South Beach Restaurants
850 Commerce St., South Beach
Planta hits that sweet spot of healthy, sustainable dishes that are flavorful and substantial and look absolutely beautiful. We’re partial the “lox” platter, with its smoky carrots, surprisingly good cashew cheese, and sharp pickles. The banana pancakes are comfort on a plate and the ceviche—in this case, with fresh watermelon, mango, and coconut—is incredibly refreshing. The drinks are reason alone to show up. We love a Kombucha Mojito to start, then suggest moving on to a Charcoal Bourbon Sour (with whipped aquafaba, or chickpea water, instead of egg whites). For dessert, get a side of the especially good (and gluten-free) banoffee pie to share—or not.
1664 Lenox Ave., South Beach
The late 1800s was a time of mass migration from Japan to Peru. One of the unexpected results is what is now known as Nikkei cuisine. And Chotto Matte may be the best example of it outside of Lima. A table loaded with the Nikkei-dressed sushi—which means traditional sushi servings of yellowtail tuna or scallops “dressed” in Peruvian-style spicy sauces such as aji amarillo (a bright orange, almost fruity-tasting chili)–paired with a few bowls of citrusy branzino ceviche make for a fine meal. The restaurant is similar to the original London location, but grander, louder, and way more Miami: tall, leafy trees; bright murals by local graffiti artists; and—in a truly Miami move—a ceiling that’s fully retractable.
1680 Michigan Ave., South Beach
Mister O1 (formerly Visa O1, named for the US visa given to people with extraordinary ability or achievement in their fields) serves Neapolitan-style thin-crust pies at its popular South Beach location. Small, cozy, and usually packed, it's known for a pie with a photogenic star-shaped crust topped with San Marzano sauce, ricotta, Calabrian salami, and fresh basil. Pretty much any pizza from the varied menu is sure to please, though. If you prefer, you can opt for vegan cheese, and there are plenty of salads to choose from for the gluten-averse. There's a location Downtown, too.
1424 Alton Rd., South Beach
Considering its location in a nondescript strip mall, you could walk right by the Drunken Dragon without knowing it was there. Look for the "market" sign to guide you into the space, which deceptively offers lofty ceilings, a long, dramatic bar, and sleek wooden mid-century chairs. Food here (the menu is helmed by Xavier Torres, an alum of the Dutch, Nobu, and Zuma) is served Korean-BBQ style, so while you'll order a few sides for the table (the bok choy is a crowd-pleaser), the main event is really a plate of raw cuts of meat that guests grill themselves over specially designed flames at the center of the table. The drink menu is appropriately dramatic, focusing on tiki-style rum cocktails, and you can enjoy them well into the evening—or morning. The restaurant stays open until 6 a.m. on weekends.
Apple a Day
1534 Alton Rd., South Beach
Located in a nondescript shopping mall, Apple a Day’s interior is likewise nondescript, but the cold-pressed organic juices, made in house, are so fresh and so good. They also do smoothies, salads, wraps, and acai, quinoa, and brown rice bowls. They serve Panther coffee, and you can order online for delivery.
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