Need Advice for A Weekend @ Miami Beach
I will be spending the weekend starting August 24 at the Bentley Hotel on Miami Beach (very near South Pointe Park). Even though a dinner is already scheduled by the group I am going with, there's plenty of free time and I'd love to get some help on where to get great, local eats. My biggest hurdle will probably be the fact that I'm not going to be driving...so the recommendations need to be reachable by foot or public transportation.
The sort of eats I have in mind to try will be local, unique, and not too expensive. Stuff that you can't get anywhere else. From street stalls or hole-in-the-walls, shacks, no problem. Or a special appetizer from one of the hotels' bars. I am not looking for very high upscale, formal places, if it's not something uniquely local. So not places like Nobu or steakhouses, or a French tasting menu 4 star place.
Also if there's really interesting food, I'd love to try it. Like what Andrew Zimmern on Travel Channel eats in his shows.
The Colombian place on Washington mentioned by tpigeou is great and inexpensive. It is called Las Tablas. I think the tides brunch is great...love the lobster eggs benedict. Also the sandwicherie is a local favorite open late. I agree with other posters that Joe's is something that is a great experience. There is a great Thai Place called Thia House on Washington.
The (admittedly grungy) Cuban place is called Las Olas. It's tucked away at 644 6th Street which was - for a time - popular with the local drive-by-night-traders. I think the Miami Beach Police "cracked" that problem and Las Olas remains a popular (mostly locals), hole-in-the-wall.
If you can get past the (other, non - t) pigeons, the empanadas are good for a quick snack. There are cheap breakfast specials and really good Cuban style sandwiches too.
This spot definitely fits the specs of the original post!!
Tap Tap on 5th has Haitian food and live music weekends. 819 5th St
Tony Bourdain hit Mac's Club Deuce and the taco shop next door on 14th - San Loco Taqueria - 235 14th St & Club Deuce Bar - 222 14th St (He liked the "stupid sauce" - super hot). And the "shack" serving Cuban food near your hotel is Puerto Sagua 700 Collins Ave - a grungy lunch counter with inexpensive Cuban fare, breakfast specials etc.
In addition to the above, I would try:
baires - argenitinian steak house
You should do Joes take out - even if it does not match your requirements, the food is great and some things, like the fried chicken are a great bargain.
I forgot the name of the cuban place on 6th, one block west of collins - good food, awesome fruit drinks (pineapple and watermellon)
There is a colombian steakhouse place between 6th and 7th on washington (not the hot dog place which I never tried) that I really like but the service can be painfully slow (this is by south beach standards which is known for some of the worst service in the world btw so don't say you were not warned)
Pita pit is between 10th -11th on washington. There is also a place like it that is closer on 6th between collins and washington - don't remember exactly where it is but it was about as good the last time I went there years ago.
If you are willing to trek to 16th and washington, I would recommend el chalan - might as well recommend Ice Box (french toast) at that point as well