The narrow stripe of Bal Harbour, located on the Miami Beach peninsula, has long been considered the domain of the very wealthy, and nothing in recent years has changed that regard. Ringed on one side of Collins Avenue by a gated community of mansions and on the other by luxury hotels such as ONE Bal Harbour Resort & Spa and the St. Regis, where Jean-Georges Vongerichten runs his highly touted J&G Grill, the neighborhood is mostly visited for Bal Harbour Shops. A collection of very high-end designer boutiques (Jimmy Choo, Nanette Lepore, Gucci, Cartier, Chanel, Brioni) and popular restaurants (Makoto, La Goulue, Carpaccio), this open-air, tropically designed mall is anchored by Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. It's been in business since 1965, is still owned by the Whitman family that opened it, and has been named the most productive retail mall in America for the past several years running.
Nearby Bay Harbor Islands, to the west, and Surfside, to the south, offer two main drags of shops and dining: Kane Concourse and Harding Avenue, respectively. Surfside in particular is an Orthodox Jewish area, and on Sabbath and holidays you'll see plenty of pedestrians heading to and from synagogue, so drive accordingly. Surfside, which runs from 96thStreet south, also has a lovely public beach with facilities (concession stands, restrooms, lifeguards) and generous street-side parking, and is a good option for families who don't appreciate the hubbub of South Beach.
The area known as North Beach begins around 71rst Street, which is also the road that leads to the 79th Street Causeway and the mainland of the Upper East Side (Miami Shores, Morningside and the newly dubbed MiMo District). Comprised of the Isles of Normandy, Biscayne Point, and La Gorce, it's a rough geographic circle whose center is the Normandy isle Fountain. Every Saturday, the Normandy Village Marketplace vendors offer fresh produce, flowers, clothing, jewelry and more. Despite the French street names, this area has a rich Argentine heritage, which you can find displayed on the menus of a pair of excellent, long-running restaurants nearby: Café Prima Pasta and Las Vacas Gordas Argentine Steak House.
About twenty blocks south of North Beach proper, clubby SoHo House, where restaurant (with retractable roof) Cecconi's dishes out homestyle Italian, and the historic Fontainebleau Miami Beach and Eden Roc hotels, with their numerous Michelin-starred and chef-driven restaurant (Hakkasan, Alfred Portale's Gotham Steak, Scott Conant's Scarpetta and 1500 Degrees at Eden Roc) are landmarks in their own right.© NileGuide