Outdoor Dining in SoBe
I will recommend La Cote at the Fountainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. I do realize that you said South Beach, however grab a ten minute cab ride to the exact experience you are describing. I just went there for lunch last Sunday and it was terrific. I sat with my boyfriend on the second floor on a very comfortable, sink into all day loveseat with an unobstructed, stones throw view of the whole beach. It is by far the best view oceanside on all of Miami Beach. The food was delicious too! Surprise! We started with the Bruschetta appetizer - 3 large slices of grilled country bread with tomatoes, basil, onion, tasty olive oil - the flavor was spot on. We then had the tenderloin with portabella mushrooms in a rich peppercorn wine sauce served with grilled asparagus. The beef was melt in your mouth tenderful and full of good beef flavor. As a second entree we had the giant grilled prawns served with sauteed fennel and lemon gremolata. Also very good.Drinks are typical South Beach expensive - $16.00/cocktail. I would recommend a nice chilled bottle of French Rose or champagne as you mentioned. Service was casual yet attentive. The only word of warning if you do not enjoy lively dj spun house music - it will not be the place for you. If you do enjoy the great atmosphere and music it will be the right afternoon you described.
DiLido Beach Club in the Ritz-Carlton is probably the closest.
Le Banyan in North Beach (73rd St. off Collins) faces out onto the beach and the food was decent Thai but was very pricey for what it was.
We share a VISIONQUEST...
If you are here today (and not planning a future visit), Wednesdays at Bistro One LR at the Ritz Carlton South Beach are Wild Wine Wednesdays with 60% off over 75 premium brands of wines and champagnes (prices starting at just $15 per bottle).
This Thursday 4/23 at the Ritz , taste the Wines of Portugal from the whites of Vinho Verde to the reds of Douro to Alentejos new offerings. You can get in on the action for $35pp. The Ritz Carlton is located at 1 Lincoln Road.
Thursday and Friday night at the diLido from 5-8pm is Hookah Happy Hour on the sand with your first drink free, $7 rum drinks and free pipes. BravoTV's Top Chef Jeff McInnis (cute, blonde and semi-famous) will be there making tapas.
http://www.944.com/articles/jeff-mcinnis/ (a total cutie pie!)
Also this weekend, Smith & Wollensky hosts a HUGE wine event benefitting local Big Brothers/Sisters (it's waterfront but not beachfront) with hundreds of sips to sample starting Saturday at 6:30 and Sunday at 8:30 and if you stay for dinner, you get 2 of the bottles from the competition w/ your dinner for FREE. You know I'll be there for THAT!
Info @ www.fiwc.net and enter the code BBBS09 at checkout for 10% off tickets.
Sundays there is a regular beach club party at La Piaggia at 1000 South Pointe Drive (deets - www.lapiaggiabeach.com)
For BAYfront, there's always Monty's Raw Bar at the Marina at 300 Alton Road for a casual sundowner, happy hour pricing weekdays and a beer and peel and eat shrimp type crowd (we are NOT talking champagne wishes and caviar dreams here but it's pleasant on a balmy day at sundown facing west...) also on Fridays, the more upscale happy hour hoards gather at Sunset at the Mondrian Hotel on West Avenue (again, this is a BAYfront pool deck) and you can indeed get a more champagne level experience there. For dinner, try the BAYfront dining at the Standard Hotel/Spa on 40 Island Avenue on the Venetian Causeway.