With glittering hotel dining rooms, $5-and-under roadside taquerias, swank chophouses and superlative beach snacks, Miami’s South Beach provides both sizzle and (expertly grilled) steak. Here, the 8 best restaurants in South Beach.
A glittering rebuke to anyone who argues that hotel dining is for the (snow)birds, Byblos serves elegant Levantine fare in a soaring space in the Royal Palms Hotel. Silver tea service arrives by cart and includes a spiked cocktail version, pairing lemon verbena-scented Moroccan mint tea with mate and Beefeater gin, or chili-spiced strawberry tea with Avion tequila. Sustain yourself with duck kibbeh, black truffle pide, and shareable plates of Persian kale or hand-rolled couscous with saffron and brown butter.
Since 1988, this understated institution has served superlative sandwiches on pillowy baguettes from an unassuming walk-up counter on a SoBe side street. Stylishly underdressed locals queue for beach- and wallet-friendly items like cornichon-studded salads dressed in signature vinaigrette, pressed juices and acai smoothies, and French-accented sandwiches such as tuna, jambon and chicken salad.
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Red, The Steakhouse
Posh steakhouses are nearly as ubiquitous as barre classes and blowout bars among Washington Avenue’s Art Deco jungle, but Red surpasses the competition. Ranked the country’s sexiest steakhouse by Playboy, the chic space serves prime cuts (including aged Angus filet, a late-night favorite of one Justin Bieber) as well as raw bar selections like Florida King crab legs and poke bowls with sushi-grade tuna.
Toni's Sushi Bar
Bypass the tourist throngs at Nobu and Katsuya for this welcoming neighborhood stalwart serving an encyclopedic array of rolls, pristine sashimi and sakes since 1987. Local and imported fish shine in specialties like toro tartare with wasabi-spiked caviar and a quail egg, and mirin- and miso-marinated grilled Chilean sea bass, while traditional artwork and billowing textiles provide a serene, transportive atmosphere.
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Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
Southern comfort food and some 75 bourbons headline this buzzy, 170-seat spot in a former grocery store. Florida panhandle native and Top Chef finalist Jeff McInnis celebrates local and regional ingredients, butchers whole hogs and cures bacon in-house, but it’s the impossibly crisp fowl (the result of a reported 27-hour brine, and adapted from one of the restaurateurs’ grandmother’s recipe) that keeps crowds crowing.
Bazaar by Jose Andres
A Beverly Hills export, The Bazaar by Jose Andres is the rare celebrity chef chain that exceeds expectations. Popular with a bronzed, deep-pocketed crowd, the glittering space within the SLS Hotel offers an array of indulgent and inventive tapas such as foie gras PB&J, yuca churros, a Caprese riff involving liquid mozzarella, and the “Jose taco,” featuring Iberico ham and Ossetra caviar.
Opened by a Broken Shaker alum in 2014, this killer Collins Ave. taqueria sources organic, non-GMO Mexican blue corn for its house-nixtamalized tortillas and addictive chips. All tacos are $5 or less, and include cumin-rubbed barbacoa, citrusy carnitas, and diced avocado with chapulines, or crispy grasshoppers, a remarkably delicious Oaxacan specialty. Taquiza also offers a rotating selection of craft beers, Mexican breakfasts, and Parlor coffee and JoJo tea.
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A Scarpetta alum helms this tiny, brick-walled taverna, serving handmade corzetti with garlic scapes and asparagus, and spaghetti con gamberi with Key West shrimp and Calabrese chiles, as well as roasted branzino and cabbage cacio e pepe. Unlike your average red sauce joint, the bar pours excellent craft cocktails (including The Speck-tacular Now, featuring honey clove syrup, Jamaican bitters and speck-infused Tin Cup whiskey) as well as an extensive list of Italian and international wines.