Recs for 2 foodies in Miami for 6 days
We'll be in Miami for 6 days end of Nov staying in SoBe and would love some recs for some interesting places to try while we're there. Will likely spend 2 of these days in Everglades/Keys & would like recs for places there too. We love seafood, Latin American food and jsut about anything unique and authentic. Decor doesn't matter - it's the food that counts. No chain resto recs please!
If you're sticking just to South Beach while in Miami, my recommendations would be:
All do "New American", for lack of a better term. Mark's in particular does a nice job of incorporating local product but they're all very good.
To feel a little more local influence, you could try Yuca on Lincoln Road. This place was cutting edge several years ago in incorporating Cuban and other Latin ideas, has become sort of old hat now but I still think the food is great. The guava-BBQ ribs in particular are outstanding.
On the lower-brow side, again just focusing on South Beach and getting some local flavor, I'd suggest:)
Tap Tap - Haitian food in a very funky spot on 5th St.
Puerto Sagua - typical Cuban food in a diner-style location on South Beach (7th & Collins
If you want to broaden your horizons beyond South Beach, I would add:
Ortanique (Coral Gables) - excellent Nuevo Caribbean
Cacao (Gables) - high-brow pan-Latin with influences from all over South and Central America.
Jaguar (Coconut Grove) - ceviches in particular are very good, and quite a variety (you can get a "spoon sampler" of a half-dozen and figure out what you like)
Casa Juancho (8th Street)- fairly traditional Spanish (not Cuban)
For a really unusual experience: in the back of the Citgo gas station on 17th Street and US1 (coming South off I-95 as you would be if coming from the Beach towards Coconut Grove) there is a fantastic little tapas place called El Carajo. They've got about 20-30 tapas choices plus about half dozen or more entrees, plus a surprisingly nice wine selection (take anything off the shelf for $15 over retail). The piquillo peppers stuffed with bacalao with a squid ink sauce is one of the greatest dishes I have had - anywhere.
My tongue is tingling thinking about ceviche - I LOVE IT. ON that note - anywhere with good pulpo ceviche (octopus)? We are definately willing to go outside of SoBe to explore the city so any recs welcome. Thanks!
If you want something unique on the way to the Keys, try Alabama Jacks. Take the Turnpike all the way down to Florida City, and there will be a left turn to Card Sound Road (I think there's a Long John Silver's on the right). Take Card Sound to the toll booth (it was $1 last time I was there) and you're in Downtown Card Sound -- which is really just a coupla boat slips and Alabama Jack's. You want a Florida seafood shack w/wooden tables and crusty sailors? You got it. Continue down Card Sound and you'll hook up w/US 1 right around Key Largo to get to the rest of the Keys.
On the beach there's Altamar for good seafood. It's on the quieter west end of Lincoln Road. Basic and fresh. There's also River Oyster Bar fairly near the Beach in Downtown. Good raw bar with a couple of ceviches and the occasional octopus dish. Good all around seafood and Latin/Caribbean inspired food. Novecento in Miami Beach and in Brickell (near River Oyster) serve Argentine food (steak, pastas, etc.). Not fabulous but very Argentine.
Frodnesor always has good suggestions so take mine as an addition to his list. Jaguar for ceviche is a good suggestion, especially because of the variety. Also the crepe with sweet cream dessert is awesome.
Novecento for Foodies???
Come on, you must be kidding. It's one of the WORST culinary nightmares in town (And there are plenty).
I second Altamar, very fresh fish and seafood, the location and the service though are not on a high note.
To venture outside of the beach area:
The River (It changed its name from The River Oyster Bar) is very good.
Pascal Oudin's eponymous restaurant in Coral Gables, one of the most respectable toques in town, great modern French cuisine here.
Duo in South Miami Avenue near the Four Seasons Hotel, modern ambiance, wonderful food presentations and exceptional wines.
Timo, in Sunny Isles, simpler menu but nice, charming service and decor, location is less than average.
Azul, fabulous setting and views, but the food is perhaps less inspired than ever before, and expect to pay $$$$.
Avoid the foodie scams:
Forge, Prime 112, Barton G.
I don't particularly feel strong about any of the first recs, Neither Talula nor Mark's provided any memorable experiences, Nemo is also good but not great.
My favorite octopus dishes are at Ouzo's, a Greek place on Normandy Island (71st Street on the beach). They have octopadi a few different ways but my favorite is the simplest, a grilled octopus appetizer with a squeeze of lemon on top (huge serving for an appetizer). Place is nothing fancy, just a neighborhood joint, but I love that octopus.
