Cafe Society: Sidewalk Cafes of South Beach
Balans Cafe on Lincoln Road
1022 Lincoln Road / (305) 534-9191
Balans is the quintessential South Beach cafe. Complete with
sunny-colored oversized umbrellas to protect patrons from the Miami
Beach sun, this great little establishment is just the place for brunch
or a light dinner and some serious people watching South Beach style
(while sipping a cocktail or non-fat latte, of course).
in the heart of Lincoln Road, inside this beautifully renovated classic
deco building features a grand (though small) staircase reminiscent of
the 1940s and a bar that invites you to have a seat as soon as you walk
in the door.
The diverse and creative menu is very reasonably priced and features
popular items like the Lobster Club and Thai Salad. Portions are very
moderately sized and the prices fit accordingly. When asked if they had
skim milk for a latte, the waiter replied, "That's all we have." Ah, the
joys of living on South Beach.
News Cafe /
800 Ocean Drive / (305) 774-6397
24-hour cafe is a South Beach staple. Serving thousands since 1988,
almost anyone who visits the beach stops in for a bite to eat or to do a
little shopping in the News store which carries logo clothing and
accessories, newspapers, magazines, cards, CDs and cigars.
News Cafe on Ocean Drive
The cafe has a very lived in feeling about it, which
isn't at all surprising seeing how this joint is always hopping. And
just like the "common folk," celebs love this place too, so don't be
surprised if you see a few well-known faces hanging around. One of the
great things about News Cafe is that breakfast is served all day,
everyday (because most people on the beach don't surface until after
The extensive menu also features Middle Eastern
dishes, chocolate fondue with champagne and strawberries, specialty
coffee and cappuccino drinks-just to name a few. So when in doubt,
remember News Cafe is always your best bet.
Nexxt Cafe /
700 Lincoln Road / (305) 532-6643
far the largest and busiest outdoor cafe in South Beach, locals love
Nexxt Cafe because of its convenient location and never-ending menu.
With 7 pages filled with smoothies, frozen alcoholic drinks and
specialty drinks galore (not to mention the other 17 pages of food
selections), it's no wonder tables are such a rare commodity—people
don't want to leave.
Nexxt Cafe on Lincoln Road
Portions are huge and entrées are very affordable
ranging from about $8 - $25. The atmosphere is very casual and people
love to show off their pooches while they sit back, relax and take in
Nexxt cafe is a must on Sundays because of the
open-air farmer's market on Lincoln Road, which contributes to the
constant flow of pedestrian traffic (which is far more entertaining than
anything on TV). However, with this kind of congestion don't expect
Nexxt to be the place you stop in and grab a quick bite. Sit down, take
a load off and enjoy one of their monstrous salads or tasty sandwiches.
Cafe Cardozo / 300 Ocean Drive / (305) 695-2800
for its distinctive architecture and ocean liner-inspired aspects, the
Cardozo Hotel (owned by Emilio and Gloria Estefan) has been the backdrop
for many movies over the years such as "A Hole in the Head" (Frank
Sinatra) and "Something About Mary" (Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller).
A visit to the Cafe Cardozo wouldn't be complete
without a glass of wine from their extensive list, or better yet, an
authentic mojito (the Cuban version of the mint julep). Guests can enjoy
both indoor and outdoor seating-both equally fabulous. The fair is
described as "American cuisine with a European influence and a Latin
twist," the setting is welcoming and comfortable and if you are lucky
there may even be some celebrities taking in the sites or enjoying a
casual outdoor lunch-just like something you would see in the movies.
1040 Lincoln Road / (305) 673-0047
is the ultimate place to see and be seen on Lincoln Road. Attached to
the historic Colony theater, this inviting and fun cafe is filled with
mismatched chairs, loveseats, couches and tables that make for a great
place to hang out with friends and sip an expresso or glass of wine. The
Italian cafe has a decidedly European feel about it and the staff is
very friendly with their heavy accents and helpful suggestions.
Segafredo on Lincoln Road
Unlike a lot of places on the beach, there are no
low-fat menu choices or skim milk at Segafredo, but you will find a
tasty selection of carpaccio, panini and oh-so-bad for you, but
too-good-to-pass-up desserts. The coffee drinks are delightfully
sinful-especially the Venezia (expresso, Drambuie and vanilla ice
cream)-and if you prefer non-alcoholic drinks try 'te alla pesca' (peach
ice tea for those who don't speak Italian), you'll be glad you did.
Terrace at the Tides /
1220 Ocean Drive / (305) 604-5130
If chic is what
you are looking for in an outdoor cafe look no farther, the Terrace at
the Tides on Ocean Drive is the place for you. This open-air multi-level
dining area is complete with starched and pressed waiters and place
settings that would make your grandmother proud.
Terrace at the Tides
Like many of the trendier restaurants in South
Beach, the menu is small, but extremely impressive. Menu items by
Executive Chef Roger Ruch that should not be passed up include Crispy
Crab & Brie Spring Rolls, the Maine Lobster Salad and Seared Tuna Tataki.
And while this really isn't the place you stop into after a long day at
the beach, it is the place you want to come back to after you've
showered and changed. It's the ideal spot to go to enjoy a nice sunset
Van Dyke Cafe /
846 Lincoln Road / (305) 534-3600
the ground level of the historic seven-story Van Dyke hotel, the Van
Dyke cafe is one of the busiest mainstays on Lincoln Road. Under the
same ownership as the News Cafe on Ocean Drive, one can expect a menu
that is similar-huge and full of delicious selections. Definitely a
place everyone can find something they will love.
Van Dyke Cafe on Lincoln Road
The cafe offers wrap-around outdoor seating and
canopies to protect diners from spontaneous summer showers. Not to worry
though, if you do decide to dine inside there are plenty of doors
propped open to let the fresh air in and circular fans to keep things
cool, giving the indoor cafe a very outdoorsy feeling. The décor is
quite charming with its dark wood bar, hardwood floors and red accents.
Many cafe in South Beach come and go each season, but the Van Dyke cafe
is one that here to stay for a many, many seasons to come.