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Top South Beach Restaurants

I'm getting a little bored with what I'm seeing here since the big upgrade...so allow me to stir it up some!

Here's my brief list: (I will only put places I've been to, so feel free to fill us in on yours)

Expensive: >$20/entree

Osteria del Teatro
Joe's Stone Crabs
Smith and Wollensky
Pacific Time

Moderate: <$20/entree

Taverna OPA
Toni's Tokyo
Sushi Siam
Joe Allen

Budget: <$15/entree

News Cafe
Nikki's Beach Club
Le Sandwicherie
Loco Taqueria aka San Loco
Big Pink
Finnegan's on Ocean Drive (not Lincoln!)

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  1. I agree. The participation on this board has taken a nosedive since the upgrade. The posting with the largest participation is one for Mexican food with a California twist (which being from California, I can understand the dilemma)? Give me a break! I'll chime and and agree with most of your posts except with Nikki Beach. Is it really a budget place? I havent' been for a while. Also, have you tried the Finnegan's on the River? I drove by it a few months ago but apparently it's now open. Another reason to cross the bridge.

    1. I moved to Miami a year ago from Los Angeles and was just going to ask if the board traffic was affected by the fact that it is off season. I like a lot of those on your list and will have to try a few others. I would add Prime 112 and River Oyster Bar to the list of over $20 and add Tamarind Thai to the under $20 list.

      1. For the budget section, I'd add Puerta Sagua, Dave's Cafe and Chalan on the Beach.

        1. How about Wish in the >$20 category? I've always loved that place.

          And as far as less participation, I would attribute it to the "off-season" reason. The California board is quite busy lately.

          1. Forgot about Wish. I went for Miami Spice and it was pretty good.

            scscr - is it "sc" as in USC? And I agree with your suggestions. Also, for dives (less than $10), El Rey del Chivito on Collins near 71st.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lax2mia

              Yes...It's for USC, but also combined with the initials of my company.

            2. Weirdly, I also find that the dates of updates seem to be screwy as well since the upgrade - there is nothing new in a thread yet it moves forward 3 days - go figure.

              I second adding the River Oyster, and I'd add Su Shin in Coral Gables to Moderate and Dogma (Upper East version) to Budget. Come to think of it, had a number of good meals at Le Bon over the summer months too - add them to Expensive. Finally, I'd add on that the Rosinella's downtown is great too, if the OP meant the one on Lincoln.

              Also, although it's not my list, I think in this town you need a Very Expensive list as over $20 for an entree (like River) and over $35 and entree (like Wish) necessitate a whole different level of quality in order to recommend.

              BTW, with the new registering requirement, I had to forfeit my old handle, so I'm Bill (hard to believe someone already had it, huh?) for those who remember me from my Orlando days.

              Tonight, it's China Grill for the Spice menu. Anyone tried the Spice menu at Baleen yet this year?

              1. Lario's belongs on the list too! I am not sure how I forgot that one? Best Cuban on the beach.

                Fifty got a great write up in the New Times this week...does anyone have anything to say about this Ocean Drive eatery?

                Another budget place I forgot to mention was the Creperia on Espanola Way and Tapas and Tintos, also on Espanola Way.

                1. Having been here for soo long I cannot beleive I have never eaten at Escopazzo! Is it still as good as they say? I see where they are participating in Miami Spice, but were above putting their Spice menu in print? That raises a red flag for me. Have you been lately? Has anyone done Miami Spice there? Every time I go for high end Italian, we wind up at Osteria del Teatro...just too good to change.

                  1. Giancarla cooks from the heart like the Italians do. and perhaps Escopazzo is one the few in Florida to feature mostly Italian regional dishes, is unpretentious and with a beautiful wine list.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: foodnwineandy

                      I agree with the Escopazzo review, I had a wonderful experience there, good service as well as the food. Creek 28 in the Indian Creek Hotel is definetly a up and comer on the beach as well. They have a beautiful outdoor dining area and great prices.

                    2. My 2c ->

                      I'd add Talulah to my list in the $$$ category - one of my favorite places on the beach.

                      Went once to Ola after they moved to the beach and found the place awfully bright and sterile (esp. compared to the great space they had before on Biscayne). I like to think I pay the most attention to the food and not the atmosphere, but I found the experience wasn't nearly as pleasant. Go figure.

                      Went to Pacific Time for the first time in several years recently, and the place just seems tired. They had pretty much the same exact menu that they had 10 years ago. It was like a time warp.

                      Really enjoy Mark's every time I go, but never think of it - maybe because it is awfully expensive, even comapred to other pricey places on the beach.

                      I'd add Cafeteria in the $$ range, and Piola in the $ range. Also find Jerry's Deli to be pretty reliable although their prices stretch the upper range of bargain dining.

                      Only been to Mr. Chu's once but thought it was pretty good - not enough of a sampling to vouch for it though.

                      Has anyone else tried Creek 28? Years ago there used to be a nice restaurant in this space but I suspect it's a struggle b/c it's out of the way.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Frodnesor

                        I love Creek 28. Reminds me of old Abby Dining Room.

                      2. Creek 28 has same exec chef as used to be at the Abbey. I was excited to hear there's a new restaurant at the Indian Creek, but the "sample menu" on the website looks really uninspired and didn't inspire me to go.

                        Glad to hear it's good - what do you like there?

                        1. It's OK. "Uninspired" is a bit harsh, but actually suitable. It's one thing had the food not been well executed and I've been to many overly inspired (read Vix) places that haven't executed so Creek 28 gets points for that. Plus a wine list that is so reasonable as to be insane by Miami standards. The restaurant has a nice outdoor setting and the service is friendly and efficient. There's no reason this place should not be around for a while as an "old reliable".

                          1. Well-made food and a fair wine list will go a long way with me. Agree on Vix as well - this place looked great (although outrageously pricey) but the best thing was the bread plate (which, I will say, had a great combination of Indian-inspired breads and dips). It was interesting enough that I'd try it again, though, so long as someone else is paying.