By Juan Lopez
You've shopped, hung out on the beach and probably got in a workout. Now it's chow time!
Here are some places to go and grab something to eat on South Beach.
BREAKFAST / BRUNCH
If you’re not sure where to eat, head over to Lincoln Road where there are a number of outdoor cafes and restaurants to choose from. (Tip: Avoid the menu hawkers as those places are usually tourist traps.)
Popular gay spots are IceBox Cafe and Balans.
IceBox (located right off Lincoln Rd. and Michigan Ave.) is gay owned and known for their best cakes (according to Oprah, no less). A delicious brunch is served up every Saturday, Sunday and on holidays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some brunch faves from the menu are The Egg Box (scrambled eggs, cheese, sausage, roasted potatoes, biscuit $11.50) and The Mess (scrambled eggs, ham glazes onions, roasted potatoes and biscuit for $12). If you can't make it for brunch, check out their lunch and dinner menus that change daily. No hard liquor is served but wine and mimosas are on the menu. Indoor and outdoor seating is available. No need to dress up, as casual attire is cool.
IceBox Café, 1657 Michigan Ave., Miami Beach; 305-538-8448
Hours: Mon. – Thur. 8 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Fri. – Sun., 8 a.m. - Midnight (kitchen closes at 11 pm, but restaurant is open for dessert and coffee)
Details: No reservations needed; major credit cards are accepted; take out is available; street parking available.
Originally from London, Balans (between Michigan and Lenox Ave.) is the spot to have brunch and people watch. With brunch being their busiest time of the day, get ready to wait for a table if you want to sit outside (15 to 30 minutes). Indoor seating is usually available without much of a wait. Get there early (before 10 a.m.) if you want to avoid the crowds. Breakfast/brunch is served daily, and Balans has a full service bar. So if you stick around past brunch, and into a late lunch, look out for their daily drink specials. There's also an early bird special $2 off all entrées Monday to Friday from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. (excluding holidays and special events).
Balans, 1022 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 305-534-9191
Hours: Sun. – Thur., 8 a.m. – Midnight; Fri. – Sat., 8 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Details: Takes reservations; major credit cards accepted; take out available; street parking available.
LUNCH / DINNER
Not feeling brunch? Lunch or dinner more your style? Here is a pair of options that could be considered secret weapons of South Beach that won’t drain your wallet.
If you're on the go and don't have a lot of time or money to spend on a meal, Lime is a perfect solution. Known for its fresh Tex-Mex food, the menu has many health conscious items. Go for one of their saldas (the Southwest Salda with chicken is $7.49 or try the Skinny Burrito for $7.99.) The setup is easy. You walk up, place your order at the cashier, and you’re given a number to place at your table. Servers bring your order to you. There is indoor and outdoor patio style seating. Beer and wine is available. Lunch is a busy time. Mucho eye candy is to be had at Lime, making for a delicioso dining experience.
Lime, 1439 Alton Road, Miami Beach; 305-532-5463
Hours: Daily 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Details: Takes no reservations; major credit cards accepted; take out available; street/meter parking available.
Looking for a cozy, non-touristy place to have dinner? Eat where the locals do, at Joe Allen Restaurant. This hidden jewel of a neighborhood restaurant plays host to local celebs and non-celebs alike and features a cuisine of American fare. Menus change daily but there are some staples that never change, like their appetizer Cucumber Salad with feta cheese, tomatoes, black olives and mint, $8. Try their meatloaf with mashed potatoes, gravy and sauteed spinach, $16 or the Rigatoni ala Bolognese, $15. A definite must is dessert and you can't leave without having their New Orleans bread pudding with bourbon sauce, $7.50. Joe Allen has a full bar and bar dining is available. (Tip: If you're planning on dinner, make sure to call and make reservations).
Joe Allen, 1787 Purdy Ave. (between 17th & 18th Streets), Miami Beach; 305-531-7007
Hours: Mon. – Sun., 11:30 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.; Sunday brunch, 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Details: Reservations strongly suggested; Visa/Mastercard accepted, but not American Express; take out available; street/meter parking available as well as a small public lot across the street.
Ice Box Cafe, 1657 Michigan Ave., Miami Beach.