Let’s Stick to the Classics

By Francesca Cruz 

While new concepts are exciting, there is comfort in the classics. We present to you three of South Florida’s local gastronomy institutions. All three of these restaurants are notable for great food, wonderful service, and adaptability to the times. While other trendy places come and go, these landmarks stand the “taste” of time. 

Restaurant: Rusty Pelican

Address: 3201 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, FL 33149

Ambiance: Located in Key Biscayne, this iconic restaurant is known for its refined-yet-casual appeal. 

Why it Makes the Cut: It has the best views of the Miami skyline, and is the spot to catch sunset, so of course it’s an ideal place for a romantic dinner. Rusty is famous for their Sunday Brunch, and their coveted Happy Hour runs from 4-7 p.m. (at the bar) Monday-Friday. Side note: make sure to ask for mixologist Oscar Amaya, he’s the big kahuna (a.k.a papi chulo) in these parts. 

Mouthwatering Must Haves: Start off with the crab cakes, or the short rib empanadas.You can follow that with the sunflower seed crusted halibut, or try the pistachio scallops, and you have to make room for the lobster risotto. 

Restaurant: Shooters Waterfront

Address: 3033 NE 32nd Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308

Ambiance:  Opened in 1982, this waterfront property was once the embodiment of a Ft. Lauderdale spring break party place. But, boy oh boy, how times have changed. Since William McIntyre purchased it in 2014, it’s blossomed into a sophisticated restaurant that serves up some of the best seafood in South Florida. 

Why it Makes the Cut: It has views, views and more views! And yes, a fab outdoor lounge. Also, make sure to sign up for the sushi-making classes they offer. Please note: vegetarian and vegan options are also available. 

Mouthwatering Must Haves: The Crab Louie Salad is a must, as is the seared brown butter scallops & shrimp, and the grilled ribeye steak. You are not allowed to leave without having the key lime baked Alaska. I mean, you are combining TWO classic desserts—how can you pass that up?

Restaurant: Monty’s Raw Bar (Coconut Grove)

Address: 2550 S Bayshore Dr, Miami, FL 33133

Ambiance: With views of the bay, live reggae and Latin music on the weekends, the familiar tiki huts and low-key vibe, it’s an instantaneous exhale followed by a smile the second you walk in.

Why it Makes the Cut: Everything you just read in the ambiance section, along with the famous fruit cocktails, and as expected, the awesome seafood. 

Mouthwatering Must Haves: Monty’s She Crab Soup is as famous as their cocktails—a must, must, MUST. The Cajun gator bites, the Baja fish tacos (the veggie tacos are the bomb), of course the raw bar, and the Island Burger comes with this fantastic spicy jerk ketchup. 

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