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Scarpetta’s signature pasta dish.
Photo Credit: Scarpetta

12 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.

Editor’s Note: A number of South Florida restaurants have resumed indoor and outdoor dining services. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for onsite dining, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the Florida Health Department’s website. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines. For those wanting to find the best takeout and dining options throughout Miami, please visit here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Le Tub Saloon

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1100 N Ocean Dr
Hollywood, FL 33019
(954) 921-9425
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Built out of a former gas station, this burger joint in Hollywood is a good representation of how quirky, old-school Florida can still exist. The multi-level outdoor space nestled along Hollywood’s inter-coastal space is filled with eccentric decor like bathtubs and toilets with that serve as planters, visiting iguanas, and long lines. The main draw are the burgers, the gargantuan patty that’s charred on the outside and pink on the inside is among South Florida’s best.

2. 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 the destination for the stars, so it seems fitting that celebrity 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.

3. 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 — think 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.

4. Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

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1600 Lenox Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 538-5220
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Yardbird made Southern rustic charm a thing in 2011 and it is still going strong. Crowds pack in to order some deep South dishes like buttermilk biscuits with honey, deviled eggs with trout roe, shrimp and grits, and the most Instagrammed of them all: fried chicken, waffles, and watermelon. Wash it down with a large selection of bourbons and finish the meal with the bacon butterscotch cake that naturally has bacon frosting.

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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You don’t have to be beautiful to visit Miami, but you do have to be prepared to look at a lot of beautiful people. What better place to do this than at News Cafe, the outdoor cafe on Ocean Drive where one can drool, gasp, envy, or chuckle at passerby's while dining on straightforward, diner-style dishes. There’s also an adjoining newsstand and bookstore.

7. Joe's Stone Crab

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11 Washington Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 673-0365
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This 100-year old restaurant is an institution and thought to have started the stone crab craze that captures Miami to this day. Joe’s is old school all the way, but it doesn’t take reservations so be prepared to wait. 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 standard favorites, but the hash browns and the roasted tomatoes are worth the order too.

8. 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 to play it safe, wash it down with a cortado for the extra caffeine buzz.

Indoor and outdoor seating as well as takeout is available.

9. 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 any one of Oscar Amaya’s 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.

10. 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

11. 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.

12. 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 array of honeys and baked goods. Due to the pandemic, there’s an organized drive through system in place now, where orders are made in the entrance and items delivered to the vehicle at the exit.

Signature fruit shakes.
Robert Is Here Fruit Stand /Instagram

1. The Le Tub Saloon

1100 N Ocean Dr, Hollywood, FL 33019

Built out of a former gas station, this burger joint in Hollywood is a good representation of how quirky, old-school Florida can still exist. The multi-level outdoor space nestled along Hollywood’s inter-coastal space is filled with eccentric decor like bathtubs and toilets with that serve as planters, visiting iguanas, and long lines. The main draw are the burgers, the gargantuan patty that’s charred on the outside and pink on the inside is among South Florida’s best.

1100 N Ocean Dr
Hollywood, FL 33019

2. Scarpetta by Scott Conant

4441 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140

Since its opening in 1954, the Fontainebleau Hotel has been the destination for the stars, so it seems fitting that celebrity 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

3. 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 — think 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

4. Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

1600 Lenox Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Yardbird made Southern rustic charm a thing in 2011 and it is still going strong. Crowds pack in to order some deep South dishes like buttermilk biscuits with honey, deviled eggs with trout roe, shrimp and grits, and the most Instagrammed of them all: fried chicken, waffles, and watermelon. Wash it down with a large selection of bourbons and finish the meal with the bacon butterscotch cake that naturally has bacon frosting.

1600 Lenox Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139

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

You don’t have to be beautiful to visit Miami, but you do have to be prepared to look at a lot of beautiful people. What better place to do this than at News Cafe, the outdoor cafe on Ocean Drive where one can drool, gasp, envy, or chuckle at passerby's while dining on straightforward, diner-style dishes. There’s also an adjoining newsstand and bookstore.

800 Ocean Dr
Miami Beach, FL 33139

7. Joe's Stone Crab

11 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

This 100-year old restaurant is an institution and thought to have started the stone crab craze that captures Miami to this day. Joe’s is old school all the way, but it doesn’t take reservations so be prepared to wait. 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 standard favorites, but the hash browns and the roasted tomatoes are worth the order too.

11 Washington Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139

8. 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 to play it safe, wash it down with a cortado for the extra caffeine buzz.

Indoor and outdoor seating as well as takeout is available.

3555 SW 8th St
Miami, FL 33135

9. 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 any one of Oscar Amaya’s 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

10. 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

11. 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

12. 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 array of honeys and baked goods. Due to the pandemic, there’s an organized drive through system in place now, where orders are made in the entrance and items delivered to the vehicle at the exit.

19200 SW 344th St
Homestead, FL 33034

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