Wherever you go, anywhere you travel to, you will notice that each and every one great cities have a similar trait – they all have that one street where everyone flocks to where everything is right there. The same goes to Miami Beach, don’t disregard the other places as well as they have their attractive traits to, but if there is only one street you can go to, you definitely have to go to the Lincoln Road Mall, where there’s everything you need of South Beach. If you want to enjoy the retro decorations filled with true-blue Miami style neon signs, Ocean Drive is definitely the place you would go to. If you have friends from the South Beach, and you pay them a visit, they would take you to Ocean Drive to enjoy the sights. But if you want a more true and wholesome Miami Beach experience, Lincoln Road mall is your best bet where every shop and diner is there under the steamy Miami sun with a touch of homely fashionable, sexy and Broadway themed style.
Lincoln Road is so popular you see people flock to it 24 hours, 7 days a week. If you fancy the feel in fictional TV series like Friends and Cheers where they hang out in a homely, comfortable place, you should definitely try out the cafes on the sunny sidewalk of Lincoln Mall where everybody knows your name if you are a regular and it is after all a place where the neighborhood hangs out to catch up or hold social gatherings.
If you are new to the cafes there, you might be slightly confused at first as they incorporate an open system which is properly planned where you might need to figure out where one cafe begins and another ends. All you have to do is find an empty table to sit at to join the community as the coffee shop, the gay bar and the sports bar shares customers and tables.
You would see extreme sports enthusiasts such as the skaters and bikers chilling at Lincoln and even newlyweds and brand-new parents with their excited children gather at Euclid Circle to have some fun. Expatriates meet up with their fellow countrymen to talk about all things new in their home soil.
Basically it is the place to be and meet up with everyone else in entire of South Florida.
The Tour Begins
To start of the week with a bang, there’s the Farmer’s Market and The Sunday Antique where everyone would flock to from the excited home cooks, to the morning joggers and the relaxed shoppers who are all hoping to land a great bargain. You might find decent decorating accessories fit for your lawn or balcony, and this is the main attraction of visitors, hoping to get stuff to beautify their own place and fill up their pantries from these weekly markets. If you would like to enjoy homely cooking, without doing any of the cooking, you should go where the crowd of South Beach go to, the Rosinella Cafe. It is so homely and warm that you would feel welcomed and apart of the family as soon as you get in it, and wait until you taste the delicious Italian dishes served and prepared by “Mama” Rosinella Doino herself, from day to her nightly specials. Head right over for a family dinner, or a romantic date, or even whenever you’re hungry, as Rosinella pairs up with the great New World Symphony right next to them.
Van Dyke Cafe, one of the most sought after hot spot could be found at Jefferson Avenue, where they open up early for visitors who would love to get a table during the busy times at the sidewalk cafe, and to sweeten the deal, there are live jazz musical entertainment on every night at the second level.
If you are unfortunate to not score a table, simply head over across of Van Dyke, and there lies Pasha’s, a place serving mouth watery Mediterranean cuisine such as falafels, gyros and other variety of street foods from their open air kitchen. If you are looking for something more hearty and wanting to have a good time with some hearty German beers, head over to Hofbräu München for delicious, robust German food.
Every alternate Sundays from October through May, you will see antique enthusiasts, fashion stylists and intellectual decorators flocking to the Lincoln Road Flea Market as over the years they have uncovered a lot of valuable treasures sold cheaply, underpriced by the merchants there.
Competition to get the best bargain could go crazy as all these aficionado would simply crowd at the antique dealer’s truck and ‘attack’ as soon as they unpack.
It’s a Big Party
There is nowhere else where the atmosphere is like a big, ongoing party all the time when drag queens in their full costumes parade around Lincoln Mall to entertain the visitors, mascots in costumes working up happy diners and posing for photos, as well as costume competitions which are a hit among the crowds. Big family gatherings on popular holidays, or social gatherings and events here and there Everyone is constantly laughing and cheering, snapping photos and having fun – it truly is like a big party.
As soon as October starts, it kick-starts the holiday season officially as the busiest time of the year at Lincoln has to be the weekends before and after Halloween. The weather might be hot with the sun scorching, but the holiday spirit is kept alive with the sparkles of lights decorating trees everywhere. Places like chain stores, boutiques and art galleries will always hold some kind of quirky holiday promotions that would keep the customers coming.
Lincoln is full of crowd too during New Year’s Eve where adults and teenagers finds a spot to celebrate the fireworks. There’s always something up when you are at Lincoln Mall.
