Café at Books & Books
The most civilized refuge on South Beach's main shopping artery, this café offers a mix of Latin and Southern cuisine, along with a healthy dose of people-watching. Snag one of the choice outdoor tables and enjoy the scene as well as the delicious grilled mahi tacos. The dinner menu covers a broad spectrum that includes rich gazpacho with substantial chunks of tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions; grilled chicken churrasco with cranberry lime sauce; and grilled marinated Florida shrimp with tomato grits. Service is low-key but top-notch, with waiters navigating the 60 seats backed by a book-lined room. Chef Bernard Matz is also a good historical reference to South Beach: in the mid-1980's, he was the owner of the Wet Paint Café, the restaurant that launched Douglas Rodriguez, who went on to fame with Ola and three other Latin spots across the country.
Signature Dish: Seared tuna crusted with pepper and coconut, accompanied by mango slaw.
Tip: Books & Books is the best bookstore in the city, with a wide variety of titles, author events, and a well-read staff. Allow some time to browse through the store.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.