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Jan 2, 2007 06:53 PM

Few days in South Beach

It's been a few years since I've been..and have some old favorites..but would like some new ideas too. No car..can cab or walk; but want to stay fairly close to where we're staying on Ocean and 5th. Want to mix up high end and ethnic.

Here's my currrent list.


China Grill

Chalan on the Beach

Puerta Sagua

Dave's Cafe

Sushi Samba..never been but have read positive reports here.

Tap Tap..never been.

Taverna Opa? like it but was just at FLL branch

Any additions or deletions?


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  1. The Ice Box cafe is excellent and reasonably priced, and also supposedly has one of the best selections of basked goods ever. I didn't try the sweets but a friend did. Can't remember the exact location but is located on the pedestrian mall area (Lincoln Road).

    1 Reply
    1. re: kayonyc

      Ice Box desserts are really good but not the "Best Ever" by any means. That said, the Bananna bread pudding is awesome and the best thing they serve, followed by the german chocolate cake.

    2. Nobu is great, I like China Grill but some folks don't, never done Chalan, Puerto Sagua and David's are servicable Cuban, Sushi Samba is good but very pricey. Haven't been to Tap Tap in ages but I have a friend who goes every time he's in town. Haven't been to Opa but seems people go more for the scene than the food. I like going to Ice Box for brunch but am usually disappointed with the dinners.

      My favorite high end on the beach is Talula around 23rd and Collins. Husband and wife chef team, a little more laid back than much of South Beach, but they take the food seriously. My favorites include the tuna tartare, the shrimp tamale, soups are always excellent, steak is great, and when they have the venison it's my favorite.

      Mr. Chu's at 8th & Ocean does very nice dim sum for lunch and the regular Chinese is also quite good.

      I have heard that Johnny Vincenz has reopened at the Astor. He's one of my favorite local chefs (was there several years ago, then moved up to open in Ft Lauderdale, is now reopening down here again) and if it's open I'd definitely try it. Imagine Bobby Flay if his influence was Latin America instead of Southwest.

      Le Bon on Lincoln Road does good Belgian (esp. mussels & frites) and has a great selection of Belgian beers. Do the steamed mussel pots, not the broiled platters (I had the latter and they were overhwelmingly cheesy and made no sense to me).

      There are several new high-end places you haven't listed but I haven't tried many:
      Vix - (Hotel Victor on Ocean) - been there, "Vix" apparently stands for "Very Expensive". The menu sounds great but the execution was disappointing. Wouldn't go back.
      8 1/2 - in the Clinton Hotel on Washington (haven't tried
      Fifty - 4th & Ocean (haven't tried
      The Standard Hotel - old Lido Hotel on Venetian Causeway (haven't tried) - Menu by Eric Ripert, simple Mediterranean
      Sardinia - (Purdy Ave) - have heard good things but haven't been.

      1. Thanks...Nemo is another place I've enjoyed.

        We liked Talula but didn't love it.

        I was a fan of Johnny Vincenz at the Astor some time back.

        Funny side note..I notice you responded recently to a post on South Beach I made in 2001. You have good taste..:)

        The "other Boston poster" on that thread and I have become good friends.

        1. Here is what I would add
          Prime 112 - Ignore the steak and the fondue, get the rest of the food one of the best restaurants on the beach if you follow what I say.

          Tuscan Steak

          Mr Chu - especially lunch.

          Social - depending if sceney is a huge positve (must go then on friday or saturday) must avoid if not. Despite what some people say here, social has some very good dishes and you can get away with a very good meal here. Do not get desserts here.

          Le Bon - Go only during the happy hour special (5:30-7:30) when it is a downright bargain. Otherwise Frodnesor's comments are dead on.

          A La Folie

          Blue Door is very good buy there is a good chance you have been...

          Marks, very good but have not been in a while.

          Sardinia - I really like this place, but you should go for lunch. Dinners are too crowded now and they don't take reservations.

          Joes Stone Crab - Go if you have never been. My guess is you have...

          Nemo and Talula which you have already commented on...

          Places to nix...
          I would probably nix Sushi Samba. Though I like it, SS is really an inferior version of nobu, though the food is not exactly the same.

          There are a bunch of new places I have not tried yet but will very soon.
          Johnny V
          Table 8
          The Setai - Not new, but I am hearing rumblings that it is greatly improved so I now have to try it...

          Btw if you finalize your list, I can offer up dishes at many of the places you choos.

          1. Here are the finalists..:) Rather than 4 sit down dinners, we're going to do more of a grazing approach..have a or 2 at several places.

            Astor Place..Vincenz took over last week

   to at least see it

            Nobu...sucker for their creamy crab dish and black cod

            Blue Door...been but will skip this trip..have a drink at the bar

   but will skip..their menu is virtually identical to what it was when they first opened.

            Joe's..been but can't go to miami without a stop

            Sushi Samba..out

            China Grill..when done right which is most of the time; I really like their Szechuan Beef..blatant knockoff of a dish at Chinois on Main..but so is the whole restaurant and I don't care..:)

            Considering Sardinia..sounds great but we're not up to dealing with crowds..try it next trip when it cools off. Was turned off by Prime 112 for same reason. I didn't eat there; could barely find a place to stand there..:)

            Chalan, Puerta Sagua, Dave's in. We have 1 good Peruvian restaurant in Boston..and not much in the way of Cuban.

            No Chinese (cept China Grill)..too much good stuff home.

            We don't do the late night thing anymore; but it will be a great treat to wander around a beautiful and warm city..not bundled up for a few days and nights..though we've had a very mild winter.

            Thx for the ideas and will report back.