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Ten Best South Beach Restaurants

Would you like some fried clams with your pork belly sushi?
Would you like some fried clams with your pork belly sushi?

South Beach is a mecca for sky-high parking fees, haughty service, and the braggadocio of New York restaurants transported to the tropics. There are exorbitant cocktails, ceviches, and even quinoa salads as well as automatic 18 percent gratuities.

We have smartphones. We can use our calculadoras, carajo.

But amid these many annoyances, there is amazing food and incredible service. There are meatballs as big as (doll)houses and amazing deals on gourmet fare. So if you are a disgruntled victim of one too many $25 vodka-sodas, read on. You might end up falling in love with Miami Beach despite yourself.

Get saucy all over your shirt -- and enjoy.
Get saucy all over your shirt -- and enjoy.
Jacquelynn D. Powers

10. Macaluso's Italian Cuisine

Ah, Macaluso's. You are the king of the red sauce. You are also the supremo source for some real take-it-or-leave-it, no-substitutions, no-reservations South Beach 'tude. But that's alright. Because you not only give us fantastic orbs of succulent meat, you also endow us with cannolis. And meatballs and cannolis make everything okay.

Lovely and pricey pies at Lucali.
Lovely and pricey pies at Lucali.

9. Lucali

Have you had the calzone at Lucali yet? It's $10. It has a ricotta filling and a puffed crust speckled with blackened bubbles of charred dough. But the red sauce -- yes, more red sauce -- is really where it's at. The tomato purée is smooth, a righteous balance between acid and sugar. With each calzone, you get a plateful of Lucali's secret gravy. It's crowned with basil sprigs and Parmesan cheese. New rule: Red sauce elevates all foods from good to great.

Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Go ahead. Dunk it in more Dijon vinaigrette.
Go ahead. Dunk it in more Dijon vinaigrette.
Leah Gabriel

8. La Sandwicherie

This alley-cat sub shop bottles its own Dijon vinaigrette ($5). But this dressing is only part of the reason why La Sandwicherie is the best sandwich shop in town. There's also the ambiance (a dingy backstreet), the toppings (extra cornichons, please) and a sandwich so big you'll probs pretend like you can't even finish it. Know this: You can always finish it. You should always finish it.

Empanadas with alligator. Empanadas with oxtail. Empanadas with oysters.
Empanadas with alligator. Empanadas with oxtail. Empanadas with oysters.
billwisserphoto.com

7. Florida Cookery

Okay, okay. Florida Cookery has some service problems. Sometimes, dinner will take a long while. Other times, you'll be only one out of four tables dining at this posh hotel. But that doesn't mean Kris Wessel's Sunshine State-inspired cooking isn't fantastic. There's alligator empanadas ($14), grilled squab, Florida quail, and wild boar chops ($36). There's also Dominican Republic chocolate cake with ganache, raspberry, and espresso ice cream. And you know who has the best freakin' cake (and hair blow-outs) in the whole world? Dominicans.

Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

See this whole fish? This is why My Ceviche rocks.
See this whole fish? This is why My Ceviche rocks.
billwisserphoto.com

6. My Ceviche

(Sing to the tune of Little Mermaid's Part of Your World.) Look at this fish. Isn't it grand? Don't you just think My Ceviche's so fab? Don't you think they're the place, the place that's got everything? Look at this shack. Seafood galore. How many wonders can one chef propose? Lookin' around here you'd think. (Yup.) They've got burritos ($7.45 to $11.95).

'Nuff said.

You know what always looks great between buns? Deep-fried shrimp.
You know what always looks great between buns? Deep-fried shrimp.
billwisserphoto.com

5. Pubbelly Sushi

Clams are a big thing. Which is why the chefs at Pubbelly Sushi fry them. But that's not the end of it. They take things even further. They barbecue pork belly, plop it atop some rice, and crown the whole thing with those fried clams ($12). At this sushi spot in Sunset Harbour, there's also buffalo-style rock shrimp tempura, Southern-fried soft shell crab, and bistec encebollado cooked over a robata grill. Excessive? What you call overindulgent, I call genius.

Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

If this looks spicy, it's because it probably is.
If this looks spicy, it's because it probably is.
David Cabrera

4. Khong River House

According to punctilious scientific research, spicy foods can make you feel loads cooler. (So go ahead. Add more picantico to your ajiaco al medio día.) At Khong River House, red chilies are used as frequently as plátano at your favorite cafetería. Since it's plenty caliente in Miami, nosh on that fried tofu salad with red chili vinegar dressing ($13). Feel the chill overcome your body.

Oh Bazaar. You so good looking.
Oh Bazaar. You so good looking.
billwisserphoto.com

3. The Bazaar

Go wild at the Bazaar, the restaurant by powerhouse chef Jose Andrés. Try the the caprese with liquid mozzarella ($12), yuca churros with peanut butter and honey ($12), and the dragon fruit ceviche. Go traditional. Order the acorn-fed jamón, patatas bravas, and croquetas de pollo. Whatever you do, sample the rossejat -- an inky paella-style pasta with shrimp and aioli. Oh, and finish with the liquid nitrogen caipirinha. So what if the Bazaar is in a fancy hotel? They have caipirinhas that can fill your table with fog.

Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

While you wait, watch the palm trees sway.
While you wait, watch the palm trees sway.

2. Joe's Stone Crab

Yes, it's expensive. Sure, it's frequented mostly by tourists and snow birds with big pockets. But Joe's Stone Crab is an institution. So next time an out-of-towner begs you to take 'em there for some Key lime pie, don't fight it. Wait the few hours until you score a table. Liberate yourself from all the hype hate. Embrace the claws. Let them melt your loathing into full-blown Joe's Stone love.

Say yes to goat.
Say yes to goat.

1. Tap Tap

If there are three things that can propel any restaurant to the number one spot, it'd be Haitian mojitos, stewed goat, and malanga fritters. Which is exactly why Tap Tap is the best restaurant in South Beach. (It has all three!) Like Joe's, this is more than just a dining spot. It represents a part of Miami -- a component that isn't about Casadei wedges, skinny jeans, and bacon-wrapped dates. This is about okra and mixed rice and beans. And, in my book, rice wins every time.

Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Miami® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyCodik.

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Use Current Location

Related Locations

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Tap Tap

819 Fifth St.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-672-2898

www.taptaprestaurant.com

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The Bazaar by Jose Andres
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Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant

11 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-673-0365

www.joesstonecrab.com

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Pubbelly Sushi

1424 20th St.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-531-9282

www.pubbellysushi.com

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My Ceviche

235 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-397-8710

www.myceviche.com

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Khong River House

1661 Meridian Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-763-8147

www.khongriver.com

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La Sandwicherie

229 14th St.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-532-8934

www.lasandwicherie.com

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Florida Cookery

1545 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

786-276-0333

www.florida-cookery.com

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Macaluso's Italian Cuisine

1747 Alton Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-604-1811

www.macalusosmiami.com

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Lucali

1930 Bay Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-695-4441


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