You won’t be the first tourist ever to start their day at the News Cafe (800 Ocean Dr., 305/538-6397, open 24 hours daily, main courses from $6), but lining up for a table and then having a grumpy member of the waitstaff begrudgingly take your order is something of a rite of passage in South Beach . And no, you can’t leave them a bad tip; gratuity is included in the bill. The breakfast menu of bagels, pastries, pancakes, and egg dishes is served around the clock, and a News Cafe espresso drink is best enjoyed on their outdoor patio, whether it’s mid-morning or after midnight. Later in the day, a fairly standard selection of burgers, pastas, sandwiches, and salads is available, but their Middle Eastern platters make the grunting tableside service worthwhile.
Although located on the relatively less busy western side of South Beach, the Taste Bakery Cafe (900 Alton Rd., 305/695-9930, 6 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 7 a.m.–7 p.m. Sat., 8 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun., main courses from $5) can get pretty packed pretty quickly. Although the breakfast fare is standard—bagels, egg sandwiches, pastries—the vibe is friendly and casual, and during cooler months the outdoor seating is a hit. Panini sandwiches stand out on the lunch menu, but all of the menu items are fresh and well-prepared.
Breakfast at the Front Porch Cafe (1418 Ocean Dr., 305/531-8300, 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 7 a.m.–8 p.m. Fri.–Sun., main courses from $6) is a casual and slightly groggy affair as diners tuck into challah-bread French toast, stuffed omelets, and massive pancakes. Located in the Penguin Hotel, the Front Porch is busy every day but is particularly popular for its weekend brunch offerings, so be prepared to wait a bit on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
The Go Go Fresh Food Cafe (926 Alton Rd., 305/673-3137, 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun.–Fri., 11:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sat., main courses from $7) only offers three things—empanadas, soups, and salads. But just as your favorite TV chef will tell you, it’s far better for a restaurant to do a few great things than to do a lot of mediocre things. The empanadas are by far the main attraction, with everything from shrimp scampi and barbecue chicken to guava with cream cheese and Nutella with banana stuffed into flaky pastry wraps. Salads are equally diverse, with numerous combinations of super-fresh and innovative ingredients.
Le Sandwicherie (229 14th St., 305/532-8934, 10 a.m.–5 a.m. daily, main courses from $6) is a fantastic French-inspired deli located right next to a tattoo shop off the main drag of Ocean Drive . The prime location and late-night hours make it a preferred destination for famished club kids, but a nosh on their Camembert- or prosciutto-stuffed French bread sandwiches or their legendary croque monsieur is great any time of the day.