Five Hour Layover at MIA
We have a five hour layover at MIA on a Friday afternoon. We arrive at 3:20pm and leave at 8:30. Any ideas for a good dinner that we can accomplish in this time frame. I realize it is pretty early for fine dining, but any interesting suggestions would beat hanging out at the airport. Thanks!
That is a problem. Any of the 8th street Cuban places ought to be open lunchtime through dinnertime, but if you're looking for something more upscale ...
In Coral Gables, I know that Les Halles (a branch of the NY brasserie which Tony Bourdain runs when he's not making TV shows, writing books or making fun of other chefs) is open straight through. It's not nearly as great as you'd expect from the association with a celebrity chef, but it is better-than-servicable French brasserie food - frisee lardon, moules & frites, steak & frites, duck confit, cassoulet, choucroute are all good. Not much "Miami" about it.
Also not terribly locally flavored, but good, is Miss Saigon Bistro on Giralda Ave. in the Gables. Giralda is the Gables' "Restaurant Row" and there are many choices here. Miss Saigon is several steps up from a "greasy spoon" type of Vietnamese place but not fancy. According to their website they open at 5:30 for dinner, except Tuesday when it's 6:30 (??
Another possibility, although I'd call to check if they're really open straight through, is Casa Juancho on 8th Street. This is a Spanish place (not Cuban), and is a little bit hokey (strolling flamenco guitarists), but I get a kick out of it and think the food can be pretty darn good.
Coral Gables or Little Havana are probably your best bets. A few ideas:
For the Miami-Cuban experience, go to Versailles (decent Cuban food with the added bonus of blinding mirrors, chandeliers and lights), or if your eyes can't take it, La Carreta or El Pub, all along 8th Street.
For something a little more upscale, I'd suggest:
Ortanique (nuevo-Caribbean and in the center of the Gables, which is nice for a stroll)
Chispa (very good nuevo-Cuban and tapas, but not in the center of the Gables
Both of these give a good sense of the local flavors. There are all sorts of other dining possibilities in Coral Gables depending on what you're in the mood for.
Thanks for your response. If you ever need Toronto info, just post on the Ontario Board and I'll be sure to respond. I looked at Ortanique, but they don't start serving until 6, which is too late for us (the bar opens at 5). Are any of the other places likely to be open earlier? Thanks again!
I agree, and one alternative you might consider (though I love Versailles any time, day or night) is Copas y Tapas at 98 Miracle Mile (the corner of Galiano & MM). As the name might lead you to believe, it's a tapas bar which serves, in addition to a wide array of tapas, bocatas (sandwiches) out of the same chacina, and also have a very nice wine selection. If you want a full-bore, falling-asleep-on-the-taxi-back-to-the-airport meal, my suggestion is one of the Argentine (or Argentinian) restaurants on N. Collins in Little B.A./North Beach, which should be a quick trip over the Airport Exwy/I-195 and you're there.