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Scarpetta’s signature pasta dish.
Photo Credit: Scarpetta

14 South Florida Tourist Traps That Are Actually Good

Worth the time for visitors and locals

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Scarpetta’s signature pasta dish.
| Photo Credit: Scarpetta

Miami has been drawing in the crowds ever since word got out that one could be frolicking in turquoise, warm waters instead of shoveling out of yet another bitter northeastern storm. As with any popular destination, there are plenty of dining options that are overpriced and underperforming, but tourists are willing to overlook that for a chance of some sun.

However there are some establishments set on catering to outsiders — because they offer a fabulous view, have a long-history with the Sunshine state, or simply are a very buzzy place — that actually come through with solid food options as well. Here now, a list of some of the biggest tourist destinations in South Florida that are worth a visit. Consider them the next time family or friends come to town.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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1. Scarpetta by Scott Conant

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4441 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33140
(305) 674-4660
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Since its opening in 1954 the Fontainebleau Hotel has been a go-to destination for celebrities, so it seems fitting that chef Scott Conant has run his successful Italian restaurant inside of it since 2008. Straightforward spaghetti with tomato and basil, short rib agnolotti, and duck and foie gras ravioli with marsala reduction will impress any out-of-town guest. Return visits can become habit-forming, not only for the food but that ocean view as well.

2. El Palacio de los Jugos (Multiple locations)

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2038 NW 27th Ave
Miami, FL 33142
(305) 636-0832
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Translated from Spanish El Palacio de los Jugos means “the palace of the juices.” It’s a nod to all the drinks made on-site from local tropical fruits like mamey, maracuya (passion fruit), and guayaba. But there’s plenty more here like large portions Cuban classics like chicharrones, sandwiches, rice dishes, and sweets. While it can be daunting to order, as there are multiple counters with different vendors, diners just simply need to travel from one spot to another picking and paying for what they’d like before enjoying their budget friendly meal.

3. Barton G. The Restaurant - Miami Beach

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1427 West Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 672-8881
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Over-the-top from start to finish this Miami Beach staple prides itself in “pushing the limits of dining,” an apt statement given its eccentric dishes like lobster pop tarts served in a toaster or the fried chicken served in a waffle cone with apple and cabbage slaw and whipped mashed potatoes. Dessert is a big draw, from Dolla Dolla Bills Y’all!!!! made with a chocolate ganache and dulce de leche tart under a gold brick shell served with golden caramel corn or the Let Them Eat Cake dessert made with a cotton candy pompadour with Confetti funcakes topped with a raspberry almond buttercream. Take note, the bill will be memorable as well.

4. Red Rooster Overtown

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920 NW 2nd Ave
Miami, FL 33136
(305) 640-9880
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This buzzy Harlem import from chef Marcus Samuelsson offers a variety of soul food dishes like fried chicken served with pigeon peas and the shrimp and grits with sausage, spicy stewed tomatoes, and baby zucchini, that have food-lovers, locals, and visitors alike heading to Overtown for a visit. Plus, its speakeasy upstairs featuring drinks and live music recently opened, perfect to start the night with out-of-towners with.

5. Sugar Factory

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1144 Ocean Dr
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(917) 327-8096
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Ice-smoking cocktails and decadent shakes have had tourists flocking here with phones ready to capture it all for the ‘gram. The restaurant recently introduced a new weekend brunch menu offering dishes like the Insane Double Stack Rainbow Pancakes—as the name would imply, a colorful mountain of pancakes served with maple syrup, powdered sugar, and butter, along with a side of chocolate chips, gummy bears, strawberries, whipped cream with rainbow sprinkles and a signature rubber ducky for patrons to take home. There’s also a crispy chicken and waffle sandwich (with jalapeño maple syrup) along with a donut burger (beef patty between a glazed donut, topped with a grilled cheese sandwich and bacon—both big wins for those liking a sweet and savory mix. Be sure to order a mimosa goblet to nurse on throughout the meal.

