by Rick Munarriz - 406 Reviews - 155 List
Downtown South Miami has grown up in recent years. Trying to catch the same lightning in a bottle that defined the Grove in the 1980s, a stroll down Sunset Drive between Red Road and U.S. 1 is enhanced with outdoor cafes, charming boutiques and unpretentious bars. From an Irish pub to a jogger's paradise, here are the top places to grab a memorable meal, a stiff drink or a shopping bag in South Miami.
Updated: January 20, 2010
Cuban restaurants are easy to find in Miami, but this one has a little celebrity appeal given that Gloria and Emilio Estefan have a stake in the business. Beyond the island staples, this tropical eatery also puts its stage to good use with live salsa and Cuban music during the weekend.
Linguine with clams and polenta with mushrooms are just some of the Italian staples served up at this formal eatery. Diners looking for something a little more casual are in luck, since its Blu pizzeria concept is right next door. Both restaurants offer sidewalk seating along the well-traveled Sunset Drive.
On the outside, this Sunset Place venue seems to be little more than an outdoor eatery with a long bar. Inside, it's a whole new world on the other side of the velvet rope. DJs crank out electronica over a decent-sized dance floor under sultry lighting. This is no Rat Pack martini bar, that's for sure.
Wine tastings go high tech at this oenophile hangout. Patrons purchase cards to swipe at self-service, climate-controlled wine dispensers with a clear bias toward reds. Tastings can be as cheap as a buck for one-ounce portions of entry-level wines. There are plenty of cozy chairs to soothe tired feet and swiping wrists.
From a 24-screen AMC theater to three floors of shops and eateries, this outdoor mall is the South Miami people eater. National chains include Forever 21, Hollister, and Lucky Brand Jeans. Entertainment beyond the multiplex can be found at the GameWorks video arcade or the Strike bowling alley.
Novice and seasoned runners know how to jog to this longstanding retailer, specializing in running, walking and cross-training gear. From New Balance running shoes to Teva walking sandals, this is also where folks training from everything for next week's 5k run to next month's full-fledged marathon come together to run in groups around South Miami.
This footwear shop is fluent in more than just Prada and Jimmy Choo. Handbags and matching accessories are also available, but it really all starts at the bottom with the designer shoes like Miu Miu wedges and cute ballet flates.