Ice Box Cafe

Jan 29, 11 Ice Box Cafe

Restaurant Address: 1657 Michigan Ave., Miami Beach, Florida 33139
(305) 538-8448

If Ice Box sounds vaguely familiar, you’re probably an Oprah fan. Several years ago she announced that this tiny spot next to the Lincoln Road pedestrian mall had the “Best Cake in America,” helping catapult it to national prominence.

The cakes ARE great, but the menu doesn’t stop there. Breakfast is a standout, thanks to specialties like lemon poppyseed pancakes or “very merry berry” French toast.

Lunchtime prices range from about $13 to $18 — not bad at all for items like wasabi glazed salmon or autumn brisket stew. They serve dinner too, though personally I think the restaurant loses some of its charm once the sun goes down.

Outside tables are dog-friendly, of course, but there are only six of them, and they’re packed pretty close together. They also take up nearly the whole width of the narrow sidewalk, so if your dog is too big to sit in your lap, you may feel like you’re blocking the way.

Bottom line: A reasonably priced, innovative menu for breakfast and lunch, plus desserts worthy of the Queen of Talk.

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The Cardozo

Jan 26, 11 The Cardozo

Restaurant Address: 1300 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Every block on Ocean Drive has 2 or 3 restaurants, but The Cardozo has one big advantage over the competition: It’s owned by Gloria Estefan, who defined the “Miami sound” back in the 80s and 90s.

Like it’s neighbors, The Cardozo offers a fixed-price breakfast that looks like a terrific deal at just $5.75. Portions are big — I got EIGHT slices of bacon along with my scrambled eggs last week — but the “deal” disappears when you realize they charged you $4 for your beverage. I find it kind of insulting when they don’t even print their drink prices on the menu. Do they think you’re not going to pay attention when the check comes?
[mappress]

Oh well, $12 bucks for breakfast on Ocean Drive isn’t terrible (that price includes tip), and this is a nice, dog-friendly spot. If the sidewalk tables feel a little too crowded, there’s also a wide terrace that’s a little more removed from the hustle and bustle.

Just do yourself a favor: When you order water for the dog, tell the waiter to make it two!

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The Carlyle

Jan 20, 11 The Carlyle

Restaurant Address: 1250 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Every restaurant on Ocean Drive these days seems to be competing for the “Cheapest Breakfast” crown. I live two blocks away, so I’ve tried pretty much all of them, and as long as you sit outside, your dog is always welcomed.

The food is pretty much interchangeable, but The Carlyle, overall, is one of my favorites thanks to the friendly staff, good service, and stylish furniture. (Sydney hates those slick, flimsy plastic chairs at some places!)

For $5.75 — a fairly standards price on this stretch of Ocean Drive — you get two eggs, bacon, potatoes and toast. Just watch out for the $3 coffee! I’ve never understood why a cuppa Joe should add 50% to your breakfast tab.

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Big Pink

Jan 09, 11 Big Pink

Restaurant Address: 157 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139

This is a local favorite, and a must if you’re staying in the popular SoFi neighborhood (i.e., South of Fifth). The menu is enormous — you’ll find some three dozen choices of starters, salads and sides, before you even get to the entrees. The emphasis is on comfort food, with huge portions and reasonable prices. Breakfast is served all day, and the malted waffles are a standout.

Outdoor seating is fairly limited here — only about 10 tables — so be prepared for a wait if you don’t show up early. If you eat at Big Pink for breakfast or lunch, don’t miss the brand new Washington Avenue Dog Park, just one block west of the restaurant on 2nd Street. It’s an off-leash park opened in Nov. 2010, with benches, shade trees and plenty of room to run. There’s even a fountain the dogs can play in on hot summer days.
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8oz Burger Bar

Jan 06, 11 8oz Burger Bar

Dog friendly at the outside tables. They also have a restaurant in Los Angeles. Great burgers here. Great sweet potato fries. Lot’s of TV’s. Good casual place.

Location: 1080 Alton Road, Miami Beach, FL 33139 Phone: 305-397-8246

Cuisine: American   Service: Table    Price: Moderate

www.8ozburgerbarmiami.

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Smith & Wollensky

Dec 21, 10 Smith & Wollensky

Restaurant Address: 1 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139, 305-673-2806

This gets a special mention because it’s one of the only places in South Beach that’s NOT especially dog-friendly, so you need to know the rules.

S&W is at the southern tip of the island that forms Miami Beach. Go late in the day on a Saturday/Sunday to watch the steady parade of cruise ships pass by as they leave the Port of Miami and head into the Atlantic Ocean. They’re so close, you can almost touch them!

