Miami Beach Restaurants within walking distance of 63rd St
I've never heard of a Cafe Rigazzi and I live about 10 blocks away - I do know from Cafe Ragazzi, which is in Surfside (95th & Harding). Is that what you're talking about, or is there another place I've somehow never seen before? Isn't 79th & Collins the Altos del Mar area which is all residential?
Cafe Ragazzi has very good Italian food but Surfside is out of range of walking distance from 64th.
This is right in my neck of the woods; the above message names most of the places. My insights and additions:
Norman's Tavern - nice little neighborhood place around 67th & Collins. The food is decent+ and it's a good casual hangout place.
Arturo Sandoval's Jazz Club - fantastic place to hear some great music (serious, real jazz) and also get some semi-upscale Cuban food (although I'll confess I've never eaten there). Really a fun night. May need to get tix in advance. 64th and Collins, in the Deauville Hotel.
Katana - on the 71st Street Normandy Circle. Sushi place with the boats that go around. Not the greatest sushi in the world, but I like it and the boats are a kick. They also do some cooked dishes like tempura, katsu and noodle soups.
Soprano Cafe - also on Normandy Circle. Pretty good thin-crust pizza, decent salads, nice empanadas (Argentine/Italian).
El Rey del Chivito - agree, this should not be missed. One of the most remarkable sandwich combinations you will ever have. This Uruguayan creation is basically 3 meals in one. It's got sliced grilled beef, ham, mozzarella, bacon, a fried egg, mayo, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, all of it dripping with grease. Have your cardiologist's number handy.
Fu Manchu - is closed. Just read recently that this was, before it closed, the 2nd oldest continually operating restaurant in Miami (second to Joe's).
Rancho Grande - good Mexican food. I particularly like a combination plate they do which comes with an enchilada w/ salsa verde, chicken w/ mole poblano, a chile relleno, and cochinita pibil. The Sopa Azteca (sort of a cross between a tortilla soup and a sopa de albondigas) is also good.
Prima Pasta - I don't know that I'd call this "light" Italian, but it's pretty good. Run by some nice Argentines (the Normandy Circle area is like a Little Argentina). My favorites are the linguine puttanesca and the veal saltimboca.
Ouzo's - pretty good Greek food. Especially like their dips (there's a mixed dip appetizer which gets you hummus, tzatziki, an eggplant dip, and taramasalata), and the grilled octopus. There's also a mixed grill which is nice.
Vaca Gordas - good for heaping platters of grilled meats and chimichurri; there's probably better parilladas in Miami, but this is close to where you'll be and charming in its own way (although the owner can be a nasty guy).
Tamarind - interesting Thai place with some more varied choices (than we see usually here in SoFla, at least). I've actually found the food there to be disappointingly bland sometimes.
If you're willing to taxi over the 71st St. Causeway, that opens up several other choices:
Oggi Cafe - another Italian place, nothing very inspired but pretty well done.
Siam Bayshore - Thai + sushi. I go for the Thai (which I actually think is better than Tamarind), not for the sushi.
Schnitzel Haus - just on the mainland side of the bridge, good & filling traditional German food.
Uva - nice "fancy" (i.e. not Subway sandwiches) sandwich/salad/bakery place on Biscayne Blvd.
And then there's the darling of all the media, Michy's, at 69th & Biscayne. Run by celebrity chef Michelle Bernstein, this probably best fits your search for "innovative preparations". Place specializes in small dishes and "innovative preparations", and while I like it a lot, many locals have very mixed opinions about the place. Gourmet just named it one of the top 40 restaurants in the country (only one named in Florida). Rather than rehash the debate, take a look at this thread for more:
Reservations are very tough to come by.
Wow AG you are amazing! You are a virtual directory...was that all in your black book? (;-)
There is a sleeper over in that neighborhood not many people know of. It's called Prima Donna's in the ??? hotel. Anyway since AG gave you the goods with addresses and phone numbers, here goes:Prima Donna Cafe 6565 Collins Ave Miami Beach FL (305) 865-0012
It is for AA pilots and flight attendents who stay at the ??? hotel, though it is open to the public. Decent Italian, in fact the owner makes fresh pasta for many of our local Italian restaurants. Service can be sketchy...
Norman's is a pretty good choice for basic cafe food.
And if you are into ethnic, there's a great Brazilian restaurant in the gas station(I know!) on Harding and 71st St.
Also, check out Arturo Sandovals Supper club for grub and good jazz. Can't comment on the grub, but he is without a doubt the best trumpeter alive today...if he's playing GO, if not, he usually has some great talent gracing the stage.
Other excellent places on 71st Street are:
Las Vaca's Gordas-Argentine Steak House
Katana-boats floating by with sushi at the bar. Japanese style fast food, pick what you like and get charged by the plate.
Blue Sky-Cuban by the pound.
If you venture north of your hotel - the area at 71st and Collins is literally bubbling right now. There is a new storefront bar called Scrap Bar at 216 71st with live music weekends and BBQ to eat in and take out.
The neighborhood is bustling with new Miamians from South America and it's great. Lots of restaurants and bars have opened with a cross section of wonderful Latin American Cuisine, a good Italian place, a fun Greek Taverna too! Many places are opened late into the evening.
If you enjoy trying new kinds of food... you're all set. There is a local Greek family who run a fruit and juice store on 71st with fresh juices, local produce and a delicious fruit salad where you're going to want to start every day! Due north, find an Argentinian bakery and cafe where locals meet to sample the tiny pastries, hearty meat-filled empanadas, and drink strong coffee.
Closer to your place, there is a Publix supermarket with food, beer, wine and everything else to stock your room at 69th and Collins. Due north is an IHop for pancakes, due south a Dunkin Donuts... There is a little latin cafe at 63 and Collins on the NW corner which will be the closest place for an eye opening cafe and a quickie breakfast in the morning. 2 streets up is a little plaza with a Blockbuster video store, the NY bagel bar and a dairy queen.
Most places listed below can be accessed on foot or via a brief inexpensive taxi ride. I think you'll have a great time.
Athens Juice Bar - fresh fruit salads in the a.m.
6942 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL
Buenos Aires Bakery & Café - delicious pastry all day
7134 Collins Ave Miami Beach, FL
Gil's Cafe - dinner
216 71st St, Miami Beach, FL
El Rey Del Chivito - Do not miss!! Amazing belly busting sandwiches
6987 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL
Fu Manchu - basic take out chinese
325 71st St, Miami, FL
Las Vegas Restaurant - good Cuban food
6970 Collins Ave, Miami, FL
Rancho Grande - decent Mexican
314 72nd St, Miami Beach, FL
Prima Pasta Cafe - pasta & light Italian
414 71st St, Miami, FL
Panna Cafe - light cafe lunch/dinner
7301 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL
Rocky's Cheesesteak - great greasy guy food grill
7401 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL
Venezia Pizza - 24 hour!! pizza delivery to your door (HELLO? 24 hours!!)
6646 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL
Ouzo's Greek Tavarna & Bar - fun Greek cafe
940 71st St, Miami Beach, FL
Parrillada Las Vacas Gordas - excellent grilled meats
933 Normandy Dr, Miami Beach, FL
Tamarind Thai Restaurant - top rated Thai
946 Normandy Dr, Miami, FL
There isn't anything really innovative near 63rd St. that I can think of. The "excellent food" and "innovative preparations" will probably be found in the area you seem to be avoiding. All I can think of in the area is Argentinean bakeries and restaurants, but nothing upscale. Are you sure you don't want to make it down to South Beach?