Trip Review: What to Eat in Miami Beach and Avoid Scams
We only stayed at the Hilton Bentley Miami South Beach for a weekend so our time in Miami Beach was relatively short. Nevertheless, we got to try a few restaurants and walked down the Art Deco District a couple of times so I wanted to share with you what to eat in Miami Beach. More importantly, I want to discuss the restaurant scams operating along Ocean Drive and how you can avoid these scams.
What to Eat in Miami Beach
From the Hilton Bentley, it’s really easy to walk to tons of restaurant options. We really enjoyed Bolivar, a Colombian restaurant my wife found. It had great food at good prices. The famous Joe’s Stone Crab is literally around the corner and also featured good food but since it’s more of a fine dining place, dinner can get pricey.
Where I would highly recommend you NOT eat at, however, is most restaurants alongside Ocean Drive. Not only are they generally considered tourist traps, many are actually scams. When my wife and I walked along Ocean Drive to see the Art Deco District, we were accosted by host and hostesses from most of the restaurants trying to get our business. Many of them offered $9.95 dinner specials, 2 for 1 drink specials, etc. Some even tried social engineering asking where we were visiting from. To be honest, the food looked mediocre at best, and I had zero interest in their gigantic margaritas with two Coronas in them.
It wasn’t until I returned that I learned many of these “restaurants” are actually just scams. They don’t list prices on their menus and try to persuade you to order the special platters. At the end, you’ll be presented with a bill for $300+ where the drinks are $50+ and the platters are $100+, all with mandatory gratuity added in for you of course. La Baguette, The Place, and many of the hotels operate in that manner, and you can read more about how these scams work in the Yelp review links and this article from Uptake.
The Main Point
It’s a shame that so many restaurants in Miami South Beach are really just scams disguised as restaurants, because they really taint the good restaurants in that area. It also leaves a sour taste in many tourists’ mouths and gives South Beach a bad name. My advice is to walk down Ocean Drive along the right hand side by the park. You will get to enjoy the scenery without being bombarded by sneaky restaurant hosts and hostesses. Then when you’re hungry, hit up one of the fantastic restaurants, such as Bolivar.
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