Best of SOBE ?
We're visiting SouthBeach for the first time in years...we're in our 40s and would love to try some great restaurants, but not too flashy/loud or wildly overpriced. Thanks for your suggestions.
(We tend to favor fish/vegetables - we're not 'steak people.') Thank you!
I've recently become a fan of Le Bon. They have great steamed mussels, fries and a good list of Belgian beers. It's in the 700 block of Lincoln, I believe.
Le Bon is good (just went there tonight actually!) but the Belgian food doesn't give much of a sense of local flavor, especially if you're not a regular visitor.
One of my favorites is Talula around 23rd & Collins. Much more laid back place than most on South Beach, and excellent food with a good variety of fish to choose from usually. "Wildly overpriced" is a relative thing. I think Talula has gotten pretty pricey (apps mostly over $15 and mains mostly over $30) but that's not outrageous by SoBe standards.
A few other places which are good for some local flavor are Nemo, Pacific Time, and Yuca. All are probably around the same range, and because they've been around a while are not overwhelmingly "scene-y".
My wife just went to Macaluso's this past week and thought it was great. Old school Italian, the whole menu is on a chalkboard, don't try to ask for substitutions, etc. Rosinella on Lincoln Road is also good for simple, good Italian (gnocchi are very good there and I love their vitello tonnato).
I like Le Bon only on the happy hour special between 5:30-7, otherwise it is overpriced, but still good. It is a bargain during happy hour.
Osteria Del Teatro - Best non-chain restaurant in miami not overly flashy and much more quiet now that crobar is under renovations
Nobu - realize it is a chain but it is the best if you get
their specialty dishes -- not their sushi. Flashy and loud btw
Joes Stone Crab - tough to beat their king crab claws...a miami beach institution, you should go at least once. Not flashy but loud.
Prime 112 - The steakhouse where you should not order steak. Awesome mac & cheese, onion soup, lobster bisque...Flashy and loud but a different kind of flashy and loud than Nobu
Talula- great place fits your requirements
Nemo - ditto
Alta Mar - you will really like this fish place that is not loud or flashy and has great food
Sardinia - strong newcomer is not flashy but is loud though. Otherwise it is right up your alley. Go for lunch if you want quiet...
Macaluso's - I like their lunch spot better than their dinner spot, because there are no hassles to eating there and all their best stuff is available for lunch.
Grazie-very good but not as good as osteria
Oops I forgot Tuscan steak, where the steak is very good but so is everything else, especially the gnocci gorgonzola.
Also, you can try Fanucci's which is not quite as good as macalusos but is solid and is not nearly as expensive.
I agree with the flashy & noisy part, and it is a chain, but if you order their best dishes it not wildly overpriced relative to other high end places on the beach because their best dishes are excellent.
If you order their sushi, you are being ripped off :).
Best dishes are:
Rock Shrimp Tempura
Black Cod Miso
If you order these @ Nobu, there is a good shot you are eating the very best meal available in SOBE.
OLA has new digs at the Sanctuary and might be worth a visit. The menu runs the gamut from steak and pork to seafood and ceviches. I can't say I've been to the new location, but visits to other locations have been good.
If you want to be sceney but not be surrounded by 20-somethings there's Quattro on Lincoln Road. I can't vouch for this one but guests on different occassions have walked by and said "that place looks cool". It may be the type of place you go while on vacation.
Quattro is a nice place for sure, expensive, but good. However, you can get a lot better italian food for the same money (Osteria in particular is much better). Macalusos and Grazie are better as well.
I went to the OLA on Ocean and was a little disappointed. Maybe it was because I liked the old place on Biscayne so much (really a unique use of an odd space), but I thought the place on Ocean was awfully bland and brightly lit. I didn't think I was much of a decor person, but it really took away from the meal. Still some good food to be had there, though. Love the ceviches, and there was a really good duck dish too.
