Help - miami/miami beach place for dad and me
Sf ch coming to take dad out for his birthday. He likes standard american(beef ribs, steak)- although he could be talked into lobster :), I can't stand american food and love upscale/gourmet and fish (raw preferred). Is there a place that could satisfy us both? Considering Joes Stone Crab but the wait would probably be uncomfortable for him (no res right?).
So.... is there a really good place where I could get a great tasting menu and he could find something familiar enough to be happy? - well you get the idea (I hope). This is for early Nov so need suggestions asap (esp if need to make reservations)
Have been to Francesco's only once but had a wonderful experience there. If you are determined to try steak and potatoes, try an Argentinian steak house such as Graziano's or Vacas Gordas. Novacento in South Beach is also Argentinian and very cool. They also have Italian dishes due to the large Italian population there. Also Christy's in Coral Gables is a traditional, non chain steak and chops restaurant.
It's been ages since I've been to The Forge so I can't speak from recent experience, but it can be fun. It's sort of an over-the-top steakhouse, crowd is usually there more to be seen than to eat good food.
I am a huge Talula fan but will say that I've had one bad experience there too. We were sitting in the outside area with a table of about 10 people and the service was just absolutely atrocious. Our waiter was a complete dingbat, took forever to get served, stuff came out cold... but that was one bad night compared to dozens of good ones (yes we go there often). Complaints about the scope of the menu seem odd - there's usually a few salads, a half dozen+ apps, always a soup special (which is usually great by the way), and 8+ entrees with multiple fish and meat options, several extra veggie or starch sides, plus usually a special app and 1-2 special entrees. Pretty consistent with most other similar restaurants I've been to.
Wow. f&wandy has had the only bad experience I've known anyone to have at Talula. It also seems to have been a multi-layered bad experience. I can understand one or two things being off, but you hit the lottery on a bad dining experience. In their defense, there is street parking as well as the MB Library lot a few doors down. Other than that, I've never had problems with their food or service. It's always been a solid experience for me.
estnet, you've gotten some good recommendations. I think you should leave Joe's out since the wait can still be interminable, even on weeknights (tourists don't have work schedules so they'll hang out all night to eat here if they have to). Besides the aforementioned places, there's Joe Allen's, which I'd recommend only if you're feeling generous and want to appease your father. The food is totally American, but there's pasta and some fish dishes (nothing raw and no ceviche). It's very basic but very good. Again, it'd be a sacrifice to appease dad. Out of the places mentioned, I'd choose River Oyster Bar, Talula, and maybe Smith and Wollensky just for the view.
BTW, will be heading to SFO soon. Any recs or favorite places?
Thanks for all the suggestions - keep them coming
Can someone who's been to the Forge comment?
I'm all for Cuban (used to live in Miami) - but sadly dad is not. Fish doesn't have to be raw (and yes ceviche counts), but I'm really looking for an excellent meals that I can enjoy instead of just "being there" while dad eats stuff I won't touch. BTW dad lives on Miami Beach - but I'll rent a car so Coral Gables is possible. How long would the wait likely be at Joe's on a weeknight?
No doubt the food scene in SF is leagues beyond what you will find in Miami, but don't be so depressed. The question wasn't "What are the best restaurants in Miami?," it was (to paraphrase) "Where is a place that both Steak & Potatoes Dad and Upscale Esoteric-Eating Son can eat happily?"
Ortanique and Chispa are a couple of my favorites, but they are not places where I'd expect someone who likes "standard American" food to be happy. Sometimes for the sake of family tranquility you make some sacrifices, even if that means going to a chain steakhouse. (Or, of course, you drag them out to a meal you'll enjoy, and resign yourself to spending the night answering all the "What the heck is chimmichurri?" questions).
