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octopus on plate.
Octopus Santorini from Zaytinya South Beach.
Salar Abduaziz

15 Noteworthy South Beach Restaurants

No tourist traps here

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Octopus Santorini from Zaytinya South Beach.
| Salar Abduaziz

Dining options on South Beach include way more than just the average Ocean Drive tourist trap, where the 3-for-1 drink special still costs a pretty penny. From swanky hotel restaurants to a family-owned reservation-recommended Italian spot, a late-night taco joint, and everything in between, there’s always a delicious meal to be found along the two-mile stretch from South Pointe Park to 23rd Street. Here are 15 restaurants on South Beach that are worth the visit.

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Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company

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While Sweet Liberty might be best known for its world-renowned cocktails, its food menu should never be looked over as it’s just as good at the beginning of the night as it is at the end. The highlight is the cauliflower nachos by James Beard Award winner Michelle Bernstein, which says on the menu that they serve two but sharing with a crowd is optional. They’re made with blended cheese, sauteed cauliflower, avocado crema, radishes, pickled jalapenos, and pomegranate seeds, on top of still-warm tortilla chips, with an option to add grilled chicken. Bonus: the kitchen is open until 4 a.m. nightly.

Casa Isola Osteria

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Jose Mendin’s latest creation is Italian in focus with a nod to his roots, taking over the former Pubbelly space in Sunset Harbour. The homey space features plenty of hearty dishes from chef Santo Angello’s childhood, like the prosciutto bread with parmesan honey butter, burrata Panzanella, veal chop parmigiana, braised lamb ragu, and the short rib and taleggio cheese ravioli.

As one of the first New York City imports in South Florida, Lucali has been a hit in Miami since it opened nearly a decade ago. The pizzas and calzones are made with handmade dough and wheeled into thin sheets by empty wine bottles before they enter the wooden oven. Simplicity is key at this Sunset Harbour restaurant, but the devil is in the details, as the restaurant uses some of the best ingredients. As for the toppings, pile up and enjoy.

True Loaf Bakery

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True Loaf doesn’t share the traditional story of a pastry chef who trained under the watchful eye of masters. Owner Tomas Strulovic learned to bake after leaving his career in finance and opening True Loaf, and now the former banker makes some of the best croissants in Miami and other picture-perfect pastries.

Get a taste of New Orleans flavor on South Beach at Joliet from Lost Boy & Co., the team behind places like Lost Boy Dry Goods, Tropezon, and Fox’s Lounge. Expect plenty of seafood fare with Southern flavors like seared scallops, chicken paillard, and blackened red snapper. The menu also features a French onion burger, branzino, and a variety of seafood options, including East and West Coast oysters and shrimp cocktail.

Zaytinya

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Chef José Andrés has expanded his popular, longstanding Mediterranean restaurant Zaytinya to the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, building on its success in Washington, D.C., and New York. Zaytinya, blending Greek, Turkish, and Lebanese flavors, offers a diverse menu created by Andrés and chefs Aglaia Kremezi and Michael Costa, featuring a range of dishes, including spreads, flatbreads, and messes, complemented by a Mediterranean-themed beverage selection. Meanwhile, its decor, with white oak, bronze, and blue accents, gives off an elegant seaside feel.

Sushi Bar Miami Beach

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One of Miami’s most unique omakase experiences is tucked away inside the Esme Hotel. Led by one of the country’s only female omakase chefs, Ambrely Ouimette, diners feast on a 17-course meal that let’s the “chef decide.” Expect contemporary nigiri enhanced with ferments, salts, and unique condiments. While the menu shifts almost daily, expect unique items like aged bluefin akami with dehydrated red miso and everything bagel spice and the hokkaido scallop with white truffle salt, shaved black truffle, and spherified truffle caviar.

Tropezón Miami

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The Spanish influenced spot on Espanola Way boasts a tapas-style menu with shareable dishes like pan con tomate, tortilla Espanola, patatas bravas, jamon iberico, and gazpacho. Gin is the star of the drink menu, offering a collection of more than 20 house-infused gins alongside other updated classics like rose sangria and gin martinis. 

