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TOP DISHES IN FLORIDA

Since Netmover hasn't done one for a while, I thought I'd throw one out there: top dishes, not any particular food, you've had locally. What got me thinking about this was a recent post by someone about one of my favorite, now departed, dishes - the rib-meat hoagie at the former Johnny V diner spot on Alton Road in Miami Beach (long-gone and missed). So I'm dividing my list into 5 current favorites and 5 dearly departed faves (not in any particular order):

CURRENT:

Piquillo Peppers stuffed w/ bacalao w/ squid ink sauce (El Carajo, 17th & US1 Miami) - one of the greatest tapas I have had anywhere - and I say this after having been recently to Madrid, Bilbao & Barcelona!

Duck Salad (Timo, Sunny Isles) - thin slices of pink duck breast, slightly wilted spinach with a mustardy dressing, slivers of red onion. But the real kicker is the crostini spread with duck liver!

White Gazpacho (Michys, 60s & Biscayne) - cold almond/garlic creamy soup, poured over marcona almonds, white grapes, and dill. Simple but delicious.

Callos (Copas & Tapas, Miracle Mile) - gotta like "parts" for this one - a tripe and garbanzo stew, rich and stick-to-your-ribs good.

Okonomiyaki (Yakko San, Dixie Hwy nr 163rd St) - like nothing I've ever had before - described as a "Japanese pizza", a weird combination of a grilled pancake-y batter, cabbage, fish, okonomiayki sauce (sort of like the bbq sauce on eel sushi), mayo, fish flakes, and pickled ginger.

DEARLY DEPARTED:

Rib Meat Hoagie (Johnny V Diner Alton Rd MB) - oh, this was good - meat from bbq ribs taken off and shredded, stuffed into a hoagie roll along with some cole slaw, with a side of smoked shrimp mashed potatoes. A legendary sandwich.

Duck Tacos (Las Puertas, Giralda Ave. CG) - this one goes way back, possibly about 10 years ago, when there was a great gourmet Mexican restaurant in the space which I think is now Miss Saigon. They did these duck tacos that were just fantastic. They also once did as a special the "Chiles en Nogado" dish from the movie "Like Water for Chocolate" that were wonderful (but I digress).

Lavender Crusted Venison (Talula, MB) - not really gone, just taken off the menu. Delicious grilled venison loin rolled in lavender, sliced, served with this dense savory bread pudding. Bring it back!

Escovitch Fish (Shabeen, MB) - there used to be this great little Jamaican restaurant in the back of the Marlin Hotel on Collins Ave. They did a fantastic escovitch fish (usually a yellowtail, fried and topped with fiery, vinegary peppers. They had a great side of stuffed cho-chos (chayote squash with a sort of cheesy filling) and also did great jerk chicken. (On a side note, I'd love tips for good Jamaican/Creole in Miami - other than Tap Tap).

Foie Gras Salad (Petrossian, Bal Harbour) - now this was my kind of salad: leaves and blanched green beans, with generous strips of poached foie gras, and truffle oil!

What are your favorite Florida dishes?

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  1. In no particular order:

    Joe's Stone Crab, SOBE- King crab claws (hot) with butter, key lime pie

    Osteria Del Teatro, SOBE- Lobster Pasta Dish

    Prime 112, SOBE - Mac & Cheese, Onion Soup, Shrimp Cocktail (Nemo has the same one too)

    Le Tub, Hollywood - Hamburger

    Casa D'Angelo, FT Lauderdale - Lasagna

    Nobu SOBE - Black Cod Miso, Rock Shrimp Tempura

    Tuscan Steak, SOBE - Gnocci Gorgonzola

    Epicure, SOBE - Albacore Tuna Salad sandwich

    Francesco, Gables - Seafood Risotto Nero, Three Sauce Ceviche

    Michy's, Miami - Baked Alaska

    River Oyster Bar, Miami - Pulled Pork Sandwich

    Ice Box, SOBE - Bananna bread pudding

    Ortanique, Miami - Snapper

    Balans, SOBE- Eggs benedict (ham with sausage side).

    Macaluso's, SOBE - Meatball Heros, Ricotta Cheese Cake and best of all dishes here, but unfortunately very rarely served, Carrot Cake.

    Awesome thread btw. Kudos.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tpigeon

      KING CRAB at Joe's??????????????????????? Stone crabs, stone crabs.

      1. re: tpigeon

        I'm pulling my casa lasagna rec. Inconsistent.

        Add french toast to ice box.

