Española Way Guide

 

Española Way on Miami Beach offers plenty of flavor in a historic setting.

Española Way
The entrance to Espanola Way from Washington Ave. on Miami Beach.
 

By Micaela Hood

Tucked away from the heavy pedestrian traffic on Lincoln Road and the party scene of Washington Avenue, there's a picturesque street on Miami Beach where waiters sing, salsa dancers twirl and lights twinkle overhead.

For years locals and tourists have long been drawn to the charms of Española Way - a historic block north of 14th Street between Washington and Pennsylvania avenues.

The European influence and bohemian feel of the street, its cobblestone road and cavalcade of lights, are reminiscent of a ruelle in Paris, or a callejon in Madrid. In the daytime, you'll find shoppers leisurely browsing in mom-and-pop boutiques and diners enjoying one of the outdoor cafes.

At night, the street awakens to dancing and live music.

The historic thoroughfare was designed in 1925 by Miami Beach architect Robert Taylor for builder N.B.T. Roney, who built the Roney Plaza Hotel.

William Carey, the city's Historic Preservation director, said the National Register of Historic Places designated Española Way a historic site in 1979 as part of The Miami Beach Art Deco District listing. In 1986 the city named the street one of its first historic landmarks.

"The street has been modernized, but still has the same buildings as when I was a teenager, " said Richard Bower, husband of Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower, whose family bought a house on Española Way in 1939. He and his wife still live there.

Mario Rozon, co-owner of Café Barcelona (and longtime manager of Tapas & Tintos) said the restaurants of Española Way offer a vast array of dining choices, suitable for everyone.

"There is a little bit of everything: Italian, Cuban, French, Mexican and Spanish food."

Tapas & Tintos (448 Española Way) has more than 50 types of tapas (or snacks) on its menu.

And when the sun goes down, the restaurant is known to draw crowds with its free dance classes and two-for-one drink specials.

"Every night of the week is a party, " Rozon said. "We offer flamenco, tango and salsa classes with live music and lots of energy."

Across from the Spanish restaurant is Hosteria Romana - a popular Italian spot that was one of the first eateries on the street.

"I was a lonely soldier when I came here 11 years ago, " said owner, Marco Efrati. "Española Way has taken a big turn over the years."

Efrati, who also owns nearby Pizzeria D' Angolo (1446 Washington Ave.), says diners have come to love his family-inspired Italian dishes because they're "made with love."

He also owes his success to the lively, Italian-speaking staff. "My loud, singing waiters are what sets the place apart."

Not everyone visits Española Way for the food.

The street is also filled with mostly family-owned shops that sell items such as handmade jewelry, beachwear and adult toys.

"When I'm looking for a unique gift, I come here, " Aventura resident Tara Goldman said. "The beach has enough GAP and Victoria's Secrets, but I'm looking for something different."

Keeping the neighborhood feel is important to business owners.

"When I come here I feel at home, " said Alejandro Ferllen, co-owner of V&E Restaurant Group that owns five restaurants on Española Way: Segafredo, Oh! México!, Café Nuvó, La Cantina Sports Bar and Mojitos Lounge. Later this month, they plan to open an Irish Pub next door to Segafredo.

"It's one of the most beautiful streets in Miami Beach and has history and class, " Ferllen said.

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