La Sandwicherie Miami Beach

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This no-frills sandwich shop is best known for its late-night offerings and always having a crow. Probably due to its French-inspired sandwiches topped with veggies and a vinaigrette so popular that they had to start selling it by the bottle to meet the demand.

Macchialina

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This cozy, family-owned Italian restaurant is home to some of the best pasta in the city. Start with the creamy polenta before moving to the cacio e pepe, and end with the tiramisu, but honestly, there’s no wrong move in between. Can’t decide what to order? The $70, the five-course tasting menu is the best way to go — and a steal by Miami standards. And make sure to grab a seat on its patio dubbed “il Giardino” for a proper al fresco meal.

Orilla Bar & Grill

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This South American fusion outpost on Miami Beach serves up favorites like spicy beef empanadas, crispy arancini, bucatini pasta, and a variety of steaks seared on the charcoal grill, all in a sexy tropical outdoor space.

Stubborn Seed

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The one-Michelin star restaurant from Miami’s own Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford, Stubborn Seed is a cozy-yet-hip South of Fifth restaurant turning out some of the city’s most elevated cuisine. While there is a complete a la carte menu with dishes like cacio e pepe cheese puffs, pan-roasted truffle chicken, and charred swordfish, the real highlight here is the tasting menu, where guests can try a bevy of classics and expertly presented seasonal dishes.

Carbone

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The South Beach location of Carbone serves the same high-end takes on classic Italian-American dishes that its New York City counterpart has since 2012. On the menu, expect dishes like its famous spicy rigatoni in a vodka sauce, the Caesar salad “alla ZZ” that is prepared tableside, veal chop parmesan, alongside some serious old school vibes, strong yet balanced cocktails, and plenty of people watching. Reservations are a hot commodity, but the people watching make it worth it.

Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant

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This 109-year-old restaurant is an institution and is 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 famous 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. Don’t want to spend time waiting? Then head next door to Joe’s Takeaway and eat the same caliber claws at home. 

Abbalé Telavivian Kitchen

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From the team who brought Miami favorites like My Ceviche and Pura Vida comes a laidback Israeli and Mediterranean cafe quickly becoming a favorite in the South of Fifth neighborhood. At lunch and dinner, guests can find more hearty dishes like fattoush (bread salad), pitas stuffed with falafel and lamb kofta (meatball), and whole roasted branzino, which can be paired with a large selection of Israeli wines.

Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company

While Sweet Liberty might be best known for its world-renowned cocktails, its food menu should never be looked over as it’s just as good at the beginning of the night as it is at the end. The highlight is the cauliflower nachos by James Beard Award winner Michelle Bernstein, which says on the menu that they serve two but sharing with a crowd is optional. They’re made with blended cheese, sauteed cauliflower, avocado crema, radishes, pickled jalapenos, and pomegranate seeds, on top of still-warm tortilla chips, with an option to add grilled chicken. Bonus: the kitchen is open until 4 a.m. nightly.

Casa Isola Osteria

Jose Mendin’s latest creation is Italian in focus with a nod to his roots, taking over the former Pubbelly space in Sunset Harbour. The homey space features plenty of hearty dishes from chef Santo Angello’s childhood, like the prosciutto bread with parmesan honey butter, burrata Panzanella, veal chop parmigiana, braised lamb ragu, and the short rib and taleggio cheese ravioli.

Lucali

As one of the first New York City imports in South Florida, Lucali has been a hit in Miami since it opened nearly a decade ago. The pizzas and calzones are made with handmade dough and wheeled into thin sheets by empty wine bottles before they enter the wooden oven. Simplicity is key at this Sunset Harbour restaurant, but the devil is in the details, as the restaurant uses some of the best ingredients. As for the toppings, pile up and enjoy.

True Loaf Bakery

True Loaf doesn’t share the traditional story of a pastry chef who trained under the watchful eye of masters. Owner Tomas Strulovic learned to bake after leaving his career in finance and opening True Loaf, and now the former banker makes some of the best croissants in Miami and other picture-perfect pastries.

