In order to find some of the best South Beach restaurants, you have to journey beyond the glitz and glamour. After all, just because an eatery is hidden in plain sight doesn’t mean that it can’t be buzzing with energy about the flavorful food and unique decor. Locals love to frequent these four lesser-known gems, which serve everything from authentic Haitian fare to hearty subs on crispy French baguettes.
This hole-in-the-wall restaurant evokes the vibe of a tiny seafood shack. When you walk into My Ceviche, you’ll stumble upon a small counter for placing and picking up orders. While this charming locale in the list of South Beach restaurants provides a few seats along the sidewalk, you can also take the grab-and-go route. After all, the beach and park are both within a few blocks away. If you’re in the mood for a Latin American staple, you should try the eatery’s super-fresh ceviche, which is made with wild-caught fish tossed with red onions, cilantro, jalapenos, and tomatoes in a aji amarillo or traditional citrus-based marinade. For a more unique spin on the classic, you can check out the restaurant’s My Ceviche Bowl (ceviche piled atop mixed greens, cilantro, quinoa, or coconut jasmine rice).
As you make your way into this hidden gem, you’ll find yourself surrounded by colorful murals depicting life in Haiti. After taking in the scenery, you can grab a mojito—made with the help of a mortar and pestle—and sit on the porch. Before you know it, the smell of freshly-grilled snapper will lure you inside for an epic Caribbean feast. Upon opening the menu, you’ll find plenty of root vegetables (malanga, yuca, and sweet potato) alongside fresh avocado, okra, watercress, and other plant-based dishes. But Tap Tap’s signature showstopper is the poached whole yellowtail snapper with a scotch bonnet-lime sauce. You may also find yourself drawn to the shrimp in creole sauce or the stewed oxtail.
Indonesian cuisine is a rare find among South Beach restaurants. At this hole-in-the-wall restaurant on the border of South Beach and Mid-Beach, the highly nuanced food is served through the filter of Dutch owners, who introduced their take on the traditional rijsttafel (rice table) service nearly a decade ago. Indomania delivers a variety of dishes that allow you to experience the cuisine’s varied influences—everything from Sumatran to Javanese—in one sitting. When you open up the menu, you’ll find many dishes that feature sweet-and-sour veggies, peanut sauce, spicy protein with intense curry flavors, and addictive snacks like the krupuk udang (deep-fried shrimp or prawn crackers).
When you make your way up to the outdoor counter, you’ll find yourself struggling to choose between a massive croissant and a French baguette for an overstuffed sandwich fit for a busy day or night on the beach. La Sandwicherie is one of South Beach’s most popular hole-in-the-wall haunts and it doesn’t matter what time you decide to visit—it’s always packed! If you keep your eye on the 30-year-old sandwich shop’s open kitchen, you’ll see the speedy staff fly out with tropical smoothies, fresh juices, and cafe au laits. Pro tip: You should definitely smother your sandwich with the eatery’s signature Dijon vinaigrette—and ask for extra cornichons!