South Beach Seafood Week       |       October 21 - 24, 2020       |       Miami Beach, Florida

2018 Restaurant Picks: South Beach Food and Wine Pairings

2018 Restaurant Picks: South Beach Food and Wine Pairings

Food and wine…are there two better friends? It’s tough to top. In fact, when it comes to the South Beach food scene, great food and wine pairings at top restaurants are the pinnacle of deliciousness.

And, of course, we’re always on the lookout for the best locations and dishes to share with you.

Off the top of our heads, we can quickly name numerous amazing Miami beach seafood restaurants that offer mouth-watering food and an extensive wine list. Our picks for food and wine pairing options will make your taste buds stand up and scream, “Yes!”

So, where are these paragons of the South Beach food scene? Before we get into that, let’s take a look at what makes a memorable food and wine dining experience.

Food and Wine Pairing Help

When choosing restaurants with the best South Beach food and wine pairings, an expanded wine menu that’s updated regularly is a must-have. As you know, restaurants who offer an extensive menu means it can be difficult to choose the right wine for your meal.

So, what should you do?

According to Paulina Arango, the House Sommelier at Cibo Wine Bar South Beach, the best course of action is to get advice from the restaurant staff.

“I always recommend a guest ask the server or the sommelier what new wines are on the list and which are offered by the glass,” said Arango. “The staff is there to guide and help you and offer a less intimidating approach to ordering wine. Think of the staff as the Cliff Notes version of the wine list.”

It’s also vital that the restaurant is up on the latest trends. Right now, those trends include wine coming from Sicily and as well as Oregon.

“The wine world is also becoming more sustainable and biodynamic,” explained Arango. “This includes everything from the vineyards, to the winemaking process to the corks for the bottles.”

So, who’s doing all of this extremely well? We’ve got the top seven South Beach food picks right here.

Check it out!

7 Restaurants with South Beach Food and Wine Pairings You Have To Try


1. CIBO Wine Bar South Beach

A truly authentic wine bar with hand-made rustic Italian food, CIBO Wine Bar South Beach has everything you could want. Not only does it offer a true taste of authentic southern Italian cooking but it has a two-story award-winning wine room with a flying wine angel!

CIBO Wine Bar South Beach | 2018 Restaurant Picks: South Beach Food and Wine PairingsImage source: CIBO Wine Bar South Beach Instagram

CIBO Wine Bar South Beach is also home to Chief Wine Angel and House Sommelier, Paulina Arango, who is known for her ability to create decadent harmony in every dish. To get a better idea of how she creates such wonderful bursts of flavor, we asked about her process. Here’s what she had to say:

“I am a firm believer that it depends on the personal preference and palette,” Arango said. “You want to be able to enjoy both the wine and the food. So, for instance, If you are not a fan of Pinot Grigio, yet most say it pairs perfectly with your fish, you will not enjoy your dinner.  I always ask about the style of wine that the guest enjoys most prior to pairing it with their meal. My job is to create a pleasurable dining experience.”

Food and wine pairing:

Try pairing any sliced meat selection from the Salumeria section of CIBO’s menu, with a bold and full-bodied William Hill Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

2. Red, the Steakhouse

Named one of the Top Ten Steakhouses in the country, Red, the Steakhouse in Miami Beach, FL is an upscale restaurant that truly lives and breathes great food and wine pairings.

Red, the Steakhouse | 2018 Top South Beach Food and Wine Restaurant Picks
Image source: Miami Eater

Known for its USDA certified Angus Prime (a truly exceptional piece of meat), this South Beach restaurant has everything you could want including a selection of over 500 wines. Whether you choose your favorite red or white wine, there’s an ideal dish for each glass and bottle.

Food and wine pairing:

Our choice is the flavorful Certified Angus Beef Prime Tomahawk steak with a bottle of Orin Swift “Palermo” Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, CA). Tasting notes for this wine include beautiful aromas of cassis and blackberry contrasting perfectly with notes of cocoa and new oak.

3. Café Avanti

With an incredible wine menu paired with delicious Italian cuisine, Café Avanti has got it all going on. This is a locals’ cozy trattoria that serves top-notch food with amazing service.

On their extensive, multi-page wine list, you’ll find everything from Prosecco to Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Chianti, Cabernet, and more. You can order by the glass or bottle for the ultimate in pairing options.

Food and wine pairing:

We recommend pairing the Costolette di Vitello (a perfectly grilled bone-in center-cut veal chop) with a very nice Talbott “Sleepy Hollow Vineyard” Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands, CA)

4. Papa’s Raw Bar

This fresh and fun seafood restaurant in Lighthouse Point has everything you’re looking for. We love the Papa’s Raw Bar casual island style mixed with amazing food and wines that keep you coming back for more.

Papa's Raw Bar | 2018 Top South Beach Food and Wine Restaurant PicksImage source: Papa’s Raw Bar website

Best yet, their menu has been put together with their food and wine in mind. For a unique take, this restaurant has an in-house wine they blend called Eat Drink and Be Local. What’s more, their motto is, “So much wine, so li’l time.”

Food and wine pairing:

You definitely want to try their Hogfish paired with any Chardonnay that offers brightness and texture to compliment the seafood. Our pick is William Hill Chardonnay (Central Coast, CA).

5. Toro Toro

If you’re on the lookout for a unique and sexy dining experience, look no further than Toro Toro. This Latin American restaurant in South Beach celebrates food—and Miami’s lust for life. The menu is a twist on contemporary steakhouse and includes everything from delicious seafood ceviche to prime ribeye, jumbo grilled shrimp, and more.

Toro Toro | South Beach Food and Wine | 2018 Top South Beach Food and Wine Restaurant Picks

As for their wine menu, they offer a little bit of something for everyone from sparkling Sauvignon Blanc to Rieslings, Pinot Noirs, and Merlots.

Food and wine pairing:

We love their signature Chipotle Miso Chilean Sea Bass (talk about fusion food!), paired with a glass of crisp J Vineyards Chardonnay (Russian River Valley, CA). It’s perfect for date night.

6. Truluck’s

The South Beach food scene isn’t complete without a seafood, steak, and crab house all-in-one. And while there are many on South Beach, there is one just over the bridge, in downtown Brickell. At Truluck’s you’ll escape from the ordinary with a fresh-catch seafood menu that is absolute perfection.

And when it comes to drinking great wine, at Truluck’s there are no rules. “If you like it…drink it,” the restaurant exclaims. “All the wines on Truluck’s menu are food friendly!” says beverage director, Dave Mattern.

Truluck’s offers a helpful video about pairing food and wine.

There’s plenty to drink with a two-page wine menu that has a little bit of everything.

Food and wine pairing:

Order the Japanese pan-seared scallops and savory parmesan mashed potatoes, and surprise yourself by pairing it with a glass of Talbott “Kali Hart” Chardonnay (Monterey, CA).

7. Lobster Bar Sea Grille

The Lobster Bar Sea Grille is the place to be for amazing South Beach food and wine that’s vibrant and delicious. This glittering restaurant has a menu that will make your mouth water with everything from Lobster Stuffed Lobster to whole Red Snapper.

As for their wine menu, they offer wines from the U.S., Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, and Argentina.

Lobster Bar Sea Grille | 2018 Top South Beach Food and Wine Restaurant PicksImage source: Lobster Bar Sea Grille website

Food and wine pairing:

Our favorite pairing starts the entree part of your meal off with a glass of fresh, medium-bodied Fleur de Mer Rosé and the signature Whole Lobster Pasta “Americaine”. To die for!

Truly, when it comes to pairing wine with food, you have endless options in South Beach. The key is to choose your favorite food and then ask the sommelier or waiter for help you find that perfect pairing.


What’s your absolute favorite food and wine pairing?

Share with us in the comments below!

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Wed, October 21, 2020
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Thu, October 22, 2020
VIP Chef Showdown
Fri, October 23, 2020
South Beach Seafood Festival
Sat, October 24, 2020