No matter what activities you have in your mind, whether you want to have a nice and warm family dinner, or to have that romantic dinner dates, to having a quick lunch or to fill your tummy before a movie, there’s always a great line of choice for you to choose from, all the way from the Bayside up to the Seaside along Lincoln Road. Keep in mind that you cannot bring vehicle pass beyond Washington Avenue to Alton Road, so if you want to find that perfect spot, you need to be ready to do a little walking.
Have the best empanada pocket pastries from the ever popular Argentinean bakery called the Panizza Cafe located one block west of Alton Road at West Avenue. Right next to it is for seafood savvy visitors called the Altamar Seafood Restaurant. You should be thankful that most of Lincoln Road are closed to cars, as even if you drive in you might be stuck in the traffic of humans shopping and gathering at the residential district.
For visitors who prefer quiet atmosphere, they should head over to the west of Lincoln Mall, where you could find a hotel that is all about relaxation and serenity, called The Standard Spa. They also provide transportation if you’re too lazy to walk to Lincoln Mall, and even a ride to other popular South Beach destinations.
Guests would vouch that the West side of town has a totally different atmosphere compared to those at Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue.
Feel like having a pizza before catching a movie at Lincoln Road? Head over to Piola Pizza right under the Lincoln Road marquee for the movie theater. Their pizzas are baked with a wood burning oven and you will enjoy their thin crusts pizzas. Don’t have much time before a film? Opt for the fresh sandwiches from Panfiore Sandwich Shop where you could grab a quick bite when you are having time restraints.
If you feel like having a sandwich but making it on your own, head North of the Cinema and you will find Epicure, where you are able to buy for all things picnic. Ranging from ready to eat sandwiches, or you could try out the take out entrees, fresh juices squeezed right in front of you or delicious gourmet treat, they offer all your needs for an upscale picnic lunch where you’re able to get freshly out of the oven cakes and pastries as well as fresh goods and a good bottle of wine.
Enjoy the deliciously served panini sandwiches with espressos as well as creative giant cocktails in the open air cafe called the Segafredo Espresso located at the western edge of the mall. They are always full with customers and it is easy to spot as they are uniquely spread around a mosaic fountain right in front of the Cameo Theater on Lenox Avenue.
Located right in the middle of the Pottery Barn, the dancing waters and the recently refurbished theater, is the perfect location to meet up with friends any time of the day before a movie. You might think it is safe to just put on something for a short shop at Lincoln Road, but think again as you might want to look your best going there, flooded with big name celebrities, young and stunning models as well as suave European playboys alongside with family members, kids and even pets.
If you are a fan of European soccer (or football, as that’s what they call them), head over to Finnegan’s Two at the intersection of Lincoln and Michigan during the day with this savvy sports bar. During the nights, rock music enthusiasts flock here to be entertained by live rock musicians. For that classic bar feel, they put up the name of the band performing at night and the prices of drinks during happy hour written on a chalkboard.
You might expect the clubs at Lincoln Mall to have the strict velvet rope policy, but unlike the popular clubs in South Beach, but they actually don’t.
A walk slightly south on Michigan is the popular Frieze Ice Cream Factory where they would fulfill your deepest ice cream fantasy as they are able to scoop up any mix of flavor you want to making it an instant favorite. The Ice Box Cafe might hold a name that makes you imagine of ice cream, but it is not an ice cream store. It is one of the most popular bakeries, especially after they received a nod from Oprah Winfrey, claiming in to serve the best cakes in America.
What’s more fun for a family gathering or even out with your friends to have lunch while trying your luck striking down pins at the bowling alley? Definitely a favorite spot on afternoons, rainy afternoons especially when the sidewalk cafes are slow, visitors flock to the Lucky Strikes Lanes to have lunch and enjoy games of bowling.
You can enjoy the family atmosphere and play bowling until 9pm, where it turns to a chic nightlife spot to those over 21 after the 9pm mark where videos, music, parties and cocktails storm up the party at the Lucky Strikes Lane.
Dining on a Budget
While most of the eateries in South Beach charges a bomb for dining, some folks have problem finding a good place to eat with a budget. If you are under a budget, then Balans Restaurant is definitely for you, and his loyal customers and locals who flock to this restaurant would definitely vouch after them.
Balans Restaurant offers discounts of $2 for breakfasts on weekdays, dinner entrees and never to forget happy hour. Opt for their egg benedict for breakfast, or go for the popular Tiramisu and Spris that are sold on a discount before 7.30pm, and they even offer discount on wine on early evenings.
For bargain hunters, Zeke’s Roadhouse is a popular destination in Lincoln Mall, especially when they carry beers for just $3. There’s not much on the menu but they offer enough seating on the busy sidewalk cafe of Lincoln Mall, and because of these bargains, Zeke’s Roadhouse attracts young families, spring breakers and young adults who wants to socialize in Lincoln Mall without having to spend a fortune on dining.
