After living in this infamous Miami neighborhood for over ten years I learned to avoid the many over-rated and mediocre dining establishments. Less plentiful are the cheap South Beach restaurants but I happen to know quite a few that have great food too.
Keep in mind that “cheap” for South Beach is relative. The bad news is that there isn’t really any truly cheap food to be found other than at the 7-11. The good news is that you don’t have to cancel that botox appointment to afford to eat out. You CAN have it all. I will introduce you to some of my favorite affordable South Beach restaurants.
This Spanish Mediterranean hotspot is part of the PubBelly Restaurant Group. I have been coming here for years and it is a consistent favorite where I often bring out-of- town guests. Even my family requests this place when they visit! Try the pan con tomate, the pulpo, the croquettas and one of the rice dishes (the Arroces). The vibe here is always lively and fun. http://barcelonetarestaurant.com
This may be the only authentic Italian place on the beach that doesn’t cost you a car payment. An Italian friend actually turned me on to it. It is small and cozy with
flirty friendly Italian waiters. I suggest one or more of the many delicious homemade pasta dishes such as the Fiocchetti (little purses) stuffed with pear and cheese or the Strozzapretti (corkscrews) with secret meat sauce, (like a Bolognese but better) or the Tagliolini with porcini mushrooms and truffle. I’m seriously making myself hungry writing this. http://www.lalocandamiami.com
This Turkish restaurant fills a much needed vacancy in Miami…Middle Eastern food. There’s a scarcity of all types of Asian food in Miami. (Do you hear me Asians? Come here please!) This restaurant has an attentive staff and a beautiful garden in which to dine. The lentil soup, the cigar roll (a cheese- filled savory pastry, the goat cheese salad with pomegranate dressing, the lamb shish and the roasted eggplant are some of my favorites. I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with anything if you like Mediterranean cuisine so order away with reckless abandon! http://www.babylonmiamibeach.com
Mmmm. Pizza. Mmmm. After visiting Naples, there was a void in my life from not having Neopolitan style pizza every single day. Fratelli fills this void by providing authentic pizza very similar to what I ate in Naples. It is so authentic that they don’t deliver. The delicate crust and buffalo mozzarella would simply not survive a scooter ride. http://www.flbmiami.com
This is pronounced like “chihuahua” with out the “chi”, not “hoo-ah hoo-ahs” as one of my friends had thought. This teeny sidewalk cafe has no indoor seating and is reminiscent of a taco stand. The tacos are creative and delicious. They have a scrumptious fried chicken taco with jalapeño cheddar corn bread crumbles. Another favorite is the crispy pescado with papaya relish, pictured above. I prefer the corn tortillas and you have to specify upon ordering if you want this instead of flour.
Don’t even get me started on this elote..the grilled corn with lime, chili powder and cotija cheese. Little tip…don’t eat this on a date…not teeth friendly!
They even have delicious homemade “paletas” which are Mexican popsicles. http://huahuastaco.com
This is combination Japanese and Peruvian. Sushi and Ceviche. Weird? It somehow works. The menu is mostly Peruvian with delicious ceviches and other Peruvian classics such as my favorites Aji de Gallina and Lomo Saltado. The sushi is really good with unique rolls like the White Hot Heat Roll with spicy tuna, tempura flakes and cream cheese topped with SuViche Sauce and sriracha. Wow! They also do crazy things like pour this delicious cilantro or crema de aji amarillo (yellow Peruvian pepper) sauce on the sushi. I’m a huge fan! http://www.suviche.com
Yes I put TWO taco places on this list. So? What’s it to you? Do you hate tacos? These tacos and burritos are equally as creative and delicious as Hua Huas. This one has indoor seating as well as a popular secret late night club that always has a line on weekend nights (amazing people watching opportunity). Make sure you get in the shorter taco line when you’re there and after you eat you may be able to sneak into the back. Shhhh…you didn’t hear that from me! http://www.bodegasouthbeach.com
This place is an institution that everybody loves. French sandwiches on baguettes dressed with their signature French vinaigrette that is so delectable, I often buy the large bottle and fight the urge to bathe in it. I love the roast beef and camembert and I don’t even like roast beef! I usually avoid lunch meat like the plague. This beef is rare, just like the French intended. The chicken salad is actually delicious and un-mayonnaise-y. Order the sandwich with everything which includes peppers, onion, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and cornichons (ask for extra). C’est parfait! http://www.lasandwicherie.com
This little Persian eatery is so popular that there are several locations throughout Miami. The food is simple, healthy and delicious. Try the Falafel Wrap or Chenjeh chicken wrap for a light healthy lunch or snack. http://www.ricehouseofkabob.com
J’adore this cozy French bistro with authentic French food that is unpretentious and comforting. The Gratin Dauphinois is so rich and satisfying that it will make you forget about having sex for a few days. http://www.otenticrestaurant.com
I hope you are able to try all of these and enjoy them as much as I do. I am happy to answer questions or give more suggestions if you are visiting my lovely town. Happy eating!
Read More: 10 Secret South Beach Locations