        Pulling pulled pork sandwich @ river oyster RIP

        Adding babyback ribs to river oyster

        Adding aji amarillo squid ink risotto shrimp and scallops, francesco's lobster and tres leches cake to francesco

      2. Good list TP! If I hadn't limited myself to 5 I definitely would have had a few of these too, in particular the Nobu black cod and creamy spicy shrimp tempura, and Joe's key lime pie. Also the calamari salad at China Grill. Maybe the guava-BBQ ribs at Yuca (but I haven't had these for ages). And what is it that makes Epicure tuna so good?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Frodnesor

          Perfect combo of fish and mayo. This is a must try for a 6.95 sandwich. One of the best sandwiches anywhere. BTW lots of people on the NYC board think the tuna salad sandwich at bouchon bakery is awesome but they would not if they tried epicure. It is one of those singularly great items...

        2. For on the go in Melbourne/Brevard County...Grimaldi's Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

          1. Great thread for a cold January day and some great choices listed.

            The Pad Thai omelette at Wattana Thai in West Palm Beach. Also the deep-fried snapper in chili sauce.

            The tacos con lengue at Tacos al Carbone in Lake Worth.

            The sopa de platano con maraquitas at Casa Romeu in Miami Lakes.

            The curried goat w/stew peas and rice at Caribbean Choice Bakery in West Palm.

            Rabo encendido con yuca y ensalada aguacate at Rey's Cafeteria in Hialeah.

            Bonus: Rib Dinner w/collards and mac 'n cheese at Tom Jenkin's in Ft. Lauderdale; not real original, but I sure miss it!

            Is it possible to be homesick and hungry at the same time? How would you term such a condition?

            The Greek-style whole snapper at Helos in Tarpon Springs.

            1. I agree with TP...awesome thread! I am honored and wish more of you FLA-idians would take the baton!!! I have only a few moments and just wanted to chime in...More to come and hopefully there'll be more TOP FLA posts in my future too!

              I tried your Piquillo Pimientos today at Carajo(in MIA), not being a big cod fan, I was almost tempted to choose one of their specials which looked great, but out of respect to one of my favorite chowhounds, I went ahead and got your "Top Dish"...WOW was it ever good! Very exotic dish and very tasty. They did a nice job with that place and it has to be the best Gas Station Grub going, and their wine selection blows away many a liquor store's. I will definately be skipping the Cassola slices out back for more Spanish cuisine at El Carajo...love that name BTW. Thanks for the rec and the new thread, I am newly inspired.

              1 Reply
              1. re: netmover

                NM - Glad you liked the stuffed piquillos. I've gotten both non-codfish lovers and people who swear only by their grandmother's codfish croquetas to try them, and everyone's loved 'em.

              2. Where to begin...???

                Pizza Rustica: 4 Cheese slice and their Veggy slice (various in SOFLA)

                Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza: Their regular Pizza with the Topping/s of your choice. I tried their specialty Meatball Pie and it was a little much...other specialtie pies may be better? Stick to the regular pie and I think you'll find it to be the best in FLA. (various in SOFLA)

                Jack's Old Fashioned Hamburgers: Jack JR with Cheese. (FTL & Pompano)

                OLA: Plantain crusted Mahi-Mahi (south Beach)

                Osteria del Teatro: Osso Bucco over Risotto Milanese & Seafood Cartoccio (south Beach)

                Lario's on the Beach: Chicken or Beef Milanese (south beach)

                Joe's Takeaway: Fish Sammies or have them throw it on top of your favorite salad! (south beach)

                Puerto Sagua: Roasted Chicken Breast with Black and White. (south beach)

                Calypso: JERK FISH! Or that Shrimp Cutter! Also try the beefy Pepperpot soup (Pompano)

                Doña Raquel's: Tacos...your choice. (Pompano)

                Philomenas: Fiesta Italiana-Pasta with the most amazing shreadded Meatsauce this side of Sicily. (Pompano)

                Fifty: Crab Cake (south beach)

                La Fondita: Tacos Barbacoa (Homestead)

                Flanagan's: Baby Backs and Dirty Rice (various in SOFLA)

                Jaguar: Ceviche Nuevo (Coconut Grove)

                Salmon Salmon: Tacu Tacu & Shrimp Ceviche (Miami)

                News Cafe: Tomato Soup, Cobb Salad & Eggs Smoked Salmon Benedict Style (south beach)

                Mama Lucy's: RIBS (Miami)

                Sonny's: Steak Hogies (Hollywood)

                Sicilianos: Frozen Custard (Hollywood)

                Lorenzo's: Eggplant Parm (NMB)

                Normans: Yellowtail Snapper (Coral Gables)

                Mari-Nalli: Cheesburger Quesadilla (Coral Gables)

