From South Beach to West Palm Beach, options for the discerning Shomer Shabbos traveller have exploded. If you’re taking a vacation or even considering a move to Florida and want to check out the scene, you fortunately have plenty of options for a Shabbat stay.
For starters, there is always tried and true Chabad. Each Chabad in South Florida is a little different than the next so it’s important to do a little research before you go. Some Chabads will offer full meals for Shabbat guests, while others offer just a kiddush. For example, the Chabad of Lincoln Road provides Friday night dinner and Shabbat lunch, while the Chabad in Surfside, at the shul of Bal Harbor (click here to see nearby hotels), hosts a kiddush which could conceivably be considered a lunch – depending on your appetite. Virtually any Chabad will help you find a place for Shabbos though, so it’s definitely worth a phone call and an inquiry.
If you want to take a step up from the communal meal scene, another great alternative is to find your own place to stay and then reserve your meals at local restaurants. Many restaurants in South Florida offer prepaid meals for Shabbos. Simply pay online and eat in the restaurant; it’s as simple as that. In the Miami Beach area, 41 Miami in Tower 41, Kikar Tel Aviv in the Carriage Club all offer that service. Moving north a bit, Mendel’s Backyard Barbecue and Kosh, both in Surfside, are hot spots for Shabbat dining, as well as Meat Bar in Bay Harbour. King David Cuisine in Bal Harbour also offers pre-ordered dining and is particularly famous for their Sushi at Pokado.
If you are traveling during the season, which generally runs from November to April, you can also take advantage of hotels that offer kosher foods on site. You must reserve these meals in advance – don’t expect to check in at the front desk and order the kosher meals in the lobby on a Friday – but they definitely make a stay in the south a bit easier. In Sunny Isles, The Trump International and Marco Polo Resorts both have Shabbos meals as an option. As well, the renovated Holiday Inn on Miami Beach. The Kosher Hotel in the Altair Building in Bay Harbour is set to become a hot destination. A high-end New York kosher restaurant (sorry, but the name is super-secret right now) is planning on opening on site and while there is no room service yet, the hotel boasts a private pool with separate swimming hours for men and women.
Other hotels, though not providing Shabbat meals per se, are “Shabbat Friendly.” The Grand Beach Hotel in Miami Beach offers regular keys instead of the electronic ones and the staff at the Acqualina Resort in Aventura seems to have been trained in the art of “taking a Shabbos hint,” escorting Shabbat observant guests in the elevators and to their rooms to open doors with a simple, “I think I will go up to my room” comment.
If you don’t need a hotel, are just crashing at Bubbie and Zaydie’s condo, and you just don’t want to cook, there are plenty of take-out places to choose from that will supply a whole Shabbat for you. Top picks are definitely in Hollywood, with a large selection of counter take-out at KC Marketplace, Sylvia’s, Aroma, and The Grove.
Times have definitely changed since the days of packing cold cuts and challah and hiding a crockpot in your suitcase. The South Florida scene is ready for anything, and one of those things, clearly, is making Shabbos happen.
Thank you for visiting Discover Jewish Florida. We are here to help frum Jews that are vacationing in Florida, and Jews living in Florida. We want to help you find kosher food, things to do, and everything else a Jew would need while in Florida.