Jantz
Chef Kurtis Jantz might have the best view in the working world, overseeing Neomi’s Grill, Gili’s Pool Bar and Gili’s Beach Club at the seaside Trump International Beach Resort. “Sunny Isles has such a diverse culture for a small community, and we have the most beautiful, clean beaches,” he said. Born in Japan and with an affinity for modern Florida cuisine, Jantz has been the resort’s executive chef since 2003, picking up scores of accolades along the way. His eight top picks in Sunny Isles Beach:
1. Get your juice fix here
“You never know who you’ll run into at Miami Juice. After a workout, I order the jiu-jitsu juice, a blend of watermelon, papaya, organic cream cheese, honey and protein powder.”
18660 Collins Avenue, Suite 101; 305-945-0444; miamijuice.com.
2. This is where to relax a bit
“On my days off, I like to unwind by fishing at the Sunny Isles Newport Pier, which was restored a few years ago. There’s also a laid-back Beach Bar on the pier that serves great Louisiana Gulf Coast oysters paired with Funky Buddha beers.”
16501 Collins Avenue; sibfl.net/ccs/parks/newportpier.
3. Quality family time in Sunny Isles Beach
“There is no shortage of great parks in Sunny Isles Beach. My daughter loves Gateway Park, which has a butterfly garden, playground and water features.”
151 Sunny Isles Boulevard; sibfl.net/ccs/parks/gateway-park.
4. Jazz Festival is a must-do event
“The annual Sunny Isles Beach Jazz Festival has become one of my favorite music events. Grab a picnic blanket, chairs and bottle of wine, then enjoy extraordinary musicians like Maryel Epps, who is amazing.”
November 18 at Gateway Park; sunnyislesbeachmiami.com/jazzfest.
5. The spot for a romantic dinner
“I’m not being biased: I love the lava stone grill dinners at Gili’s Beach Club. I think they provide a perfect opportunity for couples to engage with each other.”
18001 Collins Avenue; 305- 692-5777; trumpmiami.com/experience/dining/gilis-beach-club.
6. Where the chef shops
“At The Grand Gourmet Market, the staff is friendly, and there is an excellent selection of quality organic produce. It’s a great place to shop if you’re hosting a dinner party and want to impress your guests.”
17190 Collins Avenue; 305-974-0332; mythegrand.com.
7. Eat like a real Russian
“No visit to Sunny Isles Beach is complete without a taste of Russian cuisine. Kalinka Euro Deli is a locals’ favorite for authentic Russian food. It has the best piroshki meat pie and honey cake.”
18090 Collins Avenue; 305-705-9333; kalinkaeurodeli.com.
8. Favorite luxury shopping destination
“I’m a big fan of ECJ Luxe Collection, the luxury watch boutique, because of its impeccable service and attention to detail.”
16810 Collins Avenue; 305-947-8883; ecjluxe.com.