Fancy reading books while having a hearty meal? Head over to Books & Books where unlike any other bookseller stores nationwide that offers coffee bar, Miami’s Books & Books boasts a full menu and eatery at their place. It is not a surprise that most people actually visit and go to Books & Books only for the food, and not to visit the best seller shelves.
If you want to dine at the tables lining the atrium, you better be fast to reserve a spot as competition for seats could be pretty fierce. This is mainly because of the BASE boutique, the bookstore, Design Within Reach and the brand new stunning BASE Annex which pulls in all the big names of the Miami design scene.
All Kinds of Savory Delights
Lined up at the busy intersection on Lincoln Road are popular stores that should be on your ‘must visit’ list. And the best part is they are all nearby each other from the legendary Starbucks to the ever popular Tropical Cigar Bar, the family Italian restaurant da Leo Trattoria, and the chocolate heaven Ghirardelli as well as the tiny sandwich shop called Paninoteca that could be easily missed, but definitely should not as they serve mean pressed paninis and gourmet salads.
If you haven’t noticed yet, South Beach features a full range of Italian cuisine more than any other kinds of cuisine. There are typically the three kinds of Italian restaurant, and they are the simple pasta and pizza eateries like Spris, Rosinella, Pizza Rustica and Piola. Then there are the upscale Italian restaurants like da Leo Trattoria and Locanda Sibilla, followed by the priciest of them all, high-end restaurant called the Piedmontese Quattro Gastronomia Italiana.
The Quattro is definitely top dollar, top notch quality, be sure you can afford them before you dine at them, and make your reservations early.
Head over to David’s Cafe II located north of the mall on Meridian to try out their delicious Cuban dishes. Not only they serve good food, but what makes them different is the 24/7 great service that would definitely satisfy you and the unbelievably low prices on the menu. Any time of the day, David’s would be a good place to get your quick fix of appetite.
Right across of David’s is Miss Yip, one of the popular destinations of locals for lunch and dinner. Local workers all around Lincoln Mall would take an early lunch break just to take advantage of the $10 lunch specials and later on crowd at the tropical lounge area for drinks during the Happy Hour.
You definitely need to try out the dim sum which is on the menu until midnight, and later on you could move up to the second level to part at the Buck 15 lounge late night.
In the center of Miami Beach’s high-end shopping district and the center of the Cool Hotels, clubs, theaters, and outdoor cafes on Lincoln Road which stretches from Biscayne Bay to the Atlantic. It doesn’t matter if you are a resident, a snowbird here for the season, or a vacationer, Lincoln Road/The Traveler’s Guide is a must have for anyone wanting to make the scene.
The outdoor cafes are one of the high points of being on the South Beach. Whether you go for a relaxed breakfast to sit with your best friend and read the paper while eating breakfast or to people watch along the beach during lunch or dinner. The outdoor cafes are certainly a relaxing part of South Beach.
1. The beautiful shrubs and potted plants gives Balans a serene atmosphere. Their exotic salads are a concocted to perfection are one of my favorites. I particularly like the Mile High Lobster Sandwich and the Pumpkin Ravioli. The place is packed to the rafters in the evenings when people come to celebrate with a bottle and a light supper. My husband and I agree that this is one of the best outdoor cafes in South Beach.
There are discounts available at certain times, so be sure to check with your waiter before ordering.
2. Nexxt Café is always jammed packed with customers. My husband and I ordered a salad and a seafood plate. The waitress told us we probably ordered too much food. She was right, the portions are huge and the food is extremely good. Some of our friends said that the menu was very similar to the Cheesecake Factory.
3. If you are going to Van Dyke Café then the time to go is in the evening where world renowned jazz musicians perform every night of the week. For a nominal fee my husband and I were able to sit in on a jazz session and still had full access to the restaurant and drink menu.
4. For Italian food one of the best places to go is da leo Trattoria is great for pizzas and pastas, however, we discovered that the salads are just not worth the money. They serve some fine Italian beers. While they have one of the largest outdoor dining areas on Lincoln Road, the indoor restaurant is tiny, don’t even try to go in there.
5. Quattro Gastronomia Italiana is a beautiful authentic Italian restaurant that will seat a total of one hundred sixty patrons; eighty inside and eighty outside on the patio. The chefs are twins from Northern Italy cooking for the first time in the United States. The quality of the ingredients was high, but, the flavor of some of the dishes we tried was a bit bland. The menu was a little bit overpriced, and the wait staff seemed snooty.
The next time you go to South Beach I hope you will enjoy the outdoor cafés along Lincoln Road. Don’t forget to take your Lincoln Road/The Traveler’s Guide with you so you don’t miss anything on this fantastic street. And now? Now we go ahead!
