Just returned from a trip to South Beach, Florida. If you're looking for weather and shopping, this is the place to go. Accomodations at The Hotel were great, and their roof-top pool area was very nice. Shopping on Collins Ave includes many well known stores such as Armani exchange, Banana Republicetc. About 18 miles north is Bel-Air stores which include higher end - Cartier, Gucci etc. I would recommend both. Collins Ave stores are walking distance, Bel Air is a taxi. Dining on South Beach is a bit of an adventure. Many sidewalk restaurants will display entrees and maitre d's will try to lure you in with 2 for 1 and happy hour specials. Personally, I wasn't a fan of any of the restaurants on South Beach proper. I preferred restaurants 1-2 blocks away from the beach (for example Washington Ave.) that had many different cuisines and flavors without the maitre d' luring practices (and they can be quite aggressive). As 48% of visitors to South Beach are from South America (according to one publication), expect this to be reflected in the culture. Hopefully my experience helps anyone headed to South Beach.
Wonderfulfood there too...check out Prime 112 great food but tough to get a table, China Grill is a nice family style fusion place... for an awesome brunch/breakfast try The Big Pink or New Cafe (great people Watching).
I have a few more suggestions for dining in South Beach:
Blue Door at the Delano: This restaurant is the best I've been to so far in South Beach. The service was excellent, the atmosphere was very fun and inviting and the food was wonderful as well. I would recomend it for a special occasion or group. I went with 5 girls for a bachelorette party and we all really had a fabulous time.We fell in love with the staff of attractive waiters There is a lively bar at the pool and inside the lobby for after dinner drinks. It's a great place to start your night out.
Wish: This is in (outside) the South Beach Hotel on Collins. AlthoughI haven't eaten here in a few years, whenI did it was really enjoyable. The atmosphere is vere relaxing and romantic.The service was also top-notch.
Your right, Blue Door definitely not the place to go if youre on a budget. It depends what kind of experience youre looking for. I would say its a good place to go if youre looking to celebrate or be mingle with the trendy crowd. Theres a good chance to see celebrities there as well. I went there with four other girls to celebrate a bachelorette party and it ended up being a perfect choice for us. We had 3 very handsome male waiters and ended up scoring some free drinks and appetizers I believe the bill came to a little over 500 for 5 people, but that included champagne. Afterwards, the bars at the Delano were a great place to start the evening.