I spent President’s Day weekend this past January with my boyfriend in Miami Beach, Florida. This was my first time visiting Miami, and the weather was a welcome change from the atrocious amounts of snow we had this winter in D.C. We stayed at Congress Hotel, it was right on the beach next to the Clevelander. The hotel was a small boutique hotel with huge suites including kitchenettes. This was an awesome location and gave us access to the beach and all the bars and clubs along Ocean and Collins.
The hotel also had a rooftop pool with free nightly happy hour. Sadly it was too cold to use the pool in the evenings, but the staff was friendly and generous so we made sure to come back up for the complimentary beverages each night of our stay.
To make use of the kitchenette (why waste one?), we walked to the local Whole Foods which was about a ten minute walk and stocked up on some basics and snacks for our stay. There were also a number of markets around offering some fresh produce and other snacks that seemed to be open most hours, even early morning and late night. As it is a little difficult to find quality vegetarian and vegan choices in Miami, having the kitchenette was a lifesaver.
As is the case in most beach cities, the cuisine is dominated by seafood. I would say the restaurants along Miami Beach are over-priced, as to be expected, and the basic American dishes offered did not meet up to their hefty price tags. When eating out, I often ended up with pasta and marinara sauce, for an average of $20 a plate! One night, after drinking and lacking some judgement, we were lured into one restaurant, La Baguette, where I paid $30 for a dish of penne alla vodka. We later did some online research and found out that this place is a total scam and we were lucky our bill was only $160!
I did have much better luck when it came to breakfast and was able to find an awesome omelet topped with organic spring greens. I got this at the Kent Hotel, which was just minutes walking distance from our hotel. There were a few other breakfast locations, but the ones on the beach seemed to serve overpriced eggs and toast. I would suggest walking a little farther than the beach area to find better dining.
Besides eating, which I had a feeling would be a struggle in Miami Beach, the atmosphere of the city was great. I look forward to going back and finding some better food options in the midst of all the drinking. While you are in Miami, be check out Wet Willies for a sugar overdose in the form of alcoholic “Slurpees” or to the Cleavlander for a happening music scene.