South Beach


Cafe Society: Sidewalk Cafes of South Beach

by / August 7, 2011

Balans Cafe on Lincoln Road Miami Beach

Balans Cafe on Lincoln Road

Balans / 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).

Ideally situated 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
This 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

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 noon, anyway).

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
By 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

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 the sites.

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
Known 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.

Segafredo / 1040 Lincoln Road / (305) 673-0047
Segafredo 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

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 on Ocean Drive

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 dinner.

Van Dyke Cafe / 846 Lincoln Road / (305) 534-3600
Located on 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

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.

Restaurants by Cuisine
11th Street Diner
Bistro One
Barton G
J&G Grill
Rusty Pelican
The Dutch
Tudor House

Baires Grill

Big Pink
Front Porch Cafe
Jerry's Famous
News Cafe
Nexxt Cafe
Serendipity 3
Van Dyke

Philippe Miami

Puerto Sagua

A la Folie
La Brioche Doree


Bâoli Miami
La Côte
Sultan Kabob
Villa Azur


Caffe Milano
Casa Tua
da Leo Trattoria
Hosteria Romana
Osteria del Teatro
Pelican Cafe
Pizza Rustica
Prime Italian
Sardinia Enoteca

Toni's Japanese

Lolita Cocina
Lucy's Cantina Royale

De Rodriguez Cuba

China Grill
Lantao Kitchen
The Setai Hotel

A Fish Called Avalon
Grill Fish
Joe's Stone Crab
La Marea

Yardbird Southern Table

1500 Degrees
BLT Steak
Edge Steak
FB Steakhouse
Fogo de Chao
The Forge
Kane (Closed)
Meat Market
Prime 112
Smith & Wollensky
STK Miami
Texas De Brazil

Bar Tanaka
Blade Sushi
Blue Sea
Bond St
Katsuya by Starck
Shoji Sushi
Sushi Rock Cafe
Sushi Siam

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