Both a visual landmark and a late-night-noshing standby, the 11th Street Diner (1065 Washington Ave., 305/534-6373, open 24 hours daily, main courses from $5) is situated in an authentic 1940s-era diner car that was relocated from Pennsylvania to South Beach back in the early 1990s. The menu goes far beyond standard diner fare, including an array of fresh salads, European-style hot sandwiches, and a dizzying selection of gourmet hamburgers, along with fish, poultry, beef, and pasta entrées that bear little resemblance to greasy-spoon meals.
Big Pink (157 Collins Ave., 305/531-0888, 8 a.m.–midnight Mon.–Wed., 8 a.m.–2 a.m. Thurs., 8 a.m.–5:30 a.m. Fri.–Sun., main courses from $3) specializes in comfort food—the kind that tastes great after a night of dancing and drinking…and the kind that helps mitigate the morning-aftereffects of a night of dancing and drinking. Menu items include burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, pasta dishes, ample steaks, mouth-watering fried chicken, “buckets” of fried food (including corn dogs!), and even a homemade TV dinner. The playful atmosphere is decidedly loose by South Beach standards (the menu insists you clean your plate), but if the dining room is not your speed, Big Pink also delivers to nearby hotels.
Unlike many 24-hour spots, the round-the-clock menu at David’s Cafe (1508 Collins Ave., 305/674-4545; 1654 Meridian Ave., 305/672-8707, open 24 hours daily, main courses from $5) isn’t breakfast fare, but instead focuses on their legendary Cuban lunch food. While David’s does serve an excellent breakfast in the morning, the restaurant’s Cuban sandwich and ropa vieja are what draw the constant crowds. There aren’t that many surprises on the menu, although the potency and rich flavor of David’s café cubano may startle those used to mediocre espressos, but the restaurant does the basics very well.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition