I'd like to take this opportunity to explain why I moved to the South of Fifth Street neighborhood in Miami Beach in 2002 when the area was still up and coming:

I love living in Miami Beach's South of Fifth (SoFi) district due to the amazing variety of restaurants, small shops, and the spectacular waterfront buildings in the area. The most sought-after and popular waterfront condominium buildings include The Continuum North and South Towers, Icon South Beach, The Murano at Portofino, The Portofino Tower, Apogee, and The Murano Grande.

A few of my personal favorite restaurants include Joe's Stone Crab, DeVito's (owned by actor Danny DeVito) with incredible Italian cuisine, Fogo de Chao Churrascaria, Texas de Brazil, Prime 112, and Smith & Wollensky steakhouses. The SoFi neighborhood also has a variety of other attractions which make this a self-contained community that is also surprisingly family-friendly:

* The South Pointe Elementary School - an "A-rated" K-6 public school. This school and local parents collaborate on field trips, art shows, book fairs, festivals and lots of practice for the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test). Many of my clients who have recently moved to the area are surprised by the diversity and quality of this local elementary school located just across the street from the Murano Grande and Icon South Beach buildings.

* The recently refurbished South Pointe Park, with an incredible light display, walking paths, and cascading water fountains facing towards Fisher Island and cruise ship alley which leads to the Atlantic Ocean. To walk the length of this park (especially as the sun sets) is an experience that I highly recommend to all who visit Miami Beach.

* The Miami Beach Marina, which is located at 300 Alton Road, just South of Icon South Beach and the Murano Grande has a deep sea diving center, a gourmet gourmet food market, and local favorite Monty's restaurant. The marina also offers Pinky's Parasail rentals and American Watersports Jet Ski rentals, the Tarpon Lagoon Dive Center (classes and dive trips), power boat rentals, yacht charters, sailfish tournaments, poker runs to the Florida Keys and, once a year, the Columbus Day Regatta sailboat race.

The other local favorites in South Beach's South of Fifth district include:

  • Nikki Beach Complex at 1st and Ocean Drive, with two restaurants, two nightclubs, and a beachfront setting with huts. A little known fact is that the Nikki Beach complex also contains a beautiful beach access (open to the general public).
  • Red the Steak House, with a beautiful oceanview rooftop scenery,
  • The brand new French gourmet restaurant with beautifully classic French interiors Au Pied de Cochon,
  • The Taverna Opa restaurant across the Street from Nicki Beach Club for Greek food and table dancing at night!,
  • China Grill right on the corner of Fifth and Washington Avenue,
  • Locals favorite Clarke's, which is a neighborhood pub with excellent casual lunch and dining menus,
  • La Piaggia Beach Club, adjoining the Murano at Portofino with a saltwater pool and great mojitos,
  • The Sofi Salon and Spa where many of our locals go to pamper themselves, especially before a weekend night on the town
  • There's even a local public library branch located at 131 Alton Road (South Shore Branch)
  • The Portofino Wine Bank, located right underneath the Portofino Tower, which has a large selection of domestic and imported wines, beers, and liquors.
  • Spa 101 located right next to The Bentley Hilton Resort, and at the same address a private club called the Bentley Beach Club, as well as the restaurant Gaia
  • The new Alton & 5th Street Shopping complex (of course located right on the corner of 5th Street & Alton Road) which has a Publix & Greenwise (all-natural products) super market, Best Buy, Petsmart, TJ Maxx, and Ross Dress for Less, and Staples discount stores.