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The Bazaar by José Andrés
Photograph: Courtesy The Bazaar by José Andrés

The best restaurants in South Beach for an incredible meal

Tourists go where the locals go and these South Beach restaurants have a Miamians' stamp of approval

Written by
Liana Lozada
,
Ryan Pfeffer
&
Alyson Penn
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Not to pat ourselves on the back or anything, but it’s not easy to find reasonably-priced, genuinely delicious restaurants in tourist-ridden neighborhoods. This isn’t a dilemma exclusive to South Beach, but our favorite seaside neighborhood also doesn’t escape the inevitable. Lucky for us, the culinary scene in the well-trodden area is ever-expanding and offers diverse, dynamic options for visitors and locals alike. South of Dade Boulevard, you will find some of the best restaurants in Miami, including the best rooftop bars and restaurants and the best tacos in Miami. Let’s dig in.

Best of the city under one roof

  • Restaurants
  • South Beach
  • price 2 of 4

Our editorially curated market peppers in local greats, up-and-coming names you need to know and the restaurants and chefs we simply think you should know. The best part? You’ll find it all under one roof in the heart of South Beach. Drive and park once (a victory in South Beach, especially parking is validated upstairs!) to reach a variety of different eateries serving all kinds of cuisine—from Mexican and Vietnamese to Cuban. 

Best South Beach restaurants

  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • South of Fifth
  • price 4 of 4

This South of Fifth restaurant (run by Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford) executes an exquisite balance between relaxed comfort and culinary ambition. The menu changes with the seasons and ingredient availability, but expect regionally inspired dishes like local tomatoes and foie gras “snow” and the ginger and chili-steamed walu with white asparagus and kombu citrus broth. Can’t decide what to order? Opt for the tasting menu and let Ford lead the way. It’s, hands down, the best restaurant in South Beach.

  • Restaurants
  • South Beach
  • price 3 of 4

Loved by locals, visitors and industry vets alike, this rustic Italian restaurant sits in an unassuming location off Alton Road and offers a charming back patio. Mouthwatering pastas and creative salads—think broccolini caesar salad and escarole with pistachio—are carefully paired with beverage director Jacqueline Pirolo’s expert wine selections. It pays to be a repeat customer at Macchialina thanks to a menu that is constantly rotating with specialty apps and entrées like tagliolini peppered with uni, parsley and pepperoncini. You’ll want to try it all.

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  • Restaurants
  • South of Fifth
  • price 3 of 4

It’s been said a million times, and we’re going to say it again—Joe’s Stone Crab is the holy land for stone crabs. Dripping in old school charm (it’s been cracking claws since 1913), Joe’s notoriously long wait is actually worth it. In a rush? The adjacent Joe’s Takeaway is perfect for grabbing some claws or fried chicken to-go. Pro tip: take your loot across the street for a pretty picnic in South Pointe Park.

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • South Beach
  • price 2 of 4

A name cherished by pizza nerds all over the country. Thankfully the Sunset Harbour location of this place isn’t nearly as tough to get into as the original Brooklyn outpost. But the pies are every bit as tasty. Lucali ain’t a casual by-the-slice joint (only one large size is available too). It’s more for those looking to sit and savor. There is a Nutella dessert pie—basically, our three favorite words strung together to describe a dish.

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Another New York City transplant that made it down the coast, this version, with its lush palm frond arrangements and white crystal chandeliers is decidedly more Miami, even if the menu is still remarkably similar to the original. You’ve heard it from your Yankee friends but order the spicy rigatoni. Admittedly, part of why you go to Carbone is to tell everyone you did—they’ll be asking you who you bribed to get a reservation. Save the visit for a special night, like an anniversary dinner or birthday celebration.

  • Restaurants
  • Steakhouse
  • South of Fifth
  • price 4 of 4

Ron Swanson sure would love Red, the Steakhouse, a no-nonsense meat mecca serving perfect and classic steaks. You can’t really go wrong with any cut of beef alongside addicting sides like mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. Red’s not easy on your wallet, but do remember that they offer one of the best—if not the best—rotating Miami Spice menus in town.

