The Best of South Beach Brunches

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By: A.M. De la Torre

For being just less than seven square miles in size, South Beach holds an outsized variety of people, cultures, entertainment, activities and architecture— so why should brunch be any different? Whatever your mood, style, taste or curiosity level, here’s a smattering of the best vegan, campy, classic, comforting and chic brunching this world-renowned city has to offer.

Gourmet, au naturel: Soul Tavern

Nestled in SoBe’s Sunset Harbour neighborhood, within a secluded courtyard with meditative landscaping and modern, slatted-wood gate, Soul Tavern offers wow-factor cuisine that gives vegetables new cachet. Billed as a gastropub and elixir bar, the diverse menu— entirely plant-based, vegan and vegetarian— features such delectable items as Banh Mi BBQ Sliders (made with Tempeh,) Fried Green Tomato Benedict (with tomato jam, scrambled eggs and a vegan saffron hollandaise), as well as gluten-free pancakes and coconut yogurt parfait. It’s a selection fit for foodies that leaves you wanting for nothing— not even meat! The tavern element of the restaurant’s name is well-earned too. Brunch-goers can enjoy bottomless mimosas, in addition to a full bar that offers craft cocktails, draft beer and a large selection of sustainable wines. Brunch Hours: Weekends, 11:00am – 3:00pm.

Campy: Palace

This isn’t your Auntie’s brunch— unless your Auntie’s a talented, 6.5-ft.-tall drag queen! The Palace brunch comes with a big side-dish of camp— and lots of laughs. Offered Saturday and Sunday, the fixed-priced brunch draws a diverse crowd to feast on food and fun, with unlimited mimosas and a chef’s selection from their regular menu of Latin, Caribbean and European-influenced items, including egg dishes, salads, wraps, grilled meats and seafood, and burgers. Not a mimosa fan? There’s an extensive specialty cocktail menu and a full bar to imbibe from, 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 at 12:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm.

Classy & classic: Balans

The Miami Beach outpost of the popular Soho/London restaurant group, 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, whether that’s “clean and green,” or rich and robust. You’d think it would be difficult to do it all well, but Balans has perfected the formula for versatility, and their following of fans attests to it. 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 liquor bar and pitchers of favorite brunch beverages (bloody marys, Bellinis, Pimms’ Cup or mimosas,) round out their 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, 8:00am – 4:00pm.

Just like home: Front Porch Cafe

There’s something relaxing about sitting on a front porch— especially when yours is across from the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean, with the smell of the sea air. Serving breakfast all day, Front Porch Cafe is a well-established 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 a clear viewing glass into its upstairs pool!), Front Porch offers an encyclopedic and inventive selection of omelets (made 13 ways), egg scrambles (12 versions), sandwiches (12), burgers (7, including veggie), salads, crafted 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, seven days a week, all day.

Chic: Juvia

The award-winning Juvia is an architectural matryoshka (Russian nesting doll)— a jewel sitting within the larger jewel that is the ultra-modern, Herzog and de Meuron-designed 1111 Lincoln Parking garage. Visually stunning, the Peruvian/Asian-influenced Juvia restaurant seduces your 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 and Bellinis. Enjoy selections from land and sea, such as pink shrimp acevichado (a ceviche-style dish,) beef carpaccio, and heart of palm salad as starters, and grilled swordfish, smoked salmon egg benedict, and shrimp and wild mushroom risotto as main courses. Truly as much a pleasure for the eyes as it is for the palate, Juvia’s brunch is an experience that’s sure to leave a lasting impression. Brunch Hours: Weekends, 11:30 am – 3:00pm.

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