Miami Beach. Say the name of the city to someone who has never visited and you're bound to see a soft, faraway look in their eyes with an exclamation of wanting to see this paradise where the days are sunny and the nights are filled with endless parties.
But few people outside of South Florida are aware of Surfside, which lies between Miami Beach and Bal Harbour. The seaside town, which was once filled with surgical supply shops, wig stores, and kosher butchers, has upped its game in the past few years.
Now home to a Four Seasons Hotel and several chic boutiques, the city is campaigning to put itself on the map. Surfside recently held a dine-around to show off some of its eclectic food and drink options, which range from classic cocktails to ice cream. There's much to like about this little town. From easier parking to less crowded beaches to hand-thrown bellinis, Surfside can make a charming day retreat for locals. New Times was invited to sample some of the town's most interesting food and drinks. Here are some highlights to try.
1. Le Sirenuse. This 305 outpost of a famed restaurant in Positano might not have the sweeping hillside vistas of its Italian sister, but they both share water views and refined luxury. The bar has launched the Art of Aperitivo program, which pays tribute to low-alcohol Italian cocktails. Italians also have a wonderful custom of offering small bites during cocktail hour. In Italy, your cocktail might come with some cheese and prosciutto or a few finger sandwiches instead of a meager bowl of nuts. At Le Sirenuse, a bellini ($19), prepared tableside, is served with a special selection of canapes daily from 4 to 6 p.m. 9011 Collins Ave., Surfside; 786-482-2280; sirenusemiami.com.
2. 26 Sushi & Tapas. This kosher sushi restaurant serves sushi with Latin American accents such as the El Miamito, with tuna, salmon, mango, avocado, coconut flakes, and guava sauce ($18). The restaurant also offers sushi burritos and two-for-one mimosas all day Sunday. 9487 Harding Ave., Surfside; 305-570-2626; 26sushitapas.com.
3. Josh’s Deli. This Miami staple offers modernized slants on traditional Jewish deli items. Try a sandwich made with house-cured pastrami or corned beef ($16) or roast turkey, avocado, and bacon ($17). Bacon in a deli? That's why Josh's motto is "A Jewish deli done wrong." Never has being wrong felt so right. 9517 Harding Ave, Surfside; 305-397-8494; joshsdeli.com.
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4. Araxi Burger. Part diner and part pub, this cute storefront offers various burgers, such as a Greek lamb version ($17), a Norwegian salmon burger ($18), a veggie burger ($13), and a classic beef patty with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and red onion ($13). Wash your meal down with a selection of craft beers or wine. 9551 Harding Ave, Surfside; 305-861-1060.
5. Serendipity Creamery. Stop by this pink shop for ice cream in a range of flavors, including white chocolate cherry with mint, and banana cardamom with salted caramel pecans. Sorbets are made with exotics such as jackfruit and passionfruit ($5 to $7). Don't forget to drop some change into the coin-operated ride for a complete revisit to your childhood. 9457 Harding Ave., Surfside; 305-865-1506; serendipitycreamery.com.