|The Miami and South Beach area definitely has multiple personalities and this is best evident in its cuisine. With so many cultures blending together, you will find most any food to please your palate. Dining out is actually a popular activity here…you can sit in an outdoor café and watch the crazy, wild world of South Beach go by or dine in an elegant restaurant and enjoy the pomp and circumstance of some of the country's most renowned chefs.
They say you can try Floribbean food here (the melding of Floridian and Caribbean cuisines), Cuban dishes, and your regular steak, seafood, Mexican, Italian, Asian, etc. And since this area is so hot and dining is so popular, it is recommended that you make a reservation in advance at nearly all of the restaurants where you want to go. On Friday and Saturday evenings you will undoubtedly find yourself fighting traffic and long lines as you try to make your way for dinner. Just relax and let it be…it's all part of the South Beach scene and locals here wouldn't have it any other way. The Chesterfield Hotel puts you just steps from the best in South Beach dining if the last thing you want to worry about is waiting for the valet to bring your car around after a big meal.
Whenever you mention South Florida , you can practically watch people's eyes glaze over and their mouths salivate as they remember the quintessential Florida delicacy: stone crab. And there is no better place to find it than at Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant. The good news is that you will find the most flavorful stone crabs imaginable here. The bad news is that Joe's doesn't accept reservations, so don't be surprised to wait three hours or more for a table. They open at 5 p.m. for dinner so you might want to get there really early. And don't forget that Joe's is only open from mid-October to mid-May. If you can't get into Joe's, Monty's Stone Crab & Seafood House is the next best thing (and more affordable).
If you are one to visit only the best restaurants – or simply want to treat yourself to a special meal – the top eateries are situated throughout the Miami and South Beach area and the front desk staff at your hotel will be able to direct you to the spot of the moment. Many Florida chefs are making quite a name for themselves and just because their reputations have yet to rival the stars of New York , it doesn't mean their food can't compare. Many a foodie has been quite pleasantly surprised at the variety, quality, and tastes they experience in South Florida . Chef Allen's in North Miami Beach is one such place…and it has a 16-year reputation to prove it!
In addition to what kind of cuisine you want, you'll also need to decide upon neighborhood, view, and experience…casual South Beach or upscale Coral Gables . For one of the best views, try Big Fish. The restaurant is just on the other side of the Brickell Avenue Bridge and it offers a spectacular view of the Miami skyline as well as a chance to watch the local water traffic pass by.
Hotel dining has also come of age in South Beach . The Hotel Nash is home to Mark's South Beach , and chef Mark Militello is said to be one of the Mango Gang – the chefs responsible for creating Floribbean cuisine. For great sushi, New York and LA's Nobu also has a restaurant in South Beach located in the Shore Club Hotel.
And you couldn't possibly come to Miami without trying some Cuban fare. Many of the places along Calle Ocho are a good choice, but if you're on the prowl for the best and cheapest Cuban sandwich in town, then steer yourself toward Latin American Cafeteria on Coral Way in Miami .
Whatever your palate and pocketbook desires is easily found on Miami 's tables.