By: Sara Liss
Steps away from the ocean, Surfside’s Downtown area is located on Harding Avenue between 94th Street and 96th Street.
Downtown will satisfy your retail cravings with its variety of unique stores and stylish boutiques. In two blocks, you will encounter a collection of fine jewelers, salons, clothing boutiques and much more.
Downtown is also where you will find many of Surfside’s acclaimed restaurants, many reflecting the eclectic international visitor mix of Europeans, French, Canadians and South Americans. Where else can you taste cuisines from around the world in two blocks?
The main business district, Harding Ave, hosts a monthly arts and entertainment night on the third Thursday of every month where live music, food trucks and entertainment draw crowds to the sidewalk restaurants. Those restaurants, like most of the businesses on Harding, vary from the quirky-yet-excellent self-described “fake deli” Josh’s Deli. Helmed by young hip chef Josh Marcus, the restaurant features dishes like lobster knishes and duck fat matzo ball soup.
Classic Italian stalwart Café Ragazzi features crowd-pleasing generous portions of red sauce favorites. There are also a smattering of kosher establishments, like the newly-opened and very popular Backyard BBQ serving house-smoked brisket and wings. Sushi Republic still pleases with its authentic and reasonably-priced lunchtime bento boxes and maki rolls.
Another neighborhood favorite is The Greek Place, serving Aegean classics like babaganoush and hummus with fluffy pita bread. Enjoy high-end dining at Tiberio restaurant, where owner Giulio Santillo greets each diner at the door and proffers exceptional hospitality.
For breakfast, head to Cafe Vert or the local Starbucks, while old-school bakery, The Rolling Pin, has a loyal following who pack the small shop for their fresh-baked challah bread and rugelah cookies.
Harding Ave is where most of Surfside's boutiques are located, including the stylish Le Beau Maroc, featuring colorful kaftans, jewelry and home furnishings sourced from Morocco. Other upscale retailers include Oberle Opticians with the latest designer shades from Thom Browne, Oliver Peoples, Bentley, Fred, and Maybach.
Depending on the individual's personal taste, there’s a look for everyone from simple chic to over-the-top luxury. Salons are also abundant on this strip including quick manicure spots like Tucci Nails and Elle Blow-Dry Bar which offers professional blow-outs and make-up applications. For a simple and quick haircut, head to the Surfside Barber Shop.
Just off Harding Ave and on A1A are several hotels that offer dining and nightlife options. The splashy new Grand Beach Hotel Surfside features two towers across the street from each other with rooftop pools and cocktail bars perfect for catching a nightcap.
This strip is also the beating heart of the town with retail shops and services like the local Publix supermarket, post office, six banks, dry cleaners, doctor's offices, dentists and even a veterinary office lining the street. Click here for a map of Downtown Surfside businesses.
At night when the palm trees that line the thoroughfare are lit up and the sidewalk cafes are buzzing, downtown can have a magical feel. And, the fact that the beach is only two blocks away makes this spot a fantastic destination in South Florida.
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