Rainbow pancakes.
Sugar Factory

6. News Cafe

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800 Ocean Dr
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 538-6397
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Excellent people watching is one of Miami’s best features, and what better place to do this than at News Cafe the outdoor restaurant located right on South Beach’s famed Ocean Drive. Guests can dine on well-executed, diner-style dishes, while taking in the sites, or grab a quick bite before heading to the nearby beach. There’s also an adjoining newsstand and bookstore.

7. Stubborn Seed

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101 Washington Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(786) 322-5211
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Helmed by Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford, at Stubborn Seed ever dish is an experience for the senses. Highlights include crunchy truffle bravas with sopressata ham, truffle aioli, garlic crumbs, and aged parmesan or the heirloom grits and crispy pork with soft egg, cheddar, chili glaze, and chicharrones. Add-ons like Ossetra caviar and Australian black truffle are available, alongside a fan-favorite eight-course tasting menu.

8. Elcielo By Juan Manuel Barrientos

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31 SE 5th St
Miami, FL 33131
(305) 755-8840
Visit Website

Latin American dishes with a molecular gastronomy twist makes this intimate space on Brickell a popular spot to take visitors. That and washing one’s hands with warm chocolate (called “Chocotherapy”), an experience most people have dreamed of doing since the age of 9. The menu rotates regularly but be sure to begin with the show stopping Tree Of Life, an edible bonsai-looking work of art made from yucca flour. Other favorites include blood sausage macarons and salt-crusted branzino.

9. Joe's Stone Crab

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11 Washington Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 673-0365
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This 108-year old restaurant is an institution, and thought to have started the stone crab craze that captures Miami to this day. Ordering the namesake stone crabs is a must, which are served with a mustard sauce that is a legend in its own right, but stone crabs aren’t the only notable item on the menu. From an assortment of seafood dishes to steaks, to its popular fried chicken, there is something for all tastes. And don’t forget the sides: creamed spinach and coleslaw are favorites, but the hash browns and the roasted tomatoes are worth the order too.

10. Versailles Restaurant Cuban Cuisine

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3555 SW 8th St
Miami, FL 33135
(305) 444-0240
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The center of Cuban-American relations, the “ventantita” or little window, is the heartbeat of this Little Havana landmark that opened in 1971. Go for a Cuban coffee, croquetas, and a hearty dose of good ole’ Latin love (and politics). There’s no need to speak Spanish, although it doesn’t hurt. Inside dine on a feast of Cuban favorites like the medianoche sandwich, ropa vieja, and chicken and yellow rice. The tres leches or flan have just the right amount of sugar to get through the remainder of the day, but wash it down with a cortado for the extra caffeine buzz.

11. Rusty Pelican Miami Restaurant

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3201 Rickenbacker Causeway
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
(305) 361-3818
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One of Miami’s most romantic spots, this Key Biscayne landmark underwent a $7 million dollar facelift back in 2011 to give it a more elevated, sophisticated feel. Head there for sunset and sit at the bar to enjoy a cocktail creations while gazing at the cotton candy Miami skyline. Once at the table dine on prime beef tartare with foie gras before moving on to main dishes like whole local snapper with coconut orzo or surf and turf made with braised short rib, lobster, and a bonus of truffle-scented mac and cheese.

12. Monty's Raw Bar

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2550 S Bayshore Dr
Miami, FL 33133
(305) 856-3992
Visit Website

For those craving a Key West vibe in Miami head to this iconic easy-going spot serving frozen cocktails like pain killer, mango margarita, and rum runner. Drinks pair well with the unpretentious seafood grub—coconut shrimp, oysters and peel-and-eat shrimp come to mind.

Frozen cocktails at Monty’s.
Giovanny Gutierrez @chatchowtv

13. Knaus Berry Farm

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15980 SW 248th St
Homestead, FL 33031
(305) 247-0668
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While the sticky bun king is only open for a little less than half a year, South Floridians flock to Knaus Berry Farm when it does open its doors. The lines are long but worth the wait. The concept began with a roadside strawberry stand and grew into what has become a Redland’s staple in 1959. Aside from the popular sticky buns, Knaus Berry Farm also sells produce, baked breads, pies, cheesecakes, and jellies. Make sure to grab a shake to go or enjoy while picking some fresh berries on the farm. Open November through April.

