Miami Travel Guide: Where To Eat, Drink, and Stay In South Beach

With South Beach we went from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds flat – one moment we barely knew each other and the next we were hanging around all the time. Between work and travel, Miami has become a stop over on the regular for Team Salt & Wind and we're not complaining one bit because there's always something new to check out. 

Why South Beach?

Being partial to Art Deco and from a beach city, we feel at home in Miami but, also, between the Cuban and South American influence, it also feels totally different from what we know from Los Angeles. Our favorite way to do South Beach is with girlfriends. Not that we have anything against the boys but the art, dining, and bars are the stuff girls' beach vacation dreams are made of.

Here are the places in South Beach we'd go right now:

Before You Go

Where to Stay

Luxe: The Raleigh

If I could, I'd move into the Raleigh. Between the art deco decor, all the hiden corners of the hotel, and a bar that I could linger at for hours, the only problem is I'd forget to go to the beach. 

Chic: One Hotel

In the heart of South Beach, things can get crazy pretty quickly, which is why I like havens like One Hotel. Spending a day in one of their cabanas while watching the world pass by is the perfect way to relax.

Charming But Cheap(er): Freehand
Sure, they call themselves a hostel but, if hostels are this chic, I only want to stay in hostels from now on. The rooms are affordable and, though not really in South Beach, it's in a great area, especially since the on-site bar is on par.

What To Cook 

What To Read

  • Back To Blood - A total guilty pleasure of a book set in the midst of Miami Art Basel

What To Watch

  • Dexter - we know, it's a sadistic show but it also does a great job profiling Miami
  • There's Something About Mary - yes, it's raunchy but it's classic Cameron Diaz (and set in Miami)
  • Birdcage - such a classic movie that captures the charm of South Beach
  • Ballers - okay, this is about football but it gives you a really good view of Miami life too

Once You're There

Where to Eat

EAT brunch here: Tongue & Cheek

A classic brunch spot, they've got you covered with everything from cured salmon to Cuban sandwiches. 

EAT with the new kid in town: Oolite

Oolite comes from a big history seeing as Chef Kris Wessel is a James Beard nominee. My friends have been raving about the seafood – especially the yellowtail and the bbq shrimp – and the empanadas.

EAT a twist on classics: YardBird

Sometimes it's easy to forget you're in the South when you're in South Beach but YardBird is there to remind you of that. With bourbon galore and rustic charm, I love YardBird for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

EAT in classic Miami style: Joe’s Stone Crab 

Don't even think of going to Miami without getting your fill of Joe's; yes, it's old school with waiters in red coats and white tablecloths but that's exactly why we love it.

EAT at Asian Gastro Pub: Pub Belly 

Okay, you probably didn't know you craved Asian Gastropub food when you're in Miami, did you? But this place and its sister location, Pub Belly Sushi, right next door have awesome food. If you get one thing, have it be the Uni Carbonara.

EAT chic and classic Italian: Casa Tua

So spot-on Italian, this place feels like Miami somehow moved to Italy. We especially like it because it's an escape (in decor, atmosphere, and food) from the otherwise craziness in that part of South Beach.

EAT Cuban hole-in-the-wall: Las Olas

I like my coffee black  – except when I'm in Miami when I want Cuban coffee all the time. That's how I discovered Las Olas and then used that as the excuse to try everything from their Cuban sandwich to their empanadas.

Where to Drink

DRINK in a boho backyard: The Broken Shaker

That bar at the Freehand we were talking about? It's The Broken Shaker. Which feels like you're partying in a friend's backyard – with a ping pong table to boot – and the cocktails are so solid they got nominated for a James Beard award!

DRINK at a hidden gem: Bodega

Here's how you get to the bar: go past the tacos, through the fridge, and voila! No, seriously, Bodega has a speakeasy vibe and an awesome scene. Plus it gets bonus points since you can end your night with a short rib taco back up front.

DRINK and bring back disco: The Basement

The brainchild of Ian Schrager (founder of Studio 54) so it's no suprise that this place is a sort-of 2010s take on that classic club. With a bowling alley and disco beats, I can't wait to check out this place on my next trip. 

More on Salt & Wind

Did you know we lead boutique food and wine tours for food lovers? Come join our next Salt & Wind trip!

P.S. If you liked this story, you'll probably like our newsletter too! 

P.P.S. Hitting the road soon? Show us how you travel in good taste by sharing your adventures on Instagram with the #swsociety hashtag!

Opening photo by Stephen Morris / Coconut by Joselito Brioni / Lifeguard stand by Alicia Bock

Updated January 2017