Sunset Harbour, Miami Beach’s New Home to Great Food
Move over Lincoln Road, Sunset Harbour is South Beach's New Hotspot
This is what happens when the rent is too damn high.
Thanks to jacked up rents, Lincoln Road is an Auntie Emm’s Pretzels shy of becoming every mall in the world, without the perks of air conditioning. The only stores that seem to stay in business are ones with locations in 1400 other cities and “I’m in Miami Bitch” T-shirt emporiums.
But as the Road falls into chain-fueled decay, a little strip on the northwest part of the island has become the new go-to location for any worthwhile new business. Sunset Harbour, once only a part of South Beach you went to to buy groceries or retrieve your recently-towed car is now home of the coolest and best new restaurants in Miami.
Here, we’ll take a look at some of the cool spots you can check out in this hidden block of deliciousness in northwestern South Beach.
Before it came to South Beach, Lucali was the hottest pizza joint in Brooklyn with its 20-inch thin crust pies and underground feel. And whether or not you think Lucali is worth the hype, it’s hard to argue with their fresh pies cooked crispy in a brick over. They’ve only got 7 toppings, including beef pepperoni, so menus aren’t really necessary. And they put an entire basil plant on every pizza for extra flavor. The beer, wine and cocktail selection is good, but for more of that you can sneak behind a wooden door on the side to….
The 1930 Social Club
930 Bay Rd., 305-695-4441
The Lucali folks have recreated a prohibition-era social club with craft beers and low-production wines in a low-lit space that makes you really believe nobody knows you’re there. You can watch black and white silent movies on the 80-inch screen, or play original versions of games like backgammon, Battleship and Connect Four. It’s also rentable for private parties, or just drop in at night for a relaxed drink.
1884 Bay Rd.,305.397.8442
For locals, there was no better place for a big Mexican dinner – or even just a big Mexican margarita – than El Rancho Grande on Lincoln Road. But after 18 years even the perpetually-packed El Rancho had to close its doors when rents skyrocketed. Now they’re back with a new name (legal stuff), right next to Lucali, and an improved menu with over 50 tequilas and the same delicious margaritas that caused more “sick” days than the NCAA Tournament.
The Pub Belly franchise has become the anchor of Sunset Harbour. The original was a seafood-heavy Asian fusion and craft beer spot that was full every night of the week. So they opened Pub Belly sushi next door, that’s now mentioned along with Toni’s Sushi by locals as the best in Miami Beach. Pub Belly Steak came in late 2012, and quickly became the most oft-recommended South Beach steakhouse when visitors ask “What’s a good place that won’t make me wait an hour after my reservation time?” If you’re in Miami for a weekend, you can’t go wrong eating at a different Pub Belly every night.
1855 Purdy Ave., (305) 538-8448
The spot locals often cited as their favorite for dessert in South Beach also couldn’t keep up with Lincoln Road’s astronomical rents, and so they’re calling Sunset Harbour home now too. While they boast a full dinner menu with stuff like wasabi crusted salmon, chicken curry and flat iron steak, what they’re known for are their desserts. So you can skip it wherever else you opt to eat and stop in at Icebox for raspberry chocolate mousse, deep dish Key Lime pie, dulce de leche cake or one of their famous chocolate chip cookies.
1766 Bay Rd., (305) 672-3287
This gourmet burger and craft beer spot is now the oldest gourmet burger place in the Beach. They’ve got all kinds of crazy combinations you can have on top of their half-pound Certified Angus parries. Or you can create your own with toppings like pork belly bacon, gulf shrimp, foie gras and black truffle oil. And the duck fat fries ain’t too bad either. They’ve also got 69 beers in a bottle and 15 on draft.
Sardinia - This gourmet coastal Italian restaurant has lots of outdoor seating and a massive small plates menu in addition to some of the more impressive pasta choices in the city.
Purdy Lounge – This bar has been around forever and is a local favorite. So much so they’re probably going to call and complain that we’re even mentioning it on the site. But a great place to go if you just want to have a drink and not deal with South Beach BS.
Barceloneta – Like it sounds, a great option for seafood and tapas. And sangria.
Fresh Market – Their first Miami location is in South Beach, and a good place for a quick, relatively-healthy lunch.
Publix – Yeah, it’s a grocery store. Not that exciting. Except it looks like a giant glass boat and has escalators for your shopping cart!
IF YOU GO…….
So now you see all the awesome stuff at Sunset Harbour, you wanna make it part of your next trip to South Beach, right? Well, it’s not the easiest place to find. You’ll have to head west on 17th street, cross the canal after West Avenue, and turn right onto Purdy Ave. Get to the end, and that’s about where it starts.
If you’re going to park, the City garage at 1900 Bay Drive is $1 an hour. Street spots, which are surprisingly easy to get, are $1.75/hr. You do the math.
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