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Photo courtesy of Elcielo

There’s definitely a time and a place for a homemade Colombian empanada with spicy ají. Then, experience the South American nation’s cuisine elevated to the max with an experiential menu that changes seasonally. Nobody elevates Colombian cuisine in Miami (or anywhere, for that matter) to greater heights than chef Juan Manuel Barrientos, aka Juanma, a true molecular gastronaut. After opening Elcielo hotspots in Medellín and Bogotá, Barrientos brought the restaurant to Brickell in 2015. An Elcielo has since opened in Washington, D.C., earning Juanma a Michelin star — the first-ever for a Colombian restaurant — in 2021. Step inside Elcielo’s space in Miami and you’ll begin to understand the accolades. To get the most out of an Elcielo experience, book “The Experience” and arrive hungry: it’s a 21-course affair, with sensory moments throughout. If you’re aiming for a bit more moderation, opt for “The Journey,” a more modest 13-course affair. In this context, of course, modest is a relative term; on any given night, you can wash your hands in chocolate or inhale an osmotized watermelon.

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