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Vacationing in South Beach

In October. Philly hound. Have been to S.B. at least 7 times. Looking for new restaurant experiences. Staying at the Loews will not have a car. Wife loves Steak and Italian. I will eat anything but Indian. Some of the places we have eaten at over the years:

Barton G (for some reason I LOVE this place);
Joe Allen (disappointing meal last time; first time was great);
Front Porch (will definitely eat there again. and again.);
Spris (a good old standby);
Balans (had brunch, it was just ok.);
Big Pink (for some reason I LOVE this place);
The Tides (disappointing last time, not worth the "take out a second mortgage" prices);
the restaurant at the Pelican Hotel (can't think of the name);
Van Dyke Cafe and of course the News Cafe (yeah, yeah, I know, "Can you say tourist trap?" never had more than an average meal there);
Joe's Stone Crab (will not go back, wife was ready to kill chef for overcooking her steak and the vaunted hash browns were uber-greasy);
Cafe Nexxt (feh!);
That's all that comes to mind, but do the math (7 visits X three meals a day X average stay of 4 days) and there are tons of other places we have been to. Thanks in advance. And, hey, can you order up some perfect weather?

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  1. Places I would add to your list:

    Talula - around 23rd and Collins (walking distance from the Loews) - upscale food, modest laid back space, husband-and-wife chef team both of whom had very successful restaurants previously. If your wife likes steak, they always have an angus beef ribeye or filet which is excellent. Soup specials are always delicious, I especially love almost all the appetizers here - tuna tartare, shrimp tamale, foie gras w/ blue corn cakes... they also often have a lavender crusted venison loin which is great.

    Cafeteria - on Lincoln Road - fun place to go, menu is mostly upscale "comfort food". Great breakfast (24 hours a day too).

    Rosinella (Lincoln Road) - good casual Italian. I love their vitello tonnato.

    Mr. Chu's (around 8th and Washington) does very good Chinese including great dim sum.

    Yuca (Lincoln Rd) A decade (or more) ago this place was on the cutting edge of nuevo-latino cuisine. Nobody ever talks about it any more, but I still think it's really good. Nice empanada appetizer, the guava BBQ baby-back ribs are among the best ribs I've ever had, and I also really like the rabo encendido (braised oxtail). This was originally Douglas Rodriguez's place (now of Ola).

    1. Thanks for the recs. Talula is definitely on our list. I've eaten at Cafeteria a couple times, not sure we will do so again as we want to try other places. Would love to try Mr. Chu's but the wife doesn't eat Chinese :-(. For Italian, there is a restaurant whose name escapes me that we ate at several years ago. It's on Collins, smooshed between the Impala and what is now a Comfort Inn or Best Western. We were thinking of trying that again. But Rosinella's menu looks interesting. We were also thinking about going to Macarena's around midnight one night and have tapas. Your thoughts?

      1. Never been to Macarena but it looks awfully touristy to me. We don't do Italian often so I'm not sure I can guess the place you're thinking of on Collins.

        One more I would add to the list (tried for the first time tonight!) is Le Bon on Lincoln Road. Belgian place run by same folks as Tiramisu and Spris. Nice place, great mussels (several different preparations to choose from), good frites, and excellent selection of belgian beers. Also had other authentic Belgian items on the menu.

        1. Rondo>

          For Italian near the Lowe's... Hosteria Romana on Espanola Way or the pricier Osteria Teatro on Espanola at Washington. The new Italian hot spot on Lincoln is Quattro... really good but pricey.

          Breakfast on Espanola at A La Folie... Brunch Sunday at Nemo is still tops in town... Sit on the patio outside Prime 112 and have a spendy cocktail and a few tidbits from the menu like a gigantic shrimp cocktail and (hate to say it) the best Lobster Bisque I've ever spent $18 to try!!! (Jeez an $18 bowl of soup!!) hahahahahaaaa It was so delicious. Big chunks of lobster and a stick of butter & cream! mmmmmmmmm

          Hit Smith & Wollensky's back patio at 3pm for a sundowner cocktail and watch the cruise ships glide by. Good garlicky Caesar and a decent club sandwich... ditto the clubs poolside at the Raleigh where a lunch check also buys you entree to one of the Beach's cool pools...

