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Restaurant Review: The Café at Books & Books Miami Beach

Carolina Sanchez

The Café at Books & Books on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, Florida

It was a chilly day, by Miami standards, but there were still people sitting under the big orange umbrellas on the sidewalk on Lincoln Road.  I had walked by this place probably a dozen times and had heard good things about it, but had never stopped to go inside. At the entrance stood a small host stand and a friendly face. I was pretty hungry and the the voice on the phone that reassured me they had vegan and gluten-free options that could be made oil-free certainly sounded inviting. "Table for 2?" said the hostess. "Yes, inside please."

Books & Books is a locally owned bookstore with 4 locations in South Florida--Coral Gables, Bal Harbour, Miami Beach, and the newly opened location at the Adrienne Arsht Center downtown. I chose the Miami Beach location, and it is located on Lincoln Road between Jefferson Avenue and Michigan Avenue. Its oversized Tuscan orange umbrellas with The Café at Books & Books printed in black are easy to spot, and if you like people watching, pull up a chair. Lincoln Road is full of locals and tourists alike who come to shop, dine, and enjoy the warmth and charm of Miami Beach. After all, who wouldn't enjoy wearing shorts and t-shirts in December while the rest of the country is treading in snow?

Dining Area at The Café at Books & Books on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, Florida

Behind the host stand was an opening to an interior patio with small metal tables. We were led to one that was neatly tucked away in the corner. To the right was a shop window clearly marked with big etched letters that read "DIESEL". Directly behind me was a tall black magazine case filled with the latest issues waiting to be picked up and read. I turned my head the other way and in the back was a small gravel path leading to Books & Books, the bookstore.

Organic Quinoa, Red Beach & Kale at The Café at Books & Books on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, Florida

The café menu has a myriad of choices, even a dedicated vegan section, and it's not just salads either. There are about 7 dishes to choose from, and many are also gluten-free or can be made gluten-free. In my case, I also asked for oil free and was granted a generous portion of white quinoa dotted with chickpeas and kidney beans, and topped with a hearty mound of steamed kale and finished with elegant strands of zucchini ribbons.  I drizzled it with a dash of lemon juice and voilà! I also had a side salad which was a respectable plate of mixed greens, beefsteak tomatoes, and shredded carrots.

The manager was extremely attentive to my needs, and prior to coming in, I spoke with her and the host on the phone to ensure that I could eat there. She prepped her staff and they executed to perfection. It is so refreshing to go out to eat and have the staff genuinely care about your needs. Many places just write me off automatically and offer me a salad, but the Café at Books & Books reads all of its customers thoroughly, and caters to them too.

★★★★

The Café at Books & Books, 927 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL 33139

(305) 695-8898

http://www.cafeatbooksandbooks.com/

ATMOSPHERE

 Open air café amidst the liveliness of Lincoln Road.

SERVICE

Good.

SOUND LEVEL

 Moderate and lively. 

RECOMMENDED

 Grilled Organic Tofu and Avocado Salad; Organic Quinoa, Red Bean & Kale 

DRINKS

 They serve a variety of fresh juices, fruit smoothies, dessert smoothies, coffee, tea, and organic wines and beers

PRICES

 Soups and sides $4.95-$8; main courses, $10-$16, desserts $2.75-$8

OPEN

M-Th 10am-10pm; F 10am-11pm; Saturday 9:30am-11pm; Sunday 9:30am-10pm

RESERVATIONS

 Not necessary.

FORMS OF PAYMENT

: All major credit cards and cash.