A Little Asian Flavor
If you like Asian Food, fret not, there are plenty of good ones in Lincoln Mall, ranging from Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Asian Fusion. Sushi Samba Dromo is an Asian Fusion themed restaurant which mixes Japanese and Brazilian style cooking, and past after hours it becomes a hip nightclub. Doraku is a popular spot every weeknights for its happy hour, while Sushi Siam mixes the art of Thai and Japanese cuisine and they are done deliciously well.
World Resources Cafe is a more all in one kind of restaurant at the sidewalk cafe on the mall which has a large menu covering plenty of Asian delights from Indian to Japanese to Thai cuisine. Miss Yip is one of the more popular Hong Kong style Chinese restaurant and Yummy Chinese offers delightful Chinese and Japanese cuisine, and not to forget that they offer free home delivers for the entire of South Beach.
For the Kids
You might be attracted to that little green isle of grass where you could spot kids and pets which are surrounded by multiple decent cafes and ice cream shops, then you are looking at Euclid Circle. Up on the line to serve the chirpy crowd in Euclid Square is the Italian store, Gelateria Parmalat which serves deliciously flavored gelato to kids and adults alike.
Nexxt Cafe offers tables with shades for visitors enjoying fun in the sun, and they are popular for serving huge portions of breakfasts, towering sandwiches and large main plates which could be enough to share among family members. If you hunger for a good baked pie or pizza, Pizza Rustica would satisfy your cravings, and if you feel like having burgers with your brood with a nice family atmosphere, Johnny Rockets is the place to be with its unique 50’s style theme.
HEAR this up!
Music fans all rejoice with the opening of the first concept store HEAR Music by Starbucks at the Pennsylvania Avenue. Enjoy eating up deliciously served cakes and lattes as you blast your favorite music from one of the video listening stations. You could even get a modern mix tape (more like CD) as a souvenir by saving the songs you like on a programmable magnetized card, and later getting the baristas to burn for you on a CD for you to bring back from your vacation.
There might be plenty of Starbucks all over South Beach, but the HEAR music outlet is definitely the most popular amongst all.
South of the Border Experience
El Rancho Grande lies just south of the mall, and this is the place to head to if you are looking for a true-blue south of the border experience, as they are one of the eatery that would give you the best experience you need from this friendly Tex-Mex eatery. Savor on mouth watery South Beach delight classics such as the tacos, burritos, chips, spicy salsa, margarita and the best part is they are all inexpensive.
Dining and Dancing
Head to a place that is active every night of the week such as the Lincoln Road Supper Club Scene. All you need to do is call them and reserve a table to enjoy the dining and dancing experience. Sushi Samba Dromo is a good place to have a dance after dinner, and they even have a sexy, popular cosplay night every Tuesday where customers come in costumes.
Cosplay is a Japanese culture of dressing up like a popular anime, manga and pop culture character, so head to Sushi Damba Dromo and you might just win the prize for best dressed as you enjoy to the beats of the DJs, Taiko drummers and sexy geisha girls.
Enjoy haute cuisine with the mix of a high end nightclub environment at the inner reaches of Santo. Look forward to their night parties every Wednesday nights which are always done off-the-radar.
These are not just local entertainment as Santo always rounds up popular late night DJs, mainstream house bands and even Grammy Award Winning celebrities who come to entertain unannounced, as well as appearances of pro athletes. They however have the velvet ropes policy, and you’d be lucky to make it in.
The Lincoln Road sidewalks by the Washington Avenue might seem like a normal looking place to chill by day, but it becomes a popular nightspot after hours.
Visitors always enjoy the true blue South Beach dance experience, which is why the Yuca Restaurant attracts diners. At first glance it may seem that everyone is there for the delicious Cuban cuisine, as the first floor is elegantly decorated with twinkles and candlelight with crystals all over.
Move up to the second floor on a Friday night, and you’ll get to watch new and improving salsa dancers. Visitors will be thought with traditional Cuban dance moves such as the salsa by the friendly hosts from salsamia.com and when you are all ready, you can hit the high energy dance floor at the Salsa Party of Fridays and Sundays.
After hours, when you are done dancing, join the rest of the crowd as they flock to D’Vine Hookah Lounge where they would enjoy the samples from the fragrant water taps as well as delightful Mediterranean tapas.
For the ultimate South Beach Experience, Lincoln Road have it all. Whatever your vacation needs are you can always customize your experience here, might it be a cup of energizing coffee in the morning, to a scrumptious lunch, or a romantic dinner in the nights away from the hot sun of Miami, there is always somewhere you can go to in Lincoln Mall.
Entertainment, Food and Fun, all packed in one place for your convenience for the ultimate South Beach Experience, right here at Lincoln Mall.