At the Shore Club in south beach for a week
We shared a hot antipasto for 2 at the bar at Fanucci's (one block west of Lincoln Mall - just west of AltaMar) and had a few drinks before a movie. 10 clams oreganato, 2 large, ricotta-filled eggplant rollatini and a pile of fried calamari - served with a side car of thick marinara... mmmmmmmm!
Definitely a great place for a solo diner at the very friendly bar...
There's a really cool place on the South side of Lincoln road, about mid-wat down, and it's called Cafeteria, I think. It does really great delicious interpretations of cafeteria classics and it's one of my favorite inexpensive places on South Beach. Try like a tossed salad and their macaroni and cheese. It'll set you back maybe $11 and you'll have an awesome meal. You can be totally comfortable there eating alone at the bar too.
jlix - you've got tons of great suggestions. One thing about Le Bon, they changed the special to be $9.95 for 1/2 kilo of mussels + frites anytime between 5:30 and 7:00. It's still a ridiculously good bargain for the food and location. Also, not sure if you're here on your own, but they've got tons of small tables for two outside so it'd be ideal. I agree with tp about Nexxt, it's a little overcrowded for me and Van Dyke I'd go to for the jazz upstairs.
Nexxt is crowded for a reason!
PS Van Dyke is now being run by the same owner as Le Bon, Tiram"e"su (He spells it differently than the dessert), Segafredo and Spris. I have not been since the official transition on 1/1/07, but it may be worth a second try? They got some good dishes and some dreadful. The salads excell, that non-aldente (that may have changed now) pasta with garlic, fresh tomatoes and basil is still one of my favorites, allioli too. It's so simple it's stupid, yet some how it translates to "bang" on your taste buds! They used to have this incredible pastry chef who did this Tiramisu cake that was to die for. If you're into jazz, it can't be beat, although I did notice where they took out the upstairs bar so if you're flying solo where do you sit? VD is a Lincoln Rd pioneer and does a nice job with most dishes (steer clear of their rice!).
lots of good advice here. I will expand and already mentioned and add some...
Mr Chu's for awesome dim sum lunch 9th and washington- far walk but worth it
The Greek fast food place right outside the shore club is good.
Liberty- Provaletta and empanadas are supreme here - ice cream is great.
Le Bon - Normally expensive but if you go between 5:30-7 your mussels cost the time you order them and it becomes a great bargain.
Rosinellas is solid - I am partial to their linguine in wcs when they have it (you can ask for it if it is not a special for the day)
Rustica is good pizza
There is also another good pizza joint between collins and washington I think the addresse is 340 lincoln.
El Chalan is very good - cau cau de mariscos, aji chicken and if you are adventerous, tripe are my favorites there
A la Folie is very good on espanola between washington and pennsylvania
Dogma - corn dogs are the best choice here, lemonade is excellent
Cheesburger Baby is good
Le Sandwicherie is good if overrated
Ice Box - Banna bread pudding, german chocolate cake
Balans-second the eggs benedict rec for breakfast
Davids & Puerto Sagua are good cuban - puerto is better but not much
Cafeteria - eggs - if you go for lunch do mac & cheese or hamburger, otherwise you are risking a bad meal
Front Porch - Breakfast
Beach BBQ across the street from el chalan is good but not amazing bbq.
Guru good indian
Thai House - between 11th and 12th on washington is best thai in town. Good but not earth shattering.
Sushi samba can get expensive but fried calamari app by itself is not and is very good. El topo is very good bad for you sushi and not too expensive.
Tiramisu is generally overpriced - I'd do rosinella first.
Don't like Nexxt or Van Dyke
For some of us who like evenings out but don't want the drama of the clubbing nightlife, we go to the hotels and hang out at the lounges. So needless to say, one of my favorites is the Shore Club. The Sky Bar and the pool area there is very nice and relaxing; you don't have to do anything but sit and have fun. In terms of food, I admit it can be pretty pricey to eat there. However, if you can squeeze in just a small meal at Nobu there, then I do highly recommend it. Really good stuff esp. the hot dishes.
As Netmover had suggested, you can take the bus or walk a few blocks down from the hotel to Lincoln Road, which is a street perpendicular to Collins containing shopping and many restaurants to check out. Brunch during the weekends on Lincoln Rd. is fabulous for the weather, people watching, and outdoor markets. However, the food there is notably not the best around town though there are some exceptions. I would recommend Balans for Eggs Benedict, Le Bon for Moules and Frites, Tiramesu for Pasta and the fabulous Italian Peach Ice Tea, Nexxt Cafe can be a bit overrated and over crowded but they do make a fantastic Crab Cake Sandwich that's huge, David's Cafe for Cuban food esp. the Vaca Frita, World Resource Cafe for decently priced Sushi though I am definitely more partial to Sushi Samba Dromo which is a little more pricey but has a more interesting menu merging Peruvian and Japanese cuisines (definitely try the fried Calamari appetizer which is huge and the best one I've had in Florida thus far), and Ice Box for desserts.
For less touristy joints, check out Washingtone Ave. Try El Chalan for pure Peruvian cooking. If you have a midnight craving for Hot Dogs, try Dogma for their different style hot dogs and really yummy garlicky fries. Or if you want to go light at midnight (they're open till 2am), go to Hiro's, a takeout sushi place with a good menu that's really really cheap.
Hope this helps. Enjoy your stay!
Try Liberty Steakhouse one block west on Liberty Street. It's a good Argentine joint offering steaks, milanesas (breaded cutlets), and assorted argen-italian dishes. It's good and it won't break your budget. Spy across the street on Collins may work well for you too? Puerto Sagua down on 7th & Collins is good budget cuban. Take the 25 cent local bus south on Washington. Go west on Lincoln and you'll find a plethora of restaurants: Rosinella's, Sushi Siam, Nexxt, Pizza Rustica, Tiramesu, Van Dyke, Ice Box, Balans to name a few. Be very weary of the menu pimps...good places don't need to!