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Need Help in Miami

f
foodexplorer Jun 27, 2006 12:36 PM

Please help! We are moving to Miami, and I will be in town this week looking at houses. My husband is already there and is really busy working, so I need some good suggestions for quick after work dinners or good take-out/delivery in the North Miami area. Must find a good place for falafels in North Miami.
On Saturday night and Sunday we should have more time to enjoy ourselves and will drive anywhere. We will have our 10 month old son with us the entire time, so I would like to go somewhere kid-friendly, not too pricey, but with great food and atmosphere. Maybe something on the water? What about a good Sunday brunch spot? I live in Hawaii now and love the Moana Surfrider's brunch. Would like something like that for a comparison.
Any and all suggestions would be helpful. We love seafood, all ethnic food.
Thanks! I can't wait to get settled in Miami and dive into the food scene!

  1. d
    diablita FL Jun 27, 2006 01:56 PM

    Mahalo! In North Miami/N Miami Beach/Aventura, there are some good options:

    Felafel -- Pita Plus in Lohmann's Plaza (take-out, very casual sit-down) great felafel, shwarma, amazing pickles

    Mi Peru -- Miami Gardens Dr in Skylake Area for Peruvian, great fish & seafood

    There's another good Peruvian restaurant in N Miami in a plaza on US-1 and 135th

    Gourmet Diner -- French, in a funny silver building on US-1 near 135; been there for about 30 years, I haven't eaten there in many years but Netmover on this board has, and still recommends it

    Bissaleh -- Sunny Isles Beach (A1A and 176th St) for Sephardic-style amazing food like Burekas, Bissalehs made w/ Yemenite pastry, salads, pizzas and really fresh juices; dairy Kosher so not open on Shabbat

    For Saturday Night:
    Pilar in Aventura -- Biscayne and Ives Dairy Rd in the Promenade Shops for fish

    Prezzo's in Aventura -- in Loehmann's Plaza; just reopened - I haven't been there since they closed for remodeling (?) but I hear it's the same menu, people; kid friendly, though there's always a pick-up scene at the bar

    Soyka -- south of you, on Biscayne and the 70's. Nice place, good atmosphere, good food and kid friendly.

    Sunday Brunch:
    we like Nemo's in South Beach, Rusty Pelican on Key Biscayne and Bella Luna in Delray; those are all pretty far, though you said you didn't mind driving so this would be a good way to explore.

    Coral Rose Cafe -- breakfast/brunch in Hollywood, about 20 min north of you. On Harrison St just west of the Hollywood circle. VERY delicious breakfast items, like french toast crusted in macadamia & coconut, homemade jam and bread. It's a little place, no buffet, but really good.

    1. Covert Ops Jun 27, 2006 02:34 PM

      Two more for ya:

      Laurenzo's Italian Market and Cafe, 16385 West Dixie Highway (and 164th St.) in North Miami Beach, a block north of Sunny Isles Blvd. I used to drive up from the Gables just for the cannolis, but they also have a casual cafe (it's really just a deli with tables) with crazy sandwiches, specialty meats/cheeses, and I think soups. Great for quick takeout or short bite.

      If you're driving to Key Biscayne and can't get into the Rusty Pelican, I also suggest Sunday's on the Bay, just a little farther down the road (on the next island) on the right side. Laid back but good food.

      1. lax2mia Jun 27, 2006 03:51 PM

        There's Paul on Biscayne and around 140th St (?). It's in a shopping center next to a Costco. It's a French bakery chain with good casual breakfast and lunch.

        I second Nemo's for brunch. The most lavish one in MIA is probably the Biltmore in Coral Gables. The hotel is from the 1930's (a little younger than the Surfrider) and looks purely Spanish in style.

        In North Miami you've got Houston's. Yes, I know it's a chain, but they have a great location by the water.

        You'll have fun discovering a new food culture here. But I have to admit, I miss Hawaii's (even though I was only there for a week). I'd kill for some poke!!!!!

        1. d
          diablita FL Jun 27, 2006 04:26 PM

          How could I forget Houston's?!? My sister is a server there! I'm totally biased, but it's very good and consistent for a chain restaurant.

          1. f
            foodexplorer Jun 27, 2006 08:07 PM

            Thanks for all of the suggestions! Hopefully, I will be able to try all of them eventually. I will send my husband to Pita Plus immediately, he is always looking for great falafels. What about Ceviche House? Somebody recommended it to my husband and he suggested having dinner there tomorrow night after he picks me up from the airport.
            I think we'll probably try Rusty Pelican or Sunday's on the Bay for Sunday Brunch. Can you recommend a nice, not too crowded, family friendly beach that we can hit after brunch?
            Thanks again for all the help. I can't wait to start exploring.

