A handful of years ago, not many people would have thought of South Beach as a “food capital”. But now, people aren’t just enjoying some good restaurants they happen to find on their beach vacation. Rather, they’re visiting just for the food. The hotels in the area have hired world-class chefs, brought in New York transplants and reigned new talent to create the perfect culinary experiences for their guests. While there are many restaurants inside of hotels, South Beach is literally lined with places worth visiting. Every block has a local eatery, a swanky restaurant or a sidewalk café that will satiate whatever craving you may have.
Whether you’re here on a foodie vacation, a business trip or to have some fun in the sun, energetic South Beach will be your mealtime hub for outstanding food of any kind.
South Beach Wine and Food Festival
Miami has grown into its own and the culinary scene has developed along with it. One major player in its development is the annual Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival.
This festival, held every February, started in 1997 and has outgrown several names and concepts since then. Today, the Food Network is at the helm of this outrageous extravaganza, celebrating notable names, trends and talent in the food and wine worlds. The Food Network brings in TV personalities and chefs from Paula Deen to Alton Brown. Super-star chefs like Mario Batali and Aaron Sanchez face off in competitions, host VIP parties and perform live cooking demonstrations. With powerful culinary forces, and festival attendance of more than 60,000 per year, some of these chefs have fallen under the spell of this tropical paradise and opened their own outposts here.
South Beach may be full of party-goers, but everyone has to eat, right? South Beach has just as many hot spots for dining as it does for nightlife. Make time to experience some of these places, and be seen around town – and go with an appetite.
Asia de Cuba, located in the Mondrian in South Beach, is recognized for both the stunning panoramic view and the pricey fusion fare. The mighty Mr. Chow of New York, Beverly Hills and London has a Miami location at the W South Beach Hotel that’s just as fabulous as the other celeb-spotting locations.
Barton G. The Restaurant is a whimsical dining experience unlike any other. Try the Lobster Pop-Tarts, Crispy Voodoo Shrimp Rolls or have a theatrical dessert experience. We won’t give too much away, but don’t expect a boring old apple pie a la mode at this culinary destination and celebrity hot spot.
Joe’s Stone Crab is a legend among South Beach restaurants and is an internationally acclaimed spot for local South Florida Stone Crabs. Joe’s, established in 1913, is famous for its stone crabs, a seasonal delicacy served with a mustard sauce. If you aren’t visiting in season, from October 15 to May 15, come by for the fried chicken.
Enjoy the sleek and chic dining room at Bianca in the Delano Hotel. Sip on high-quality grapes and order up a fresh plate of carpaccio or pasta amidst a beautifully designed restaurant.
Craving a steak cooked just as you like it? Try Smith & Wollensky or STK Miami.
Authentic Cuban Food
Miami is known for its Cuban food, the best and most authentic of which you’ll find in Little Havana, but you don’t have to leave the beach for a taste of Cuba. Larios on The Beach is the South Beach iteration of a South Miami staple. Order any Cuban favorite from the classic Cuban sandwich to a pastry or pastelito. Another option is the 30-year-old David’s Café, a 24-hour, low-key restaurant where you can grab a quick Cuban coffee or sit down for a full meal at any hour of any day.
Budget Friendly Spots and Lincoln Road Restaurants
Stay within your budget by popping into a Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, a fast and informal spot that’s a favorite among locals, or Piola for a quick pizza or pasta.
If you’re walking down Lincoln Road you can’t miss the many sidewalk cafes that line the streets with their colorful umbrellas and chatty patrons. Sip on a beverage to cool you down in the shade as you shop, or stop in for a full meal and some people watching. You’ll find every kind of cuisine you can think of along this pedestrian-friendly street, like fresh made pasta and bread at Tiramesu Restaurant. Savor a blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Portuguese at the trendy SUSHISAMBA, tapas at Maya Tapas & Grill, a casual upscale experience at De Luca Food & Wine, or a fancy Mexican feast with a contemporary twist at Rosa Mexicano.
Looking for a place to eat outside? Lincoln Road isn’t your only option. There are al fresco sidewalk cafes scattered throughout the Beach. News Café on Ocean Drive is a 24-hour newsstand, bar, café and restaurant that’s perfect for some French Toast or Eggs Benedict after a long night out. Amami United Flavours of the World, uses sustainable Florida products for pastas, gourmet sandwiches, salads and vegetarian and vegan options.
In Miami, there’s always something new. The hottest new places on the foodie scene have earned their reputations. Pubbelly, Pubbelly Sushi, Barceloneta Bistro and Macchialina Taverna Rustica are all very buzzed about restaurants by the same restaurant empire. The inventive and flavorful fare are unlike anything you’ve ever eaten; combining your favorite foods with influences from Japanese, Spanish and Italian in new and thoughtful ways that are reliably delicious. The ambiance is young and hip, but comfortable and the service is great. These four restaurants, mostly within walking distance from each other, are certainly worth a visit.
Chef Andrew Carmellini brings his New York SoHo restaurant, The Dutch, to Miami’s W South Beach Hotel. The Dutch is an American restaurant, bar and oyster room with touches of local influence and fresh local ingredients. The oyster room includes platters like “The Collins” and “The Biscayne”, serving up oysters plus little necks, ceviche, lobster salad and more. This is a must stop for the trendy foodie looking to see what celebrity chefs, at their best, are up to in Miami.
For more information on Miami Beach, visit DiscoverMiamiBeach.com.
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