                Gastronomia: Lazagna (Coral Gables)

                Arbetters: Rot Dog MOC Mustand, Onion, Chili (Miami)

                Luis Galindos Latin American: Vaca Frita (Miami)

                Best Time Wines: Sandwich and a good glass of vino goes a long way! (Miami)

                Los Ranchos: Steak and all you can eat Gallo Pinto (multi-Miami)

                Gourmet Diner: Beef Burgandy (NMB)

                NOBU: Rock Shrimp (south Beach)

                Soyka: Mac & Cheese (this one's for you TP) (Miami)

                Lil Ole Caboose: mini burgers (North Broward)

                Ricky's: Wings (Hollywood)

                Taverna OPA: Rib Eye Limone - Prawn App - Country Greek Salad (various FLA)

                Calzone Factory: Calzones (Pompano)

                Fallen but not forgotten:

                Dab House: Sour Braten (south Beach)

                2 Replies
                1. re: netmover

                  I am not sure Dab House is still around btw. You gave me a good list of stuff to try. Thanks.

                  1. re: netmover

                    Do you know I've lived in SoFl all my life and Miami Beach for most of the past 15 years, and still have never been to Osteria? And osso bucco w/ a risotto milanese is one of my favorites. We'll definitely have to go now.
                    Haven't had wings at Rickys in ages, another good call.
                    I'd go with any vegetable souffle side at Gourmet Diner.
                    Haven't had Gastronomia's lasagne - I really like the one at Bugatti when it's the special.

                  2. Favorites

                    Captain's Tavern: Thai Squid Salad Appetizer

                    Bentley's (Islamorada): Oysters Rockefeller Supreme or Crazy Upside down and Dolphin in the Weeds

                    Cheesecake Factory: Tex-mex Eggrolls and Bistro Shrimp Pasta

                    Keg South: Hamburgers and Chicken Wings

                    Maria's Greek Restaurant: Saganaki (fried cheese)

                    Ernie's BBQ; Conch Chowder with Bimini bread

                    Gone:

                    Crabby's Smokehouse BBQ (Opa-Locka): BBQ Ribs and Macaronni and Cheese ....and Fried Conch Fritters

                    1. Visiting my mother in Tamarac, I always thought the area to be a Chow wasteland. But after scouring the Board one day, I found that right around the corner, literally, is El Buen Gusto, a Colombian bakery that has the best AREPAS I've ever encountered. Golden disks gooey with the sweetness and aroma of freshly roasted corn plus a bit of melted cheese in the middle.

                      I'll also take the ice cream concoctions at Jaxson's (just south of the FTL airport) any day, especially the definitive ICE CREAM SODA. All the ice cream is served at the right temperature, a rarity anymore.

                      1. Gotta love this posting. Here goes, in no particular order, and focusing on the dish and not the restaurant.

                        Spring roll appetizer at Hy Vong in Little Havana. Not sure if they're authentic, but they're out of this world.

                        Tuna tartar at River Oyster Bar. Not necessarily the best I've had anywhere, but certainly the most addicting. Apparently there are chipotles in there somewhere which must add to the addictive effect.

                        Sabayon gelato from Dolce Vitta. Eggy, creamy and not too much alcohol. Even better than what I had in Argentina.

                        Vaca frita de pollo from Havana Harry's. It's the only place I know of that makes this dish and they've perfected it.

                        Shin’s Crispy Noodles from Shoji. I haven’t been in a while, but I know they’re one of the first things I’d order if I ever went back.

                        Crema de papaya and sgroppino (sp) al limone from Piola. Very simple dessert and cocktail, but so good.

                        Beef roti from Christie’s Roti Shop. Goat and jerk chicken are good as well but I stick with the red meat.

                        The entire dessert selection at Nemo’s Sunday brunch. Enough said.

                        Of the departed:

                        Dulce de leche gelato from Dulcianna. What other DDL ice creams should be compared to.

                        Café con leche Coffeecake from Rumi. Only had it once and always said I’d go back but never did.

                        Any sandwich from Latin American on Coral Way. It’s a shame this place bit the dust. It was as close to an institution as it gets here.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: lax2mia

                          Nice call on Dolce Vita though I'd have trouble picking a flavor. I like the super dulce de leche.
                          Boy, I haven't been to Hy Vong in ages. Get my Vietnamese fix at Miss Saigon lately but somehow I think Hy Vong is a lot more authentic.

                          1. re: lax2mia

                            Villa Habana on Coral Way has excellent vaca frita. This is complemented by an extensive menu and moderate prices. Seafood is very good and not overcooked.