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A Tel Avivian restaurant in the heart of SoFi, this all-day spot from the same owners as Pura Vida dishes out some of the best Israeli nosh in the city under a wall of magenta bougainvilleas in the front patio. Try the avo egg feta open-faced toast on a massive Jerusalem bagel or the authentic shakshuka served in a warm tomato-onion-pepper braise and sprinkled in Moroccan spices. If you don’t have time to sit down for brunch, order the buttery and flakey egg and feta bureka from the pastry case and stroll down the street to South Pointe Park.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • South of Fifth

Prime Italian might not be the hippest option in the SoFi neighborhood, but the food that the Myles Restaurant Group (also of Prime 112 and Prime Seafood) churns out at this Italian offshoot is reliably, freakishly delicious every time. Not only do Italian specialties such as chicken parmesan and meatballs shine, but the lighter Chilean sea bass is one of the best we have ever tried. And share the namesake chopped salad for a table of four. Trust us, it’s plenty. It’s the place the go when you want heavy, guilty pleasure Italian food that never misses.

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  • Restaurants
  • South Beach
  • price 4 of 4

If, by now, you still don’t know about the culinary powerhouse that is José Andrés, Google him. And if you’ve never eaten at one of his many excellent restaurants, The Bazaar is a great choice. Just try not to smile when you slurp the foamy smoked oysters or take a bite out of the playfully delicious Japanese taco wrapped in a flayed cucumber “tortilla” and stuffed with chicharrones and grilled eel. It’s impossible. We’re a sucker for the tableside LN2 caipirinha, which looks more like a science experiment than a cocktail.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • South Beach
  • price 2 of 4

This taco joint is known for serving up tasty proteins wrapped in organic blue masa tortillas. The casual spot is perfect for a pre- or post-beach snack. Just walk up to the sidewalk window, order your tacos and take them back to your buddies on the beach. The snacks are great, too, like the soft, warm totopos with a side of guac. They put your average tortilla chip to shame.

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  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • South of Fifth
  • price 2 of 4

Behold vegan food that’s so good you won’t even care it’s vegan. Just in case the burger doesn’t knock your socks off, adding the queso dip will do the job. The pizzas, particularly the Frenchie topped with arugula and mushrooms, are at once doughy and crispy but won’t bloat you like regular pies. Don’t skip the fresh-pressed juice cocktails either or the sushi, where thinly sliced watermelon takes the place of salmon and—yes—it works. 

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • South Beach
  • price 3 of 4

It’s all about Floridian coastal cooking at the Sunset Harbour hotspot a la local blue crab cakes, buffalo fish wings and crispy whole fish you pick right out of their bathtub. The sweet corn spoon bread is a winning way to start an evening sit-down and it can be served with butter-poached lobster. Yum. It’s indoor/outdoor setup is primed for views. If you go during sunset hours and sit on the front patio, you will catch a glimpse of sunset over Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • South Beach
  • price 4 of 4

At this Mediterranean hot spot, the daily catch is always a good choice, the harissa salmon melts in the mouth and the Middle Eastern fried chicken really pops thanks to a side serving of tahini, za’atar and hot sauce. No room for dessert? Fine. But don’t leave without ordering the elegant tea service (they have tequila, vodka, gin and bourbon-spiked versions too). Byblos is pretty unassuming but it attracts a chic crowd. Drake has dined here before. Maybe you’ll sit in his seat!

  • Restaurants
  • South Beach
  • price 4 of 4

Overlooking Lincoln Road, Juvia is a rooftop spot with some dazzling views. Those views may be the main attraction here, but the food—heavy on seafood and full of indulgent (and pricy) meat options—ain’t too shabby. Brunch isn’t a bad deal here: $35 for two hours of bottomless mimosas, bellinis, margaritas or Aperol spritzes if you order mains like smoked salmon egg benedicts or charred roasted cauliflower.

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A chameleon of a restaurant right on Fifth Street, this scene-y dinner spot is technically Argentinian but could pass for really any cuisine with mains such as chicken milanese, wagyu cheeseburger and bucatini in red sauce. It’s right in the thick of all the South Beach bustle with its high-energy, high-style crowd, minus the hefty price tag.

Up for some dancing after dinner?

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