New York Times' 36 Hours in South Beach: Take it With a Grain of Salt

Categories: Travel Hog

brokenshakerpool.jpg
There's life outside Ocean Drive for tourists to explore.
From time to time, Short Order writers share their travel experiences. We've blogged about our meals in New York, fruit carvings in Singapore, and a coffee plantation in Jamaica.

Travel writing is interesting because it's so subjective. In a long weekend visit, a writer can't possibly find all the perfect spots to visit, and woe is the reporter who gets wooed into recommendations by PR firms, a hotel concierge, or the local tourism bureau.

That's why an article such as the New York Times' recent "36 Hours in South Beach" has to be taken with a grain of salt.

Assuming even that in a 36-hour period, most people won't venture out of South Beach (so let's not even talk about a cab to midtown or Wynwood), the piece still misses most highlights of SoBe and never really delves into why the restaurants and bars listed make good choices.

Restaurants featured in the article are Yuca and Altamare as "refined" choices on Lincoln Road and SushiSamba for "outdoor gawking" and Juvia for its "showstopping" view. While all these restaurants are serviceable choices for Lincoln Road dining, the real misses are off SoBe's pedestrian mall.

There, the writer recommends margaritas and chips at Oh! Mexico on Española Way, breakfast at News Café, where it's even acknowledged that the restaurant's "halcyon days are gone, but the tables still fill up with tourists and a smattering of locals thanks to the reasonably affordable prices." If a restaurant is getting by because of its past reputation, that's a lazy choice for inclusion in an article. Why not research a more interesting place to grab a bite, such as Panther Coffee for its crafted coffees or Las Olas Café as a cheap and authentically local place for café con leche and breakfast?

Even bigger sins are committed when it's recommended that the best options for lunch are either Hyde Beach at the SLS for $20 burgers or picking up food at the Art Deco supermarket. No mention of grabbing some fried chicken tacos at Huahua's or a smoked salmon sandwich at La Sandwicherie to eat on the sand or taking a break from worshiping the sun to grab lunch at Restaurant Michael Schwartz or Pubbelly Sushi.

Speaking of Pubbelly: Also missing from a list of things to do on a 36-hour visit to South Beach is dinner at any of the Pubbelly restaurants for casual, inventive cuisine off the tourist strip, weekend brunch at Tongue & Cheek for Florida shrimp 'n' grits and a bloody mary, and cocktails at Regent Cocktail Club or the Broken Shaker. (Yes, we know it's not technically in SoBe, but it's worth the six-buck cab ride.) That's what I would suggest as an itinerary for anyone visiting South Beach this winter.

So, New York Times, we suggest the next time you're in South Beach, ask a local where to go before you settle on giant margaritas with Coronas floating in them.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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Location Info

Venue

Map

Juvia

1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

SushiSamba Dromo

600 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL

Category: Music

Yuca

501 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL

Category: Music

Oh Mexico Restaurant

1440 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

La Sandwicherie

229 14th St., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

Huahua's Taqueria

1211 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

Pubbelly Sushi

1424 20th St., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

The Regent Cocktail Club

1690 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Music

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18 comments
frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

................................otherwise in 1939 the THONG was declared a necessity by the MAYOR so that the dancers performing would NOT be TOTALLY nude

(that MAYOR was Fiorello LaGuardia as he opened the 1939 New York World's Fair )

in 1939 SOUTH BEACH was merely a desolated deserted mosquito riddled unaccessible sand dune WHEN all NYers were first introduced to the THONG

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.................................in conclusion DO YOU REALLY think NYers come to SOBE for the food ?

manhattan has eight of the top ten italian restaurants IN THE WORLD including italy

the NYC area has MORE chinese restaurants than CHINA

the UN brings diplomats from 186 countries who eat at NYC restaurants that prepare their home-country food better than it is prepared in their home country

do you guys really think NYers come here to E A T ?

the only use a NYer has for a slice of pizza down here is as a bookmark

TAMPA even has better (and the original) cuban sandwiches than MIAMI

actually if the FOOD in SOBE didn't suck most NYers would stay LONGER THAN 36 hours - a NYer can only go without REAL FOOD for a day and a half ! (that is why the article limits the trip to 36 hours)

Nick Moss
Nick Moss

They should've asked the Miami New Times for a tour! Would be pretty interesting.

MiamiBeachCrack
MiamiBeachCrack

Miami Beach and New York are rats nest sister cities.  New Yorkers will always be comforted by traffic, noise, crime and bad service. 

sccuartas1
sccuartas1

which restaurant is the one in the picture?


Daniela Boettcher
Daniela Boettcher

Absolutely agree with your article and alternative SoBe spots that the NYT could have highlighted.

gwagen55
gwagen55

every year it's the same garbage choices...it's like they aren't even taking the trip or they're asking the unhip concierge at your cookie-cutter ocean drive hotel. 

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..............i think what is missing as an OBSERVATION is the NYTs article written is for busy traveling NYers who just want to get away for a day and a half (not meant to be an expansive all encompassing critique (there is NO mention of Joes stone crab ?)

if you regularly follow this NYTs travel guide segment it is all about quick getaways - typically within three to four hours air travel time to and from NY - and typically all costs included at about $1,000 to $1,200 for two

it is NOT meant to be a blood-hound nosed guide to sniffing out every last event du jour or eatery or entertainment and show available or "must see" items - just the basics and general layout of the immediate area = period

Miami New Times
Miami New Times

Stefanie, for the average tourist, sure. However, if you're a journalist looking to set yourself apart and actually do some research, no. That's called being lazy.

Stefanie Bentes
Stefanie Bentes

It would be natural to assume that a PR firm, a hotel concierge, and the local tourism bureau would recommend the best of SoBe.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.........................REMEMBER THE ARTICLE IS MEANT for NYers.......who are by and large the most exposed culturally and one of the most affluent and educated groups in general and quite aware of HOW TO travel

to BEGIN with NY is home to the UN (which means 186 countries and their legions of diplomats and representatives are DAILY served their home nationality foods and beverages at various specialty restaurants throughtout manhattan and surrounding area (ie on fifth street alone there are SEVEN indian restaurants !)

AS FOR availability, HUNTs POINT market in the BRONX is a trans-shipment point for MUCH of the countries specialty foods and open to the public

and OF COURSE for entertainment NY is the home of BROADWAY,  as well as, world-class shopping and world-recognized museums and a world of arts .......and so on including some of the most expensive hotels and related amenities in the world

and NYers can AFFORD discresionary spending including TRAVEL who know and rely on their own research = period

murdermysterymiami
murdermysterymiami

You would think....but sometimes they just recommend their clients...

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