Breakfast, they say, is the most important meal of the day and Miamians like to start the morning at a breezy sidewalk cafe on Lincoln Road Mall like Books & Books, IceBox or Balans Cafe or to wander the Art Deco District and watch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean at the Front Porch Cafe on Ocean Drive.
Lunchtime alfresco is also an option with South Beach’s many popular restaurants and beach bars like the Beach Bar at the Setai Hotel and the sidewalk tables at BLT Steak at the Betsy Hotel. For a bracing view of the waterway that connects Miami’s Port and the sea, grab a table at Smith & Wollensky or a bar stool at Monty’s at the Marina to feel the wind in your hair as you toast the happy passengers a Bon Voyage!
The area’s most famous dining spot started serving seafood dinners way back in 1913 –Joe’s Stone Crab offers the most authentic taste of Miami because the rock-hard crab claws are harvested in local waters from October to May.
There are also some restaurants that aren’t off the beaten path that you should experience and Joe’s Stone Crab is one of them. The area’s most famous dining spot started serving seafood dinners way back in 1913. Joe’s Stone Crab offers the most authentic taste of Miami because the rock-hard crab claws are harvested in local waters from October to May. Originally a humble lunch counter, Joe’s was the first restaurant on Miami Beach. In fact, Collins Avenue was not even a paved road at that time. In 1921 Joe Weiss started boiling the local crabs and serving them for just 75 cents. Even in the early days, the dining room attracted local celebrities including the notorious gangster Al Capone. Over the years, movie stars, politicians, presidents and gangsters have dined side-by-side at this famous fish joint by the sea.
If you choose to dine at Joe’s during your trip, know that the wait for a table in the no-reservations dining room can take more than an hour at dinnertime. Uniformed captains serve dinner on white linen cloths but the dress code is fairly casual. While an order of the famous crabs starts in the $25 range and doubles for larger claws, the rest of the menu is far more reasonable. Smart diners arrive closer to 5:30pm to avoid the prime time wait and clever locals usually go to Joe’s only at lunchtime. Stories about a handshake discretely lined with a folded $20 bill for the busy Maître d’ are all true. If you must dine at 7pm in the midst of the maddening crowd, you need to enter this negotiation with the utmost savoir-faire. We still think it’s wiser to dine early or late or simply lunch with ease Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30am-2pm. Otherwise, stop next door and have the helpful folks at the Takeaway counter pack everything you need for a perfect picnic from 7:30 breakfast specials to 9pm suppers. www.joesstonecrab.com
Our next installment is the Ultimate Shopper’s Guide to South Florida.