Fork in the Road thinks you should get out of town on occasion, since dozens of destinations lie within just a couple of hours of the city. In this Excursions column, we’re covering the best places to eat in popular weekend trip locations. See more Excursions and Summer Fridays ideas in our archives.
When considering the map of winter weekend getaways, Miami’s South Beach falls somewhere between Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Not as many buffet deals as the former, more Europeans in Speedos than the latter. This cosmopolitan beach retreat features late-night hours, always-warm water, and globally conscious cuisine, making it a perfect winter redoubt.
Miami’s dining scene has a flair for the dramatic, whether you plan on an evening with the fellas, gals, the significant other, or just yourself. Former Top Chef Carla Pellegrino’s rooftop Italian restaurant Touché (15 NE 11th Street; 305-358-9848) is a good bet for any party size, and offers plenty of specialties like lobster fra diavolo and veal saltimbocca. Pellegrino’s menu also includes sushi and sashimi as part of its lighter options; its elegant vibe, accented by sharply dressed waiters, might make you forget the festivities that await below. The restaurant is located on top of E11Even (29 NE 11th Street; 305-829-2911), a gentleman’s club that’s open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and showcases a variety of global DJs and EDM acts.
If you haven’t been to Miami before, dining out on Collins Avenue is a given. You’ll find familiar New York names like Hakkasan and Scarpetta there, but you should consider something else, like Orange Blossom (2000 Collins Avenue; 305-763-8983). The restaurant offers bespoke cocktails and an Old Floridian feel, with dishes like chorizo and potatoes presented in a warm skillet. A selection of flatbreads, veal meatballs, and Florida black grouper fill out the diverse menu.
Puerto Sagua (700 Collins Avenue; 305-673-1115) is also a native Miami landmark for cuban sandwiches, croquetas, or oxtail stew with a side of fried plantains. A little off the main drag but worth the additional cardio is Yardbird Southern Table and Bar (1600 Lenox Avenue; 305-538-5220). Build your plate on something fried — chicken, bread, and frog legs fall under this category — and add biscuits and charred okra. For a post-meal beverage, end the night at Automatic Slims (1216 Washington Avenue; 305-672-2220), where you’ll find shots and hard rock. The bar is one of the few places in the area without a strict dress code or door policy, and the laid-back vibe assures a diverse and welcoming crowd.
If it’s a no-frills local joint you’re after, head to Flanigan’s (2721 Bird Avenue; 305-446-1114). A dead ringer for Ernest Hemingway, “Big Daddy” Joe Flanigan’s face can be found throughout the restaurant, which offers dolphin sandwiches — the fish, not the mammal — and pitchers of beer on the cheap. Joe’s Stone Crabs (11 Washington Avenue; 305-673-0365) is another must-visit location, particularly now that it’s namesake is in season. Another casual place to chow down is LoKal (3190 Commodore Plaza; 305- 442-3377; additional locations). The sandwich spot is known for its use of local ingredients like guava jelly — its potato sticks–stuffed “Frita by Kush burger” is one of the better known in the city — and it boasts a large selection of craft beer.
Before heading home, make it a point to enjoy a pre-flight brunch at Big Pink (157 Collins Avenue; 305-532-4700). The playful diner offers an all-day breakfast featuring hearty portions of omelettes and a classic NY lox and bagel plate, though it’s usually the masses of post-party people recuperating that steal the show. Of course, if you don’t have time, you can always grab a cubano or medianoche sandwich to go at one of the city’s numerous delis. Mary’s Coin Laundry and Deli (2542 SW 27th Avenue; 305-443-667) is perfect, considering you may need to clean up some evidence of a trip well played before heading back home.