Joliet

Get a taste of New Orleans flavor on South Beach at Joliet from Lost Boy & Co., the team behind places like Lost Boy Dry Goods, Tropezon, and Fox’s Lounge. Expect plenty of seafood fare with Southern flavors like seared scallops, chicken paillard, and blackened red snapper. The menu also features a French onion burger, branzino, and a variety of seafood options, including East and West Coast oysters and shrimp cocktail.

Zaytinya

Chef José Andrés has expanded his popular, longstanding Mediterranean restaurant Zaytinya to the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, building on its success in Washington, D.C., and New York. Zaytinya, blending Greek, Turkish, and Lebanese flavors, offers a diverse menu created by Andrés and chefs Aglaia Kremezi and Michael Costa, featuring a range of dishes, including spreads, flatbreads, and messes, complemented by a Mediterranean-themed beverage selection. Meanwhile, its decor, with white oak, bronze, and blue accents, gives off an elegant seaside feel.

Sushi Bar Miami Beach

One of Miami’s most unique omakase experiences is tucked away inside the Esme Hotel. Led by one of the country’s only female omakase chefs, Ambrely Ouimette, diners feast on a 17-course meal that let’s the “chef decide.” Expect contemporary nigiri enhanced with ferments, salts, and unique condiments. While the menu shifts almost daily, expect unique items like aged bluefin akami with dehydrated red miso and everything bagel spice and the hokkaido scallop with white truffle salt, shaved black truffle, and spherified truffle caviar.

Tropezón Miami

The Spanish influenced spot on Espanola Way boasts a tapas-style menu with shareable dishes like pan con tomate, tortilla Espanola, patatas bravas, jamon iberico, and gazpacho. Gin is the star of the drink menu, offering a collection of more than 20 house-infused gins alongside other updated classics like rose sangria and gin martinis. 

La Sandwicherie Miami Beach

This no-frills sandwich shop is best known for its late-night offerings and always having a crow. Probably due to its French-inspired sandwiches topped with veggies and a vinaigrette so popular that they had to start selling it by the bottle to meet the demand.

Macchialina

This cozy, family-owned Italian restaurant is home to some of the best pasta in the city. Start with the creamy polenta before moving to the cacio e pepe, and end with the tiramisu, but honestly, there’s no wrong move in between. Can’t decide what to order? The $70, the five-course tasting menu is the best way to go — and a steal by Miami standards. And make sure to grab a seat on its patio dubbed “il Giardino” for a proper al fresco meal.

Orilla Bar & Grill

This South American fusion outpost on Miami Beach serves up favorites like spicy beef empanadas, crispy arancini, bucatini pasta, and a variety of steaks seared on the charcoal grill, all in a sexy tropical outdoor space.

Stubborn Seed

The one-Michelin star restaurant from Miami’s own Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford, Stubborn Seed is a cozy-yet-hip South of Fifth restaurant turning out some of the city’s most elevated cuisine. While there is a complete a la carte menu with dishes like cacio e pepe cheese puffs, pan-roasted truffle chicken, and charred swordfish, the real highlight here is the tasting menu, where guests can try a bevy of classics and expertly presented seasonal dishes.

Carbone

The South Beach location of Carbone serves the same high-end takes on classic Italian-American dishes that its New York City counterpart has since 2012. On the menu, expect dishes like its famous spicy rigatoni in a vodka sauce, the Caesar salad “alla ZZ” that is prepared tableside, veal chop parmesan, alongside some serious old school vibes, strong yet balanced cocktails, and plenty of people watching. Reservations are a hot commodity, but the people watching make it worth it.

Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant

This 109-year-old restaurant is an institution and is 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 famous 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. Don’t want to spend time waiting? Then head next door to Joe’s Takeaway and eat the same caliber claws at home. 

Abbalé Telavivian Kitchen

From the team who brought Miami favorites like My Ceviche and Pura Vida comes a laidback Israeli and Mediterranean cafe quickly becoming a favorite in the South of Fifth neighborhood. At lunch and dinner, guests can find more hearty dishes like fattoush (bread salad), pitas stuffed with falafel and lamb kofta (meatball), and whole roasted branzino, which can be paired with a large selection of Israeli wines.

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