Cheap Eats

Ten Reasons South Miami Is the Best Dining Neighborhood

Fine and fashionable restaurants have been opening in South Beach, downtown, midtown, and the Design District for years. These areas seem to attract all the major chefs. So why venture to South Miami and nearby Pinecrest? Well, down here, you won't find many major openings, but you will find reasonably priced local favorites, including a wide selection of Asian and Cuban joints. Read on to find out why you should make the trip.

See also: Ten Reasons North Beach Is Miami's Best Dining Neighborhood

10. No waits

There aren't many trendy restaurants in the area. Everything caters to the local crowd. So unless there is some wild deal going on (two-for-one lobster night at Captain's Tavern), you can arrive at your destination and sit right down.

9. Radical lunch deals

Delicious $8 bento boxes at Matsuri? Don't bet on it. Down south, there are so many small places in strip malls and so many businesses close to one another that they have to be competitive. With so many lunch options, there are also a lot of great deals. Be sure to get the monstrous rice noodle bowl for $12.95 at Miss Saigon Bistro. Yes, rice noodles -- with about eight spring rolls.

8. Over-the-counter options

Counter-top restaurants uptown are mainly thinly veiled sit-downs. Down south, however, when you go to a counter-top spot, you can expect to get your food within five minutes. From chains such as the classic Chicken Kitchen and Mojito Grill, to newer ones like Shake Shack, Evos, and Jimmy'z Kitchen, you can be sure to find those quick, on-the-go options you need. Make sure to try Jimmy'z Kitchen's mofongo.

7. Asian eateries

You'll find more family-owned, authentic Asian restaurants in the South Dixie Highway strip malls here than anywhere else. Phô Thang serves some of the best pho in town and gives you generous portions. The aforementioned Miss Saigon has been a South Dixie favorite for years because of its delicious, spicy food and it spring rolls that you can't beat. In another strip mall a few blocks south, you will find Imlee, which serves excellent Indian cuisine. Another great Indian place is Ayesha's Fine Dining. Be sure to try the saffron lettuce wraps.

6. Brews at Titanic

For years, University of Miami students have been going to Titanic to cap off a busy day of studying and sunbathing. This restaurant and brewery serve a nice selection of house-brewed beers, ranging from lighter triple screws to the dark, chocolatey Shipbuilders Oatmeal Stout. Another option if you want to relax with some coeds is to go to the on-campus Rathskellar.

5. Easy parking

Most places in Pinecrest do not even have valet options because there is almost always somewhere to park, even on a Friday night. Better yet, it's free!

4. 24-hour Cuban options

Pinecrest Bakery is open 24 hours for whenever you need your café con leche or medianoche fix. If you go there late, around 3 or 4 a.m., you might even catch local police officers enjoying a cafe cubano.

3. A bevy of baked goods

From the macarons of Atelier Monnier to the dulce de leche of the Pinecrest Bakery, and the pita of Daily Bread to Zak the Baker's fresh loaves at the Pinecrest farmers' market, you're hardly wanting for fresh baked goods. You also can't go wrong with the key lime pie at Captain's Tavern or the pecan pie at Shorty's if you're looking for sweets.

2. Whisk

This delightful South Miami spot has only been getting bigger over the years. Make sure to tried the fried local snapper, fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, and just anything this place fries up. Some people schedule their week around going on Fridays for one of Whisk's awesome burger concoctions.

1. Wayside Market milkshakes

Children have been raised on Wayside's legendary milkshakes. You'll often find neighborhood kids and families biking to this small marketplace to chill out with some of the best smoothies and shakes you will find in the county. Wayside's fresh fruits, muffins, and pies are also a must. Though the strawberry shakes are touted, be sure to try to the mamey version.

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Jonathan Peltz
Contact: Jonathan Peltz