            1 Reply
            1. re: foodexplorer
              d
              diablita FL Jun 27, 2006 10:21 PM

              Is Ceviche House the Peruvian restaurant on Biscayne around 135th, in the plaza on the southwest corner? If so, try it. I've heard good things, though haven't eaten there.
              Pita Plus: tell your husband to bring home LOTS of pickles if you like pickles. And they sell delicious pita by the bag -- I think it's a brand found around South Florida felafel places and it freezes well. Btw, there is FANTASTIC felafel in the Sunrise area (west Ft. Lauderdale) if you find yourselves out there, though very out of the way for N Miami.

              If you head down to Key Biscayne, there is Crandon Park towards the eastern end of the area, a beautiful beach but it does get quite crowded. If you take a drive there and it's too busy, head back to the mainland and start driving home, north on A1A, until you see something you like. Maybe North Beach? (A1A around the 30's). And btw, there's a great Argentinian Bakery named Buenos Aires Bakery along that stretch. Google it. Of course you'll be full from your brunch, but you can stop in and pick up delicious food for later. Try the matambres, sandwiches 'de miga' (on thin bread) and alfajores (cookies with caramel called dulce de leche which you'll learn is a delicacy called diff names in diff South American countries) for dessert, among other good things.

            2. f
              foodexplorer Jun 27, 2006 10:54 PM

              Yes, I think that's the one he's talking about. If we try it, I'll report back. I found something on the internet that said Sunday's on the Bay has closed down. Do you know anything about that?
              What about Bill Baggs State Park...any good, not crowded beaches?
              Thanks again for all the helpful tips.

              1. Covert Ops Jun 28, 2006 02:09 PM

                Hmm, I did see the blog post you're talking about, about Sunday's being closed. *shrug* You can always call them I guess, sorry I haven't lived in Miami for a few years.

                Bill Baggs is gorgeous and PERFECT for your child -- there's a big ol' sandbar that results in 2-foot-deep bathwater perfect for babies to play in. If it's too crowded by the light house there are a few beaches just before Bill Baggs proper, I think they're called North and South beach, that are just as good.

                1. netmover Jun 29, 2006 04:30 AM

                  Scorch is a great selection in NMB, 137th and Biscayne Blvd, adjoined to the Dairy Queen(westside)...lunch and dinner, they have been threatening to do a brunch although I am not sure they have?

                  1. netmover Jun 29, 2006 04:35 AM

                    Hiro's for late night sushi until 3am! It's on 163rd St causeway, then there's a Little Italian Restaurant just east of there and a great Thai/sushi joint right next door whose name I beleive may be Siam River, also very good, in fact they got Best of Miami 2 years ago. Flanigans 134th and Biscayne Blvd has awesome ribs, other dishes are satisfactory too! Woody's steak sandwiches are interesting just south of there...Soyka's BTW is 54th and Biscayne Blvd.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: netmover
                      Covert Ops Jun 29, 2006 02:10 PM

                      Flanigan's is a chain but has pretty decent food and is family friendly. Their dolphin sandwich is good, and their southewestern egg roll appetizers are made in-house, not bought from Sysco or somewhere (as I had assumed), according to a friend who was a server there.

                      1. re: netmover
                        f
                        FoodOfMiami Feb 25, 2009 01:58 PM

                        I completely agree! Hiro is delish little local hole in the wall sushi spot with a Miami Vice Vibe. Full Bar perfect for their late night hours!

                        my full review of Hiro: http://miamifoodie.wordpress.com/2009...

                         
                      2. f
                        foodexplorer Jul 7, 2006 12:43 AM

                        Thanks chowhounds for all of the great tips! The first night I was in town we tried to eat at Gourmet Diner. We got there at about 10 minutes before 10:00 and the doors were locked and they waved us off saying that they were closed. (Even though the sign on the door said open until 11:00) Bad start to the trip, considering I had been traveling alone all day with a baby and we were all starving and tired. Luckily, Pizza Pizza came to the rescue and we all filled our bellies before passing out!
                        We also tried Irie Isle Jamaican...it satisfied my craving, but my husband didn't care for it. Admittedly, the rice and peas were a little dry, but I thought the Jerk chicken was good.
                        Saturday night we tried to eat at Ceviche House. We got there at 10 minutes to 9:00, and there wasn't anyone in the restaurant. (That kinda scared me) I went in to ask if they were open and yes they were but she said that we couldn't order off the hot menu because they were closing at 10:00, in over an HOUR! Where's the service? We ended up going to Little Havana and had a pretty good meal.
                        Sunday we had brunch at the Rusty Pelican. We can't wait to try Nemo's. Also tried Scorch and Islamorada Fish Co. Both Pretty good.

                        We can't wait to get settled in and start eating. Thanks again for all of the great suggestions!

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