          TapTap on 5th is still good... Chalan on Washington near Lincoln... Burrito dog at Dogma Grill just west of the Lowe's on Washington if you're a hot dog guy. OH! Check out Vino on 16th near Washington in the evening for lovely wines and tapas. Frieze Ice Cream at Lincoln south on Michigan and the Ice Box Cafe at Lincoln north on Michigan (brunch dinner and definitely dessert!!)

          Now I'm hungry.



          1. WOW! Thanks, AG!
            FRODNESOR: I love mussels so I will definitely hit Le Bon. That's about the only Belgian place I've heard of in SoBe. We have a number of Belgian style restaurants up here.
            AG: We ate at Osteria del Teatro last time we were down. I know it's a big fave on this board but we were not impressed. Off night or ordered the wrong things, I'm not sure. Brunch at Nemo sounds good, especially since we will be arriving on a Sunday morning, but I'm still smarting from the $9 7&7 I had at the bar last time. You can imagine how I feel about an $18 bowl of soup. LOL. Will definitely add your other suggestions (the Raleigh sounds tres interesting) and see what we can fit in. But, hey, there's always next trip (we come down about twice a year). Thanks again, youse guys. If you ever have to come to Philly, drop me a line on the Pennsylvania board.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Rondo

              I second Le Bon! Really the only place to eat on Lincoln that isn't disgusting. Go btwn 5-7PM-mussels and frites 1/2 price! Great place to start your evening.

            2. Rondo>

              Bring me a Lee's Imperial and we're all set!

              (Substitute Grazie at 7/Washington for Teatro on your list if you don't mind the walk... )


              1. Oh, come now, there's at least a couple other decent places on Lincoln Road -- Rosinella ... Cafeteria ... ummmm ... maybe Sushi Samba if someone else is paying?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Frodnesor

                  Sorry-Maybe disgusting was too strong. But I noticed you had a little trouble coming up with much! :)

                2. Ah, one more - Yuca. But I will give you that Lincoln Road is not the pinnacle of Miami eating.

                  1. Well, I'm back in Philly. Thanks for all the suggestions. Did not get a chance to go to Le Bon, but it smelled REALLY good passing through. Also never made it to Talulah, but there is always next trip. Frodnesor, thanks for the Rosinella tip, it was good. But stay away from the mojitos there. Worst. Ever. AG, props for S&W at sunset. Bonus, we got a kick out of watching the locals walking/exercising their dogs at South Pointe Park. Quite a few of them swimming in the bay. Dogs, not people. Had the crabcake appetizer at S&W and it was fabulous! They make a great martini as well. Most disappointing meal was Cafeteria for lunch. Had a chicken BLT. Too much arugula made it too bitter. Took the arugula out - tasteless! Also ate at Pasha (hummus good, mixed grille ok, a little overcooked). So, not everything on Lincoln Drive is "digusting" - you just have to pick your spots, Danny. Wife doesn't do sushi or Chinese or Cuban or. . .but while she was picking up a slice at Pizza Rustica I was scoring empanadas at Dave's, just off Lincoln. Very good and very cheap. Looking forward to my next visit already. If we rent a car next time, I'll be back asking for other recs. Till then, ciao.

                    1. Always nice to hear of a satisfied South Beach visitor.

                      But honestly, what are you doing getting a mojito at an Italian place? If you wanted a good mojito, you could have had drinks down the street at Yuca first and then gone to Rosinella. Ah, live and learn. (Although I still think the worst mojito is a god-awful creme de menthe infused concoction I had at Mark's Las Olas once).

                      1. Simple. I was on vacation so my brain was disengaged. Had an overly friendly, pushy waiter and I ordered it just to shut him up. Shoulda had a Peroni instead. If you want a good mojito, come up to Philly and go to Alma de Cuba or Pasion. Interesting thing about Yuca. We passed by it several times, didn't see anyone in there.

                        1. Yuca is just completely off everyone's radar these days. I'll admit it's been a year or more since I've been there myself, but when I went it was as good as ever and there's been no chef change for years. Go figure.