There’s an outdoor bar and a dozen tables right on the water, but dogs aren’t welcome in either area. If you have a dog, the only place you can sit at S&W is one of four park benches along the sidewalk outside the bar. (If you’re not sure, ask the host; he’s always friendly and apologetic.)

I almost hate to patronize this place because of its backward policies, but it’s one of those quintessential Miami experiences that you don’t want to miss. So find a bench, order a drink and watch the parade … then take your dining dollars someplace with a more enlightened management.

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BK Whopper Bar

Dec 08, 10 BK Whopper Bar

Restaurant Address: 1101 Washington Ave (and 11th Street) Miami Beach, FL 33139

Dining with dogs can be a problem when you’re on a fast-food budget and you don’t want to leave Fido tied up at the door while you run in to place your order at the counter.

The South Beach outpost of Burger King’s new Whopper Bar concept has a nifty solution to this issue: In addition to a sunny patio with about a dozen outdoor tables, there’s also a walk-up window for placing your order.

After the restaurant was built, BK management seems to have re-thought the window idea. It never seems to be staffed, and workers generally wave patrons inside when they’re spotted standing there. But if you hold up your leash to show why you can’t come in, they’ll gladly come to the window to take your order and return with your food.

How about that: Dog owners getting treated like VIPs instead of second-class citizens!

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The Standard Hotel / Bayside Grill

Dec 08, 10 The Standard Hotel / Bayside Grill

Restaurant Address: 40 Island Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Like its L.A. namesake, The Standard on Miami Beach is a great place to see and be seen — in this case, with your dog.

Hotels around here can be fairly restrictive about dogs, but the Standard is welcoming, not just in its rooms, but also in the pool/spa/restaurant area that really makes the property unique.

The expansive pool is surrounded by grassy lawns where dogs are expressly welcomed. And though the pool deck itself is posted “No Dogs Allowed,” nobody seems to pay any attention. Every time I’ve ever been to The Standard, I’ve seen two or three small dogs at the pool. (It’s been a few months since I was there during the day, so feel free to correct me if this has changed.)

Next to the pool, along the shores of Biscayne Bay, is the Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill, where the beautiful people hang out with their beautiful dogs, noshing on simple, fresh Mediterranean fare — think $15 shrimp ceviche and $18 mahi sandwiches. Dinner is similarly light and straightforward, though a little more expensive; mussels run $26 and seared snapper is $28.

Service is friendly but unhurried, so be prepared to sit back, soak in the sun, and enjoy the views.

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Big Pink Restaurant South Beach

Restaurant Address: 157 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 Phone 305-532-4700 Hours: Monday-Thursday 8am-midnight (Thursday till 2am, Fri and Sat till 5am)

This is a local favorite, and a must if you’re staying in the popular SoFi neighborhood (i.e., South of Fifth). The menu is enormous — you’ll find some three dozen choices of starters, salads and sides, before you even get to the entrees. The emphasis is on comfort food, with huge portions and reasonable prices. Breakfast is served all day, and the malted waffles are a standout.

Outdoor seating is fairly limited here — only about 10 tables — so be prepared for a wait if you don’t show up early. If you eat at Big Pink for breakfast or lunch, don’t miss the brand new Washington Avenue Dog Park, just one block west of the restaurant on 2nd Street. It’s an off-leash park opened in Nov. 2010, with benches, shade trees and plenty of room to run. There’s even a fountain the dogs can play in on hot summer days.

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Oliver’s

Dec 07, 10 Oliver’s

Restaurant Address: 959 West Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139 Phone: 305-535-3050

Oliver’s is a neighborhood favorite on the west side of Miami Beach, where good outdoor dining is a little harder to find. High-rise condos stretch up and down the bay along West Ave., so there’s a steady parade of dog-walkers at dinnertime. Servers almost always ask if you’d like a bowl of water for the dog — if not, don’t be shy about asking them!

As for the food, it’s a little bit of everything — burgers, pasta, fish, even curry. Sandwiches run about $11 and entrees start around $15. Servers can be lax about mentioning daily specials, so be sure to ask. I’ve never had a bad dinner here, though desserts are generally disappointing.

www.oliversmiamibeach.com

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Balans Restaurant

Dec 07, 10 Balans Restaurant

Dog friendly restaurant. Dogs are welcome at the outside tables. Located on the famous Lincoln Road pedestrian mall in Miami Beach. Thanks to Robert for telling me about this restaurant. This restaurant has several London locations.

Location: 1022 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL 33139  Phone: 305-534-9191 Cuisine: New American, Seafood, Good spot for brunch. Price: Moderate  Service: Table

www.balans.co.uk

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