                          2. I haven't lived in S. Fla. for many years but in the "Gone but not forgotted" category:
                            Saltealdo at the Studio in Coral Gables (and that great big bowl of chocolate mousse)
                            A basket of garlic rolls at Gracies on NW 54th Ave.
                            The garlic pork chops at The Madrid on 8th Ave in Miami.
                            The surf and turf (filet w/giant Alaskan King Crab Legs) at The Embry on Commercial Blvd in Ft. Lauderdale

                            Worth coming back to:
                            Ernies conch chowder w/bimini bread
                            Jackson's Ice Parlor for a Showboat sundae

                            In the Tampa Bay area:
                            Ted Peter's fish spread
                            The Puerco Asado at La Teresita
                            Meat balls and/or sausage at Italia Mia on 62nd Ave N. St. Pete
                            Roast Pork Verde at Red Mesa
                            Fried Calamari Bruzzi and a Delmonico at Spoto's Steak Joint

                            1. Here is my list

                              1) BBQ Chicken - "The Pit BBQ" Miami

                              2) Masa Frita - Don Pepes Orlando

                              3) Fried Catfish - The Catfish Place St Cloud

                              4) Jerk Chicken - Ortanique CG

                              5) Cuban sandwich - Black Bean Deli Winter Park

                              6) Mongolian Veal Chop - Normans Orlando

                              7) Eclairs (Custard) - Mon Delice New Smyrna Beach

                              8) Filet Mignon - Shulas Miami or Orlando

                              9) Linguini w/Red Clam Sauce - Silvanos Altamonte Springs

                              Gone but Not Forgotten

                              10) Ropa Vieja - El Bohio Orlando

                              1. Grits a YaYa at the Fish House in Pensacola
                                Jambalaia at the Cajun Cafe in Seminole (and if you have room try the whisky Bread pudding there It's amazing too)

                                1. Oysters and biscuits appetizer at Cypress, Tallahassee

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: fl bob

                                    I tried to eat there one night, do you regularly need a reservation to eat there? They didn't even offer to let us sit at the bar.

                                    1. re: blueclstar

                                      It depends on the timing, but reservations are generally a good idea, especially if the legislature is in session.

                                  2. The mariquitas at Las Delicias, 4660 W 4TH Ave, Hialeah
                                    The miso-glazed sea bass at USS Nemo's in Naples (3745 Tamiami Trail North)
                                    BBQ at First Choice, 10113 Adamo Dr, Brandon
                                    The really-big sushi at Club Sushi, 2555 Tamiami Trl. N, Naples

                                    1. Crab-stuffed fried green tomato appetizer at St. Barts in Tampa;
                                      Crab & avocado tower salad at Parkshore Grill in St. Pete;
                                      Salt and Pepper Shrimp at TC Choys dim sum in Tampa (wish everybody would leave the heads on them)
                                      Foie gras with marshmallow at Wish in South Beach;
                                      Chateau-briand at Berns in Tampa;
                                      King Midas dessert (carrot cake with macademia nut ice cream, all berns-made) at Berns in Tampa

                                      1. Pollo con Mole Rojo - Dona Raquels - Pompano weekends only

                                        Scorch Salad - cilantro vin

                                        Scorch Rice - serious side

                                        1. Totally forgot
                                          Francesco - Pasta/Risotto Nero, Three Sauce Ceviche

                                          1. The sweetbreads with morel sauce at Escargot 41 in Naples. Not for the faint of heart; hyper rich and silky. Wonderful! You might want to warn your cardiologist ahead of time. Under $30.

                                            1. Panzerotti's at La Foccacia Mia Pompano. Fried in Canola Oil Stuffed 1/2 moon shaped dough with Mozz/Tomato and what ever else you're into. Powerline just North of Cypress Creek. The Foccacias Sandwiches are great too!

                                              1. Pork porterhouse with Asian barbeque glaze at Chops City Grill (Bonita Springs)

                                                Mango-gaspacho soup at Dada's (Delray Beach)

                                                Smoked mullet platter at Ted Peter's (St. Petersburg)

                                                Masaman curry with pork at Jasmine Thai (Margate)

                                                1. More Francesco (Coral Gables)- shrimp with aji amarillo and squid ink, lobster with the same - squid ink is great, squid ink with cheese is even better :).

                                                  1. Where in the Gables is Francesco?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Frodnesor

                                                      325 Alcazar Ave, near sw 42nd ave and a few blocks north of sw 22ndst

                                                    2. The coconut soup with shrimp at Jasmine Thai on Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa--sweet, hot, salty and crunchy.