14. Robert Is Here Fruit Stand

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19200 SW 344th St
Homestead, FL 33034
(305) 246-1592
Visit Website

Those headed to the Everglades or Florida Keys know to make a pitstop at this family-owned tropical fruit stand featuring local produce, addictive fruit shakes, and a array of honeys and baked goods.

Signature fruit shakes.
Robert Is Here Fruit Stand /Instagram

1. Scarpetta by Scott Conant

4441 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140

Since its opening in 1954 the Fontainebleau Hotel has been a go-to destination for celebrities, so it seems fitting that chef Scott Conant has run his successful Italian restaurant inside of it since 2008. Straightforward spaghetti with tomato and basil, short rib agnolotti, and duck and foie gras ravioli with marsala reduction will impress any out-of-town guest. Return visits can become habit-forming, not only for the food but that ocean view as well.

4441 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33140

2. El Palacio de los Jugos (Multiple locations)

2038 NW 27th Ave, Miami, FL 33142

Translated from Spanish El Palacio de los Jugos means “the palace of the juices.” It’s a nod to all the drinks made on-site from local tropical fruits like mamey, maracuya (passion fruit), and guayaba. But there’s plenty more here like large portions Cuban classics like chicharrones, sandwiches, rice dishes, and sweets. While it can be daunting to order, as there are multiple counters with different vendors, diners just simply need to travel from one spot to another picking and paying for what they’d like before enjoying their budget friendly meal.

2038 NW 27th Ave
Miami, FL 33142

3. Barton G. The Restaurant - Miami Beach

1427 West Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Over-the-top from start to finish this Miami Beach staple prides itself in “pushing the limits of dining,” an apt statement given its eccentric dishes like lobster pop tarts served in a toaster or the fried chicken served in a waffle cone with apple and cabbage slaw and whipped mashed potatoes. Dessert is a big draw, from Dolla Dolla Bills Y’all!!!! made with a chocolate ganache and dulce de leche tart under a gold brick shell served with golden caramel corn or the Let Them Eat Cake dessert made with a cotton candy pompadour with Confetti funcakes topped with a raspberry almond buttercream. Take note, the bill will be memorable as well.

1427 West Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139

4. Red Rooster Overtown

920 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33136

This buzzy Harlem import from chef Marcus Samuelsson offers a variety of soul food dishes like fried chicken served with pigeon peas and the shrimp and grits with sausage, spicy stewed tomatoes, and baby zucchini, that have food-lovers, locals, and visitors alike heading to Overtown for a visit. Plus, its speakeasy upstairs featuring drinks and live music recently opened, perfect to start the night with out-of-towners with.

920 NW 2nd Ave
Miami, FL 33136

5. Sugar Factory

1144 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Rainbow pancakes.
Sugar Factory

Ice-smoking cocktails and decadent shakes have had tourists flocking here with phones ready to capture it all for the ‘gram. The restaurant recently introduced a new weekend brunch menu offering dishes like the Insane Double Stack Rainbow Pancakes—as the name would imply, a colorful mountain of pancakes served with maple syrup, powdered sugar, and butter, along with a side of chocolate chips, gummy bears, strawberries, whipped cream with rainbow sprinkles and a signature rubber ducky for patrons to take home. There’s also a crispy chicken and waffle sandwich (with jalapeño maple syrup) along with a donut burger (beef patty between a glazed donut, topped with a grilled cheese sandwich and bacon—both big wins for those liking a sweet and savory mix. Be sure to order a mimosa goblet to nurse on throughout the meal.

1144 Ocean Dr
Miami Beach, FL 33139

6. News Cafe

800 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Excellent people watching is one of Miami’s best features, and what better place to do this than at News Cafe the outdoor restaurant located right on South Beach’s famed Ocean Drive. Guests can dine on well-executed, diner-style dishes, while taking in the sites, or grab a quick bite before heading to the nearby beach. There’s also an adjoining newsstand and bookstore.