Another place you're pretty sure of finding octopus would be Cacao in the Gables. Fancy place with a menu that borrows ideas from all over South America.
As for hellramsay, I guess it's true there's no accounting for taste. Timo is one of my old reliables for a good meal and pleasant service (I especially like the tripe appetizer they do in the cooler months), but my reaction to Pascal's is exactly the same as yours is to Talula and Mark's - it's never provided me any memorable experience. It's certainly among the best French places in town, but not very different than something you could get any number of other places around the country. I'm tired of Nemo because they never change the menu, but for a visitor who's never been I think you could certainly do worse. Have heard good things about Duo but haven't been yet.
Prime 112 is one of the best restaurants on the beach. hellramsey is way off -- it is just that the steak is not great but most other things are.
You might want to try El Chalan (Aji Chicken, tripe, and seafood with rice -- Cau Cau de Mariscos are all winners)for lunch.
I really like Sardinia too, italian but nice and light with very fresh ingredients. Loved the seabass even though they did not get all the bones out of mine. Sweetbreads are another winner here. Their seafood pasta dishes are really great too. For dessert, their vanilla and zabagione gelatto is great -- did not really love their other desserts though. You really come out of this place thinking you ate healthy...
Puerto Sagua is the best cuban on the beach. Davids is solid too.
I'm a big fan of Macaluso's lunch spot (meatball heros, or meatballs app & garlic bread - which is my fave, sausages, salads, cheesecake, vanilla cake are all winners here and you don't have to put up with the waits at the restaurant)
I have been itching to go to Creek 28 which is a Mediterranean place.
I think Yuca is ok but way overpriced.
I am currently loving the dim sum menu @ Mr Chu's not unique but really good. They finally got rice noodle dishes there, my fave, and the pinapple buns for dessert are killer -- lunch only.
Of course, there is always Outback Steak House...sorry had to do that :)
If you are willing to venture out of SOBE there are many other places to try, such as.
Tamarind - Thai place. If you are from toronto though I would understand you not wanting to go but it is very good and the best thai in miami by a good margin, which is not saying much.
Francesco's - Best peruvian in miami, the ceviche is the best I had and the pasta or risotto nero will knock your socks off.
Hy Vong - Been dying to try this place...Vietnamese
Graziano's - I'd go to the original on Bird Road which is better than the one in CG, one of my favorite restaurants, you must get the veal chop (only on brid road though CG doesnt do the veal chop nearly as well) and dulce de leche crepe for dessert...Probably the best argintinian steakhouse in the US and certainly the best one I went to.
Here are some places to eat on your drive to or back from the Keys. I haven't been to Key West, but as far as the Keys goes, I usually pack my own food and wine. There is not even a good place I'd recommend for kitsch value. It's like IHOP food mixed with dark captain's quarters.
Homestead - (town before the keys)
Krome Avenue, the main strip, has a bunch of mexican eateries -the best one is a little restaurant behind El Toro Taco - at this little place, you can get a seafood soup and rice for about $6.00
Farmer's Market Restaurant - fresh catch of the day simple country cooking owned by an old couple from Florida - BYOB is okay.
Redland Farmer's Market - U.S. 1 and SW 244th Street - large barn size Mexican Farmer's market - has freshest El Salvadorean pupusas, and pick up some lime & rice for the suggestion below:
A-OK Fish and Bait - if you bring a cooler, they have the best fished yellowtail here. Eat it raw as sashimi or ceviche.
And of course at SW 160th st/Colonia Drive there is Pho Thang, real vietnamese noodle soup - great after a day at the beach.
If you're in Key Largo, we recommend the Fish House. Very fresh fish with good sauces. The desserts are outstanding. Nice people.
OPA = Greek on Ocean Drive in SOBE.
Lario's = Cuban on Ocean Drive in SOBE.
Tapas y Tintos = Spanish Tapas on Espanola Way in SOBE.
Latin American Cafe = Cuban on Lincoln Rd in SOBE.
Balans = British Nouveau on Lincoln Rd in SOBE.
The Pit = BBQ out on the Tamiami Trail enroute to or from the Everglades.
Calypso = Seafood in Key Largo.
Ricky's Blue Heaven = Scrumptous in the Bahamian District Key West.
WISHIN' YOU GOOD GRAZIN' IN THE FLA!