I just had the pleasure of spending five weeks in San Francisco and have lived in South Florida for over 30 years. You will be disappointed. You are better off trying some of our unique local spots such as Chispa, Ortanique, Joe's. You will not find the fruits and vegetables at all comparable. We miss the farmers market at the Ferry Building. Coral Gables has plenty of good restaurants. Talula, Prime 112 for steak and Alta Mar for seafood in South Beach are good. Very depressing to me that chain restaurants are being recommended. We loved a little neighborhood joint in SF on Steiner called Izzy's Steaks and Chops. Nothing remotely like that here. Also Francesco's in Coral Gables has Peruvian seafood with superb ceviche. For a real Miami experience try Casa Juancho for good Spanish food and great ambiance. It is on SW 8th St in Little Havana. Hope this helps.
Both you and dad could also probably be happy at any of the high-end steakhouses, all of which (especially here in Miami) will have a number of seafood choices although not necessarily raw. You can pick from (listed roughly in my order of preference) -
Capital Grille (Brickell)
Prime 112 (South Beach)
Morton's (Brickell or North Miami)
Smith & Wollensky (South Beach)
The Palm (Coral Gables or Bay Harbor)
Ruth Chris (Coral Gables)
Prime 112 is probably the best bet for appeasing your upscale/gourmet yen (i.e. something other than a grilled fish with butter sauce). Capital Grille has a great appetizer with crispy calamari and hot peppers.
Jaguar is an interesting suggestion. This is the kind of place I've always avoided because it seems like it doesn't know what it wants to be - is it a ceviche bar? is it a grill? is it a Mexican place? Usually this kind of identity crisis means everything (or at least most of it) is mediocre. But I went here recently and had both the ceviche sampler and one of the Mexican entrees, and sure enough they were both great. They have a fantastic selection of a bunch of different ceviches, and they do also grill a bunch of different cuts of steak (although I've never had).
When you say raw, would ceviche count? I know it's cooked in the citrus, but it is essentially raw.
I'd recommend the following:
Jaguar in Coconut Grove. This place has the best ceviche (try the "nuevo") I have ever eaten. It's billed as a LATAM Grill and Ceviche Spoon Bar. And although I have never tried their steaks, there are several to choose from and they are all Black Angus. Those blue corn chicken taquitos are awesome as were the Sopes with Conchinita Pibil. Excellent place!
Chart House also in Coconut Grove may work well for you and Pop. Yes, it is a chain, however it is right on Biscayne Bay and their steaks and seafood shine. The salad bar is second to none.
The Forge in mid Miami Beach. Fufu all the way and perfect for those special occasions. An institution here in the MIA. Not sure about the raw fish?
OLA on Ocean Drive could also work well for you. Latin fusion food with plenty of ceviche. Get the cooked Mahi crusted in green plantains served in two puddles one hot one not. Tomato escabeche and shreadded oxtail stew. WOW!
River Oyster House-Brickell area. Also does nice ceviche and seafood. They too offer steak.
NOBU-South Beach. I'm not sure about the steak angle, but they will sure have you covered.
Raw fish and steak are a tuff combo. The best possible place for that combination is definately Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar and LATAM Grill in Coconut Grove. Otherwise, one of you will probably not be 100% satisfied. Start out with the spoon sampler than get an Amazon plate of the one you like or mix and match the spoons you like on your next sampler. Aji amarillo or nuevo style with Calamari or Shrimp or Black Market where they mix the two is frickin' phenomenal!
One of my favorites in Miami Beach, and which also may fit the bill, is Talula. Fits your upscale/gourmet/fish desires: they do a very nice tuna tartare appetizer, also have a kampachi ceviche which I haven't tried yet but looks great (we always sit at the kitchen bar and so we pretty much see the whole menu going out), and usually have multiple fish choices for a main. Plus, always on the menu is "Frank's char-grilled steak" usually a choice of a strip, ribeye, filet or hangar steak - nothing fussy, just a good old-fashioned nice piece of grilled meat (with some great onion rings too).
Also, the place is not so chi-chi-south-beach that dad will be put out by it (not to pre-judge, but I suspect dad's not hanging out at the Delano much).