How South Beach Became a Foodie Destination

Pastries at the Rosetta Bakery  

When you think of Miami Beach specifically South Beach,  the last thing that comes to mind is culinary destination. Nightlife yes, great bodies of course, but a well crafted food scene, that was the biggest surprise as well as the best take away from my recent trip.

South Beach is full of well meaning restaurants pushing fusion cuisine and of course tons of seafood options but in my numerous stays there, I can’t think of a distinguishable dining experience. Thanks to remarkable flight deals- round trip was $100  on American Airlines, I decided that a  get out of New York in January trip was needed and for that price, would you disagree?    Fresh off the flight, we hit Lincoln Road and had a late lunch at Cantinetta, an Italian eatery perfect for people watching. We sipped on  a  rustic California red, scooped the sauce from our mussels with  bread  and devoured  the  rib eye special that was only $20, making  for a very  fine meal for our first night.  We wandered  back to our hotel, the Catalina Hotel and Beach Club,  for its free happy hour  and then we proceeded to be true tourist and hit Ocean Drive- while not hungry, CJ’s Crab Shack was perfect for oysters  and daiquiris,  plus we got to meet the infamous CJ who has a voice made for radio.

Mussels in Red Sauce at Cantinetta

Steak Frites for $20 

 Here in NY, I am an avid bruncher. Since we were in Miami for an extended weekend, and Sunday being our first full day, I heavily researched the best brunch in South Beach and by best I mean bottomless. After cross referencing a few sites I made a reservation at Prime Fish, located in South Pointe.  Pretentious Alert: I don’t think I can ever brunch in New York again.   Besides unlimited  Maniscalo Prosecco, which was pretty flavorful.  not that headache inducing dog water that I’ve become use to in the Big Apple, Prime Fish's brunch is award winning.  A high end buffet with a carving station, serving prime rib, a decadent assortment of desserts in addition to an egg entrĂ©e all for $49. Here’s a tip, even if you’re not a morning person, I suggest you make a reservation, get there by noon, snag a table under the tree and enjoy.

Dessert Buffet at Prime Fish

Prime Fish Brunch Buffet 

Who knew, that a stellar Italian restaurant would be located on Collins Avenue and 17th Street- well Dolce Italian located inside of the Gale Hotel showed out.  What was initially going to be a low frills dinner, due to poor service at a will go unnamed location,  we had to book out of there and head over to Dolce.   A well edited upscale Italian restaurant, Dolce’s sophisticated menu combined traditional ingredients with lighte fare such as  grilled octopus on a bed of faro with  pureed chickpeas but the highlight had to be the lobster ravioli. With a rich cream based sauce, I let the plate linger just to enjoy the sauce.  
Grilled Octopus at Dolce in the Gale Hotel 

Last but not least, for  a light bite before   you hit  the beach, Rosetta Bakery is a must.  If you’re not a fan great quality, flavorful sandwiches or buttery pastry then Rosetta is not the place for you. It is a little pricey but hey you’re on vacay you have to  live a little.
Rosetta Bakery 

Who would have known that an extended weekend trip to Miami Beach would turn out to be a culinary awakening, I’m already packing for my next trip, and planning my meals -stay tuned.