On a white tablecloth, bright red slices of tuna steal glances from everyone in the vicinity before a plate of king crab legs arrives to take over the show. Kone takes its culinary inspiration from the food of the Japanese immigrant community in Rio de Janeiro, resulting a seafood-driven menu that fuses colors, flavors, and ingredients from distant points of the globe. A typical meal here might open with lobster tempura maki or Gulf oysters served fresh on the half-shell. But it's hard to ignore the lengthy list of housemade pastas, from classic lasagna to gnocchi bolognese. As they dine on the open-air patio, diners mingle over mojitos and wine, taking in the surrounding ambiance of Espanola Way's palm-lined streets, the restaurant's charming cafe-style facade, and the distant wail of jealous seagulls.
Beachfront dining and an expansive assortment of culinary delights create a commodious yet casual atmosphere as Nikki Beach sates eclectic appetites with a menu of fresh sushi, pizza, steaks, and more. An array of raw seafood, caviar, and succulent appetizer selections such as cornmeal-crusted calamari ($15) complement cocktails and sun-worshiping sessions, and gourmet pizzas created by Italian dough-diviner Enrico Sautto, such as the rocket and rocchetta pizza bubbling with rocchetta cheese and prosciutto crudo beneath fresh arugula, olive oil, and shaved parmesan ($16), satisfy followers of the latest circular-food diet craze.
The historic Plaza de España in the heart of South Beach may be a slightly trendier spot now than it once was, but Flame Caffe & Grill combines the area's modern allure with the neighborhood's inviting past. According to Miami New Times, the eatery "brings casual elegance reminiscent of the old days of Lincoln Road when little cafés that peppered the sidewalk were places to chill with friends." Although local, wild-caught seafood may be the star on the menu, these fresh catches appear in dishes that draw inspiration from cuisines throughout the world. New Orleans–style seafood gumbo and smoked Kansas-style barbecue ribs demonstrate the chefs' commitment to familiar American classics. The rest of the menu includes options with international roots, such as salmon ceviche and pan-seared yellowfin-tuna steak with ginger-soy glaze and wasabi mashed potatoes. The dining room's concrete floors and stark-white chairs embrace an industrial-chic aesthetic befitting the neighborhood's trendy vibe. However, Flame Caffe & Grill's outdoor section gives guests the timeless indulgence of alfresco dining beneath a canopy of leafy green plants, sun umbrellas, and awnings.
In addition to saying AltaMare has “the freshest fish in town,” South Beach Magazine, praised owner Claudio Gordano for creating a “menu that showcases the best catches from local fishing boats intermingled with classic Italian dishes.” Diners can watch every step of the preparation process, thanks to the restaurant’s open kitchen, where chefs batter local yellow-eye snapper and blanket it with cucumber crème fraîche, or lightly sear wahoo before plating it with baby artichokes and arugula.
Not to be outdone by the entrees, many of the desserts are creative takes on classic dishes: a “ceviche” swaps seafood for a mélange of tropical fruits swimming in citrus dressing, and the deconstructed tiramisu combines mascarpone mousse, ladyfingers, and shots of espresso and Bailey’s.
When sitting on the umbrella-shaded patio of CJ's Crab Shack, it is easy to get lost in the beach scene. Situated across the street from Lummus Park and a hop, skip, and a tumble from the ocean, the patio is a great place to relax with a frozen drink and one of the house's signature surf 'n' turf meals. Dishes include juicy steaks with shrimp tossed in garlic or Cajun sauce or glistening snow-crab legs.