The Best of South Beach Brunches

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By: A.M. De la Torre

Despite its small size, South Beach is home to an outsized variety of people, cultures, entertainment, activities and architecture — so why should brunch be any different? Whatever your mood, style or tastes, here’s a smattering of the best brunching this world-renowned destination has to offer.

Gourmet, au naturel: Planta

Planta offers a rooftop garden-to-table dining experience in an elegant environment, serving an array of vegetarian and vegan dishes. This socially conscious eatery and vegan hotspot attracts herbivores and carnivores alike with its vibrant music, mixology and flavorful plant-based twists on brunch classics such as the “lox” platter, banana pancakes and avocado toast. Entrees are substantial, especially the heart of palm “crab cakes” Benedict served with or without a delicious sweet corn hollandaise. The “chicken” fried mushrooms will surely have you second-guessing whether you’re actually tasting real fried chicken. Still hungry? Don’t leave without ordering a side of cauliflower tots – the dish’s truffled almond Parmesan is to die for! If you want something on the lighter side, consider the mango grove — a colorful mix of the namesake fruit, green papaya and more. Brunch Hours: Weekends, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Brunch at The Palace
Brunch at The Palace includes mimosas and laughs!

Campy: Palace

This isn’t your auntie’s brunch — unless your auntie’s a talented, 6.5-foot-tall drag queen! The Palace brunch comes with a big side dish of camp — and lots of laughs. Offered Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the fixed-priced brunch draws a diverse crowd to feast on food and fun, with unlimited mimosas and a selection from the regular menu of Latin, Caribbean and European-influenced items, including egg dishes, salads, wraps, grilled meats, seafood and burgers. Not a mimosa fan? There’s an extensive specialty cocktail menu and a full bar, as well as non-alcoholic options. This high-energy brunch is not for the timid — the show is over the top and has so much personality that it spills out onto the street, literally. Directly across from the beach, with open-air seating, it’s food and a floor show, every weekend, rain or shine. Brunch Seating Times: Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Balans Brunch on Lincoln
Enjoy brunch on pedestrian only Lincoln Road at Balans

Classy & classic: Balans

Balans has epitomized relaxed, sociable brunch dining since 1987. Located on the pedestrian-only Lincoln Road Mall, it offers a global, eclectic menu catering to every appetite, from “clean and green” to rich and robust. You’d think it would be difficult to do it all well, but Balans has perfected the formula for versatility, as its loyal following attests. Choose from classic breakfast items such as eggs, toasts (French or otherwise), premium custom burgers, creative vegetarian salads and fresh-pressed juices, curry chicken or shrimp, and Argentine-style churrasco, just to name a few items. A full bar and pitchers of favorite brunch beverages (Bloody Marys, bellinis, Pimms cups and mimosas) round out the offerings. Sit outside for the fabulous people-watching, or take a table indoors and enjoy a Soho London vibe, magnificent vintage bar and chilled-out sounds. Brunch Hours: Weekends, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Front Porch Cafe at Z Ocean Hotel
Enjoy views of Ocean Drive at the Front Porch Cafe

Just like home: Front Porch Cafe

There’s something relaxing about sitting on a front porch — especially when that porch is right across the street from the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Serving breakfast all day, Front Porch Cafe has been a go-to for locals and visitors alike since 1990, with its reasonable prices, generously portioned and deliciously prepared fare, and friendly staff. Situated literally ON the front porch of the Z Boutique Hotel (with a unique breezeway that features clear glass offering views into its upstairs pool!), Front Porch offers an encyclopedic and inventive selection of omelets (made 13 ways), egg scrambles (six versions), sandwiches (12), burgers (seven, including veggie), salads, craft cocktails and fresh-made smoothies and juices. Just like when you’re visiting family, more is more when it comes to food — and Front Porch Cafe hits home. It’s no wonder those who come once find themselves coming back often. Brunch Hours: Serving breakfast all day, seven days a week.

Juvia Rooftop DiningJuvia's brunch comes complete with views of the Miami Beach skyline

Chic: Juvia

Juvia is an architectural matryoshka (Russian nesting doll) — a jewel sitting within the larger jewel that is the ultra-modern, Herzog & de Meuron-designed 1111 Lincoln Road parking garage. Visually stunning, the French, Peruvian and Asian-influenced Juvia restaurant seduces the senses with indoor-outdoor dining graced by skyline views of Miami Beach, a serenity fountain and an Amazon Rainforest-inspired vertical garden designed by botanist Patrick Blanc. A multi-course, fixed-price brunch at this elegant restaurant offers highlights from the main menu and unlimited prosecco, mimosas, bellinis or Avión tequila margaritas. Enjoy selections from land and sea, such as pink shrimp acevichado (a ceviche-style dish), avocado toast and burrata caprese salad as starters, and branzino a la plancha, smoked salmon egg benedict and skirt steak & egg as main courses. Truly as much a pleasure for the eyes as for the palate, Juvia’s brunch is an experience that’s sure to leave a lasting impression. Brunch Hours: Weekends, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

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