Yes, South Beach is filled with tourists wearing "I'm in Miami, Bitch" T-shirts. But that's only one side of the Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue fence.
The area boasts eateries that source fresh local seafood, offer the finest cuts of beef, and are staffed by chefs who have won international accolades
Joe's Stone Crab
11 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
For more than a century, people have been flocking to Joe's Stone Crab for fresh seafood. Founded in 1913, the restaurant is actually older than the City of Miami Beach itself, which was incorporated two years later. Since then, Joe's has become a multimillion-dollar business; it was named the second-highest-grossing independently owned restaurant in the United States by Restaurant Business. Though Joe's boasts a full selection of fresh seafood and steaks with full-time fish and meat butchers tasked with cutting the perfect piece of flesh, it's the stone crabs that people fly across the globe for. The claws, served with the restaurant's signature mustard sauce, are the reason why multiple generations of people have celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, and just a Thursday evening at Joe's.
101 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford has worked with such venerable chefs as Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Los Angeles' Ludo Lefebvre. Now comes his time to shine on his own at his new restaurant in Miami Beach's tony South of Fifth neighborhood. The 70-seat restaurant features industrial lines interspersed with graffiti, allowing focus to be drawn to the food. A menu features items under the categories of "Raw/Snacks" and entrées of "Meats/Fish." If you have time, opt for a $95 tasting menu that provides nine courses with luxury embellishments that are rotated based on seasonality.
820 Alton Rd., Miami Beach
They say the way to the heart is through the stomach, and in the case of Macchialina, that maxim couldn't be truer. Not only can you feel the love that business and life partners Jen Chaefsky and former Scarpetta chef de cuisine Michael Pirolo have put into the cozy and quaint space, but you can also taste it in every bite of Pirolo's house-made
Planta South Beach
850 Commerce St., Miami Beach
David Grutman of LIV fame is the man behind this plant-based paradise for celebrities, influencers, and Miami's sexiest so-and-so's. Cousin to Planta Toronto, the alluring, tropical-inspired restaurant serves vegan food that even carnivores will scarf down with glee. The menu is extensive and on the culinary cutting edge, offering impressively creative dishes such as ahi watermelon nigiri ($5.75), melt-in-your-mouth cauliflower tots ($11.25), an omnivore-inspired meat lover's pizza, and a Planta burger.
The Bazaar by José Andrés
1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
What's not to love about
49 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Upland, the collaborative café from restaurateur Stephen Starr and chef Justin Smillie, basks in its own warm glow, reminiscent of a café in Paris. The interior by Roman & Williams is filled with copper accents. A small but inviting bar gives way to a dining room that's large yet intimate with warm earth tones. The focal point of the scene is the open kitchen, which turns out fare like coal-roasted short rib for two ($78), topped with celery and a sinus-clearing hit of shaved horseradish. Upland also offers crisp salads and four pizzas, including a classic
Stiltsville Fish Bar
1787 Purdy Ave., Miami Beach
James Beard nominee Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth, both Top Chef alumni, serve fresh, local seafood at this Sunset Harbour eatery. About 115 pounds of seafood is delivered daily by fishermen from Key West, Key Largo, and Miami. Before opening for dinner at 5 p.m., the restaurant prints "Daily Catch" cards, which list each fish, the type of preparation (baked, grilled, seared), and a few descriptors, such as "flaky," "sweet," "subtle," or "medium firm." McInnis' famed fried chicken ($22 to $39) also makes an appearance as a Stiltsville entrée. Brined for 24 hours with bay leaves, citrus, and a pinch of fennel, the bird is crunchy on the outside, moist in the center, and faintly tangy. It's well worth a try despite the restaurant's seafood focus.
1501 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
New York transplant Quality Meats has beefed up the offerings on Collins Avenue with a modern interpretation of a steakhouse. What, exactly, does that entail? House-cured slabs of bacon get
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30 First St., Miami Beach
As former New Times food critic Lee Klein best put it, Estiatorio Milos has exquisite Mediterranean food — if you can afford it. Not for the common folk, Milos fits right in its SoFi digs and easily serves the freshest and most pristinely cooked seafood in town. Your experience here includes a walk to the icy-cool display in the back of the restaurant, where the morning's or midday's catch (fish is flown in multiple times a day and transported in a Mercedes-Benz refrigerated van because, well, it's Miami) is beautifully and vibrantly on view. But you never know what you're gonna get — other than glistening fish eyes (a sign the sea creature hasn't been dead long) and a high bill dropped at the end of the meal — because not even the kitchen staff knows what seafood is coming in till it arrives at the airport.
Pubbelly Noodle Bar
1418 20th St., Miami Beach
When chef Jose Mendin and partners Sergio Navarro and Andreas Schreiner opened Pubbelly in 2010, Sunset Harbour was a sleepy enclave. Fast-forward five years, and not only have the kings of swine taken over the neighborhood with Barceloneta and PB