The best coffee shops in Miami

Perk up with an eye-opening Cuban brew in Little Havana or an iced cappuccino on South Beach—we round up our favorite coffee shops and cafés in Miami

Photograph: Dale Stine
News and brews at the News Café on Ocean Drive

What’s the trick to surviving Miami, a city where the average nightclub closes at 5 am? In a word: coffee. Yes, the same beverage that helps get you through your workday is what fuels Miami. But how it’s prepared depends on different factors, including time of day, boost level needed and, perhaps most importantly, location. And that’s why choosing the best coffee shops in Miami is no easy task.

La Sandwicherie

Critics' pick

Second only to Pizza Rustica for late-night bingeing, South Beach’s original gourmet sandwich bar caters to a fabulous mix of clubbers, drinkers, limo drivers and tattoo artists, along with anyone else who appreciates a well-made prosciutto and mozzarella, ham and turkey, or veggie sandwich on a fresh baguette.

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South Beach

A La Folie

Quintessentially French, avec the attitude to prove it, this café is run by a Parisian who brought a piece of his precious city to Miami. A Euro crowd gathers to sip on endless cups of café au lait (ask for small, otherwise it arrives in something the size of a soup bowl). It also serves a mean croque-monsieur and crêpes.

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South Beach

Café Prima Pasta

A bright spot on a dingy street, Prima Pasta offers homemade pastas that pack ’em in, with crowds of eager carb-cravers queueing up on the sidewalk. Rich scents of garlic and oil waft outside, making the inevitable wait almost too much to bear. But it’s worth it.

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Surfside

Cafeina

Part restaurant, part lounge, part garden, part art gallery, Wynwood’s Cafeina is many things to many people—especially the steady stream of hipsters who count this comfortable, living room-like spot among their regular hangouts. The tapas dishes here are solid and wide-ranging. The cocktails are inventive too; it doesn’t take more than a single café con leche martini to keep you buzzing all night. The on-site gallery features a roster of artists, many of them local but plenty of international talent too.

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Design District

La Carreta

This Cuban chain offers large doses of the usual local nostalgia for Batista-era Cuba. You can’t miss the massive sugarcane plants growing on the front lawn. Expect large portions on the plates and a backroom café for strong Cuban coffee, sweet pastries and strange sugarcane juice.

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Little Havana

11th Street Diner

The best-looking high-carb, high-fat joint in town, this streamlined, stainless-steel 1946 diner was shipped in from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. It’s a popular all-night spot that attracts a regular crew of locals and club kids, plus curious tourists. The food is above average (in quality and price), and there’s an outdoor terrace and bar area (until 5am only).

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South Beach

Banana Café

This gorgeous little French-inspired place down at the southern end of Duval is a great spot for breakfast. Join the queue waiting for a table in the varnished hardwood interior or, better yet, out on the deck. The menu is brief and to the point—sweet and savory crêpes, omelettes, salads and sandwiches—but it’s all excellent stuff. Dinner is served as well and is equally good.

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Key West

Front Porch Café

One of the quainter and less posey spots on Ocean Drive, the Front Porch is the preferred breakfast and lunch venue of locals who seek good food with no attitude. Expect no-nonsense diner fare, including pancakes, plus fruit salads; the moreish french toast comes with bananas and walnuts.

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South Beach

Icebox Cafe

The Icebox is a curious mix of industrial space (exposed ducting, hard metallic surfaces), matronly tearoom (creamy chocolate cakes on frilly stands) and gay bar (beefcake waiters serve a campy crowd). But it’s quite pleasant, especially for a quick cuppa while shopping on nearby Lincoln Road. However, lingering over coffee and cake earns you scowls around lunchtime, when hungry shoppers queue for the Med-style cuisine from a surprisingly ambitious daily changing menu. Don’t forget to save room for dessert; the restaurant’s Chocolate Delight was named one of the "best cakes in America" by Oprah Winfrey.

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South Beach

News Café

This place practically invented the sport of South Beach people-watching, and it remains the café king of Ocean Drive. Wait for an outside table to fully appreciate the experience. Service is as slow as ever, but the menu has some good bites and the portions are huge. International newspapers and magazines from the in-house shop might fill the time until the food arrives. The café also has a separate bar, also open 24 hours daily.

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South Beach

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