“There’s nothing like some hot, sweaty, sexy Miami humidity,” says Armando Christian Perez, aka Pitbull, whose many tracks about his city earned him the moniker Mr. 305, which is also his label’s name. And though his upcoming “Global Warming: Meltdown” (Nov. 25), a deluxe version of the original album, hints at his worldwide appeal, Pitbull’s heart is firmly rooted in his hometown. Because no one knows the ins and outs of Magic City better than this native son, we asked him for his Miami “must” list, from where he orders croquetas to where he dances till dawn.
It’s not dinner without a stop at La Carreta (lacarreta.com): “You can’t be from Miami and not love La Carreta,” Pitbull says about the city’s original Cuban joint known for dishes like ropa vieja, vaca frita and, of course, croquetas. Though there are eight locations around town, the first La Carreta in Little Havana’s famous Calle Ocho district is still the prime spot.
Take out-of-town guests to Zielo (zielorestaurant.com): “It’s Miami’s best-kept secret,” he says of its eclectic French-Asian-Caribbean-Italian fusion menu. Located on Giralda Avenue-Coral Gables’ unofficial restaurant row-the year-old eatery, headed by chef Willy Hernandez, represents a multicultural mix as diverse as the city’s population.
For a pumping dancefloor head to Mango’s (mangostropicalcafe.com): “I love the drinks and the beautiful, exotic dancers,” he says of the club that features traditional Cuban and Caribbean music. The question not yet answered: Does Pitbull dance atop the tables, as is the custom at this South Beach landmark?
Forget the traditional mojito and try the Volito: “It’s made with Voli [the light vodka Pitbull has a stake in], water and three limes.” Que rico!