                                                      The half a duck, roasted and sliced into half inch wide by three inches long strips, with crispy skin and some sort of spices (five spices?) at Ho Ho Choy on Fletcher in Tampa.

                                                      The toasted Cuban bread with butter and cafe con leche at Don Pan on Dale Mabry in Tampa.

                                                      The enchiladas suizas at Iguana Mia on Cleveland (U.S. 41) in Ft. Myers. As someone who lived in Mexico, while a student forty years ago, these bring back memories.

                                                      1. Time to reserve this post!

                                                        Just got back from chowing down my favorite hang over cure...

                                                        Eggs Smoked Salmon (Benedict style) No Hollandays...but a better one of a kind cream cheese sauce. Add a sprinkle of salt, pepper and tabasco, ketchup for the diced fries and sit back and savour serious sensations with each swallow and seabreeze.

                                                        oh, that's only at the legendary News Cafe. Not sure how I feel about the 70's flashback live rock dude who now starts at 12:30 Sundays, bearable at best I guess?

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: netmover

                                                          Had to revive this post.

                                                          Current top 5
                                                          1. Grilled Pork Belly (Yakko-San) *addiction alert*
                                                          2. Octopus with Sardinian couscous (Sardinia) *addiction alert*
                                                          3. Burger @ Char hut
                                                          4. Diver scallops with truffle polenta (cero)
                                                          5. Stone Crabs (Captain Jim Hansons)
                                                          5. Beef cheek (Michael's Genuine)

                                                          1. re: Sobe

                                                            sobe, is the octopus the lunch menu app?

                                                            Sardinia has a couple of pretty amazing new dishes btw (which are not really sardinian but great nonetheless, these are...)

                                                            1) Diver scallops & shrimp - I never went to cero but you should try them @ sardinia and compare - very impressive.

                                                            2) Seafood Pallela - great dish

                                                            3) Oxtail Risotto - they do oxtail very well here

                                                            I also have to say their panna cotta is amazing as is their duo di mousse (if you have to choose one - do the panna if you want a light dessert, duo if you want something heavier). Their other desserts are great with the exception of the strawberry tiramisu which I can't speak about (never tried) but have heard not great things.

                                                            1. re: tpigeon

                                                              Yes I was referring to the lunch menu app which is a big portion.

                                                              1. re: Sobe

                                                                Yeah, I get it all the time - it is great.

                                                            2. re: Sobe

                                                              Spicy black cod miso- Oishi Thai (NMB, just as good if not better than Nobu's version- seriously)
                                                              Mixed ceviche- Goyo el Pollo (Downtown Hollywood)
                                                              Fried Clam Bellies- Tie Kelly's Landing (Ft Laud) & Tark's (Dania Bch)
                                                              Lobster Roll- Kelly's Landing

                                                          2. Francescos in Coral Gables offers up these TOP DISHES:

                                                            Tuna Escabechado with Aji Amarillo Sauce
                                                            Riso Nero Frutti di Mare
                                                            Causa de Cangrejo

                                                            Yum-a-lisious!

                                                            El Rey de las Fritas in Little Havana:

                                                            Frita con Queso (Burger Cubano)

                                                            Buenazo!

                                                            1. On the one year anniversary of this post, I'd like to add my favorites from my home town Bonita Springs.

                                                              Buffalo Chips - an upscale dive - is one of those great Florida places where the beer is cold, the wings are hot and the atmosphere is funky. Try the "suicide wings" based on a recipe Al brought to the Springs from Buffalo, NY years ago. Absolutely the best wings in Florida.

                                                              Stop at Randy's Fishmarket Restaurant on US 41 and order the Sauteed Hog Fish with Randy's potato salad. Heaven on a plate!

                                                              And for the best dessert, stop at the Royal Scoop for some homemade ice cream - Black Cherry please.

                                                              All this is Chowhound food at it's best.

                                                              1. You need to try Countrywalk Caribbean Restaurant in Sunrise. They have the escoveitch fish with pepper and dumplings on the side.. Mmmm. They are at 64th Ave. and University.

                                                                1. Here's a thread that I thought deserved a bump. Some to add ->

                                                                  - New Orleans style bbq shrimp at Red Light
                                                                  - kimchi eggs benedict at Michael's Genuine
                                                                  - crispy fried artichokes at Sra. Martinez
                                                                  - tripe cassoulet tapa at Talula
                                                                  - kohada nigiri at Naoe
                                                                  - cacciatorini pizza at Pizzavolante
                                                                  ...

                                                                  1. - Foccocia at Mattarellos
                                                                    -Stromboli in the bread basket at Scarpetta