800 Ocean Dr
Miami Beach, FL 33139

7. Stubborn Seed

101 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Helmed by Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford, at Stubborn Seed ever dish is an experience for the senses. Highlights include crunchy truffle bravas with sopressata ham, truffle aioli, garlic crumbs, and aged parmesan or the heirloom grits and crispy pork with soft egg, cheddar, chili glaze, and chicharrones. Add-ons like Ossetra caviar and Australian black truffle are available, alongside a fan-favorite eight-course tasting menu.

101 Washington Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139

8. Elcielo By Juan Manuel Barrientos

31 SE 5th St, Miami, FL 33131

Latin American dishes with a molecular gastronomy twist makes this intimate space on Brickell a popular spot to take visitors. That and washing one’s hands with warm chocolate (called “Chocotherapy”), an experience most people have dreamed of doing since the age of 9. The menu rotates regularly but be sure to begin with the show stopping Tree Of Life, an edible bonsai-looking work of art made from yucca flour. Other favorites include blood sausage macarons and salt-crusted branzino.

31 SE 5th St
Miami, FL 33131

9. Joe's Stone Crab

11 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

This 108-year old restaurant is an institution, and thought to have started the stone crab craze that captures Miami to this day. Ordering the namesake stone crabs is a must, which are served with a mustard sauce that is a legend in its own right, but stone crabs aren’t the only notable item on the menu. From an assortment of seafood dishes to steaks, to its popular fried chicken, there is something for all tastes. And don’t forget the sides: creamed spinach and coleslaw are favorites, but the hash browns and the roasted tomatoes are worth the order too.

11 Washington Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139

10. Versailles Restaurant Cuban Cuisine

3555 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135

The center of Cuban-American relations, the “ventantita” or little window, is the heartbeat of this Little Havana landmark that opened in 1971. Go for a Cuban coffee, croquetas, and a hearty dose of good ole’ Latin love (and politics). There’s no need to speak Spanish, although it doesn’t hurt. Inside dine on a feast of Cuban favorites like the medianoche sandwich, ropa vieja, and chicken and yellow rice. The tres leches or flan have just the right amount of sugar to get through the remainder of the day, but wash it down with a cortado for the extra caffeine buzz.

3555 SW 8th St
Miami, FL 33135

11. Rusty Pelican Miami Restaurant

3201 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, FL 33149

One of Miami’s most romantic spots, this Key Biscayne landmark underwent a $7 million dollar facelift back in 2011 to give it a more elevated, sophisticated feel. Head there for sunset and sit at the bar to enjoy a cocktail creations while gazing at the cotton candy Miami skyline. Once at the table dine on prime beef tartare with foie gras before moving on to main dishes like whole local snapper with coconut orzo or surf and turf made with braised short rib, lobster, and a bonus of truffle-scented mac and cheese.

3201 Rickenbacker Causeway
Key Biscayne, FL 33149

12. Monty's Raw Bar

2550 S Bayshore Dr, Miami, FL 33133
Frozen cocktails at Monty’s.
Giovanny Gutierrez @chatchowtv

For those craving a Key West vibe in Miami head to this iconic easy-going spot serving frozen cocktails like pain killer, mango margarita, and rum runner. Drinks pair well with the unpretentious seafood grub—coconut shrimp, oysters and peel-and-eat shrimp come to mind.

2550 S Bayshore Dr
Miami, FL 33133

13. Knaus Berry Farm

15980 SW 248th St, Homestead, FL 33031

While the sticky bun king is only open for a little less than half a year, South Floridians flock to Knaus Berry Farm when it does open its doors. The lines are long but worth the wait. The concept began with a roadside strawberry stand and grew into what has become a Redland’s staple in 1959. Aside from the popular sticky buns, Knaus Berry Farm also sells produce, baked breads, pies, cheesecakes, and jellies. Make sure to grab a shake to go or enjoy while picking some fresh berries on the farm. Open November through April.

15980 SW 248th St
Homestead, FL 33031

14. Robert Is Here Fruit Stand

19200 SW 344th St, Homestead, FL 33034
Signature fruit shakes.
Robert Is Here Fruit Stand /Instagram

Those headed to the Everglades or Florida Keys know to make a pitstop at this family-owned tropical fruit stand featuring local produce, addictive fruit shakes, and a array of honeys and baked goods.

19200 SW 344th St
Homestead, FL 33034

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