I still think it's hard not to call Nobu overpriced, even if you get the dishes mentioned. I suspect that each of them will easily run you $20+ (in fact, probably closer to $30) for what are basically appetizers. That is more than you will pay for just about any app other than a foie gras at any other place in Miami (except the Setai - jeez, that place is unbelievable) and you are not, unlike foie, talking about base product (rock shrimp, black cod) that is incredibly expensive.
Having said that, I will still readily confess that it is one of my favorite meals in South Florida and that one of my favorite special occasion meals is an omakase at Nobu. It is not somewhere I'd suggest for someone who is looking to avoid "wildly overpriced."
By the way, if you want to get Nobu-style dishes at slightly lower prices, try Oishi in North Miami. The chef used to work there, and has clearly taken some of the menu with him -- including the toro or yellowtail tartare, the creamy spicy shrimp tempura, the "new style sashimi", and several others. Presentation is also virtually identical to what you get at Nobu.
I agree 100% that nobu is not cheap, but when I compare the best it has to offer with what similar priced restraunts have to offer in Sobe, it is usually the others that come up wanting.
Furthermore, I don't think there is a place that is cheaper than Nobu that can match Nobu's best on a pure taste basis in SOBE. Therefore, it is hard for me to call it overpriced when you are in SOBE.
This may be because many of the higher end restaurants are overpriced to begin with. But when you ask me overpriced in SOBE, I just compare to other SOBE places.
The Setai, Vix, Tantra, Barton G, Touch, Ago, Quattro, now these are overpriced (some moreso that others).
I will look into Oishi btw, thanks for the rec.
TP where have you been??? Did you fall off the edge of the earth and just climb back? It's good to have you back in the mix! You definately bring your own style of panache to this board...thanks for all your input and opinions.
Now for the original post...hmmm
1. OPA-crazy not flashy. Definately not wildly over priced, in fact it's one of sobe's best values. This Greek place does get loud=fun, people dance on the tables, but the food and drinks are the real stars here and the prices are ultra refreshing in a place where NOBU is considered by some to be a relative bargain. Actually, NOBU can be a good deal if you order right...or it can take you to the poor house if you fail to do so. Caveat Emptor...excellent choices were provided by TP should you dare try this Robert DeNiro backed super star chef's chain. Your requirements limit the sobe experience greatly!
2. Tapas and Tintos-another fun place, yes, a little loud for sure. So sit outside at this sobe Spanish Tapas bar on Espanola Way.
3. Joe's is an institution! Go for lunch, early or late for dinner to avoid the long waits. The Stone Crabs here are "wildly overpriced" for sure, but if you cannot get them fresh where you come from then get an order of Mediums to split as an app. Order more if they tingle your toes. Otherwise, go for the many fish dishes and the Bisque or Chowder.
4. Rosinella-moderate Italian food cooked up by Grandma on Lincoln Rd.
5. Osteria del Teatro-yes it's pricey Italian and can be a little flashy at times, but I've never left there feeling ripped off...in fact I always look forward to my next trip.
6. OLA is good and I too just noticed a sign on the Sanctuary Spa that said OLA Restaurant? They may be getting the boot on Ocean as that site is going up to 7 stories soon.
7. The best place to meet you requirements on sobe may be Mark's. Quiet, not flashy, but pretty pricey. Like I said earlier, it's a tuff combo...good grazin'.
If you want to truly be pleased with cuisine, ambiance, and price, take the 4 minute drive to creek 28. To explain how close it is, South Beach ends at about 21 Street. Creek 28 is on 28th, 7 blocks north. You will 100% love it.
Thank you everyone. Talulah was a winner with me and my hubby the chef. Nobu was noisy, interesting and very expensive. The best meal was at Miss Saigon - vietnamese in Coral Gables - ask for Polly and you'll be in good hands.
Alta Mar would absolutely fit your requirements. Was there last week (visiting SoBe) & really loved it - so laid back compared to many other establishments. See my review of other Miami restos from last week.