First Bites

First Look: Bernie's L.A. Café on South Beach

Bernie's L.A. Café opened to a packed house on Alton Road last week, and it continues to pack 'em in this week. Part of the built-in appeal is the familiarity with chef/owner Bernie Matz, who has a following from his Café at Books & Books. There is no literary backdrop to L.A. (Latin American) Café, just about 30 seats and a counter -- it's located where The Spot sandwich shop used to be. The menu is extensive and inexpensive. There are tacos, burgers, seafood cocktails, ceviches, tapas, salads, sandwiches, sandwiches a la plancha, quesadillas, fajita wraps, sweet potato fries, main plates, sides, fresh-squeezed lemonade, and cafecitos. Each day brings a different soup du jour ($4) and trio of daily specials that come with white rice, black beans, and maduros (solid deal at $9). I sampled Tuesday's lechón asado special (in photo above) and a grilled flank steak fajita that comes in a whole-wheat tortilla with grilled onions, roasted red peppers, and avocado salsa. The beef used has no antibiotics or hormones.

Bernie's offers simple, fresh, and tasty home-cooked Latin fare without

a fuss. It serves lunch daily and stays open for dinner until 10 p.m. weeknights, an hour later Friday and Saturday. Plus they deliver.

We like it.

Bernie's L.A. Café

1570 Alton Rd., Miami Beach


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Miami New Times' restaurant reviewer for the past decade, and the world's indisputable master of disguise.
Contact: Lee Klein