South Beach is filled with tourist traps. There’s so many restaurants to pick from; it’s hard to decide where to go. Being a former resident of South Beach, I will tell you some of the places you can go that will not break your budget and have very good food. It might not be rated on the Zagets, but it will delight your taste buds without breaking the bank.
1. Tasty Bakery (On Washington between Espanola and 15th st.) This bakery is South Beach’s little, hidden gem. They have homemade Empanadas that are amazing. They also have cookies, pastries, homemade sandwiches, and best Cafe con Leche (Cuban coffee with milk) I used to stop by here before I headed my way towards the beach.
2. Cheeseburger Baby (1505 Washington Ave) They have the best Cheeseburgers on South Beach. The hamburgers are seasoned perfectly, and the buns are grilled. It comes topped with lettuce, pickle, onions, and condiments. Good salt and peppered seasoned fries and they also have great hot wings. They are open late so you can grab something to bite after you hit up all the clubs.
3. Iron Sushi (840 Washington Ave) Cheap Sushi sounds like an oxymoron but it isn’t in this no frill eatery. The fish is amazingly fresh, and the prices are unbelievable. They have magazines and game to amuse yourself while you are waiting. The wait isn’t long ,however. They also have this beef bowl with rice. Put some Sriracha (Vietnamese hot sauce) on top of it and you are all set.
4. Miss Yips Chinese Cafe (1661 Meridian Ave) Their dinners can be pricey but if you still want to try their menu, they have great lunch specials. The lunch menu is almost the same as the dinner menu but in smaller portion. (It also comes with a spring roll.) The decor is beautiful and fashioned after Chinese tea houses. They also make homemade dim sums.
5. Lime (1439 Alton Road) This fresh Mexican grill is one of the local favorites. There’s an outdoor patio area you can sit in. Almost all the dishes come with a side of chips which you can dip into the many salsa and dips they have to choose from. I love their beef tacos, but almost everything is good there.
6. Tap Tap (819 Fifth Street) This obscure little place serves Haitian food. The whole place looks like an overgrown tap tap, a brightly painted jitney common in Haiti. During happy hour, they have an amuse bouche (a small bite before the meal begins) which you can try for free. The food is exotic to my taste (and I tried many different types of cuisine). There’s an outdoor sitting area too.
7. Front Porch Cafe (1418 Ocean Drive) They have the best brunch. It’s impossible to get a table on the weekends but during the weekday. It’s a great place to relax and read a newspaper. It’s a stone throw away from the beach, so you can walk to it after your breakfast. The food is American fare. Try the Granola Pancakes…delicious.
8. Playwright Irish Pub (1265 Washington Ave) This pub is packed on the weekends but they also serve food until midnight. Their Fish and Chips are awesome. They also have great Shepherds Pie and finger licking hot wings. They also have the traditional Irish Breakfast in the afternoon. They also have a 2 for 1 Happy Hour. This is one of my favorite places to hang out.
9. Monty’s (300 Alton Road) Monty’s is notorious for their happy hour and famous Raw Bar. The raw bar is an excellent deal (Monday through Friday only) and 2 for 1 Happy Hour is great. It’s right on the Ocean and a prime place to watch the sunset. Friday Happy Hour is always packed but on the weekdays, you feel as though you are in one of those Caribbean Islands.
10. Olivers (9th and West) This bistro is removed from the Touristy area. They have great food. It is a local favorite. I loved the Vietnamese Beef Salad. The menu is very eclectic. It is one of the best outdoor sidewalks to sit and dine.