Best of Miami

Best Pizza: California Pizza Kitchen By Danielle Peloquin

California Pizza Kitchen serves up hearth-baked gourmet pizzas in a trendy atmosphere. With toppings like Jamaican jerk chicken, pear and gorgonzola, and carne asada there is something everyone will love. And if you’re not in the mood for pizza, CPK has a full menu of appetizers, pastas, soups, sandwiches, smoothies and unique salads to choose from. You can even call in your order for takeout or have it delivered right to your dorm.

Best Dessert: Whip ‘n Dip By Danielle Peloquin
Whip ‘n Dip may be located a few blocks away from the hustle and bustle of downtown South Miami, but it is well worth the walk. The shop is famous for their homemade ice cream and light soft serve. Their whips and dips come in all the typical flavors, as well as mouth-watering monthly specials like brownie batter and cherry pie. Whip ‘n Dip also serves an array of other sweet temptations like chocolate-dipped frozen bananas, homemade cookies and custom cakes. With all the tasty treats to choose from, you’ll be coming back for more.

Best Mexican: Chipotle By Danielle Kaslow
When you’re craving Mexican or just a burrito the size of your head, Chipotle is sure to please. The options are endless. Choose between a burrito, burrito bowl, taco or salad, and five different meat selections. Add some cilantro-lime rice, beans and salsa, and you’ve got an original Chipotle creation. Even though your stomach might feel like it’s going to explode after a visit to Chipotle, the savory flavors of this Mexican stand-by are well worth it.

Best salon/spa: Nikita Paris By Danielle Kaslow
Upon entering Nikita Paris, a receptionist sweeps past you to take your jacket and offer you a beverage. Many of the stylists on staff are originally from France, adding a unique European flair to the salon. It is not uncommon to hear French, Spanish and English spoken simultaneously during your visit. Using their Parisian flair to coordinate with your personal vision, stylists create an effortlessly elegant hairstyle upon every visit. Whether you simply want a trim or entire style makeover, you can’t go wrong with Nikita Paris.

Best tanning salon: Au naturale By Danielle Kaslow
What’s the point of visiting a tanning salon when you live in Miami? Students can be found laying out daily on the IM fields, soaking up the sun at the UC pool and tanning between classes. Despite having to study for finals and write term papers, students pressed for time at “Sunshine U” still know how to achieve the perfect bronze… the all-natural way.

Best Takeout: Gables Pizza and Salad By Nancy Oben
Bursting on the scene last year, Gables Pizza and Salad has gained a reputation for a take-out place where you can stuff yourself silly. The salads, which come in mixing bowls, their New York-style slices and those oh-so-heavenly garlic knots make it hard for any student to resist walking across U.S. 1 for satisfying takeout. Open until 1 a.m. on weekends and with free delivery, “GPS” is perfect for late night cravings.

Best Place to Shop: Victoria’s Secret By Nancy Oben
Victoria’s Secret is perfect for women at the U. Pink’s Miami line is great for class or studying at “Club Richter.” The swim line can be seen everywhere at the pool and their lingerie is bound to award you best dressed at your next mixer. Stop in to any of the multiple locations that surround campus and shop your homework blues away.

Best Asian: Stir Moon/Moon By Claudia Aguirre
If you’ve never tried Thai or Japanese food, Moon is the perfect place to begin your love affair with Asian cuisine. Moon and Stir Moon are both walking distance from the UM campus on U.S. 1, and conveniently stay open until 11 p.m. on most days. The restaurants offer a wide variety of food from their two separate menus of Thai and Japanese, sure to please everyone at your dinner party.

Best Place to find a hot date: Otto G. Richter Library By Jeremy Rosenthal
Next time you consider going out to find a date, don’t forget about “Club Richter.” The Otto G. Richter Library is filled with students at all hours of the day who could use a study break and, with so many dark corners, who wouldn’t want to cuddle up to someone in the stacks? Next time you see someone go from writing their essay to writing on someone’s Facebook wall, invite them for a coffee at the conveniently located Starbucks next door and see if sparks fly.

Best After-Hours Spot: Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill By Jeremy Rosenthal
Twenty-one Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill locations dot the South Florida coast. Among these, the Flanigan’s in Coconut Grove is elite: it’s open until 5 a.m., making it a popular destination for University of Miami insomniacs. Students love its rustic, seafaring charm (and by rustic, it looks to be made of wood salvaged from Noah’s Ark) and its high-quality food. The ribs here are standouts from a menu filled with delicious sandwiches, pastas and seafood dishes. When you go, in the wee hours of the night or otherwise, be sure to keep your cup- next visit refills are $1.39 and unlimited.

Best Burgers: Five Guys Burgers and Fries By Nicole Adlman
Maybe it’s the enthusiasm of the staff, packed behind the counter and shouting out order numbers to the eager customers standing by. Or maybe it’s the sheer joy you get from biting into a juicy bacon cheeseburger. Whatever it is, Five Guys has got it right. Tangy Cajun fries, burgers done to perfection and sizzling foot-long hot dogs make this joint a surefire favorite among University of Miami students.

Best Late Night Munchies: Taco Bell By Nicole Adlman
There’s no late night craving more synonymous with college kids than the fast food titan that dared you to think outside the bun. While you may regret your Taco Bell excursion the next morning, the minute you sink your teeth into the chewy and cheesy Crunchwrap Supreme is worth the subsequent stomach pain.

Best Place for a First Date: Villagio Ristorante By Nicole Adlman
Villagio consistently serves great tasting food, intimate service and a beautiful setting, whether seated inside or outdoors. You should definitely try the lasagna once (creamy, well-portioned and delicious), any cut of veal and either the quattro formaggi (four cheese) or margherita pizza. For dessert, the apple pie will leave your taste buds rejoicing: its thinly-sliced apples, ample cinnamon and an airy puff-pastry crust will end any night on a high note.