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Back to Miami next week

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I'm coming back to Miami for another conference this week. Will still be staing in the Dadeland area. I'll have a car this time so am hoping to try some good eats.

Last time in SoBe, I ate at Ice Box Cafe and LOVED LOVED LOVED it. I only had two meals in the area so not much to compare it to. On this trip, I'll have time for a couple of meals in the area. Can anybody offer any suggestions that may be similar in price and quality as Ice Box? I don't care for sushi, Asian, or Italian and would like something Miami-ish. I'm sure everybody says that.

How is Balan's? I read about this in my Fodors guidebook. Worth it or not?

Also, I'll be spending a day in Key Biscayne. I read about a place called Bayside Seafood Hut? Is it worthwhile? Any other place for seafood (shrimp, fish, NOT crabs, etc) that is better? Preferably a local spot, clean, good food, casual. Or any non-seafood place is good too. Any good breakfast places around here?

Loads of thanks,


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  1. I've only been to Balans a couple times but never came away feeling like I had a great meal. Don't know of much good eating on the Key. For good local seafood I'd suggest you make your way to Garcia's on the Miami River for a lunch, which is the best fish sandwich in town. Also down towards Dadeland area is Captain's Tavern, an old-school seafood place with some updated items (and a good wine selection). Also down that way for breakfast Deli Lane is decent.

    1. Only thing I really liked at balans was their eggs benedict (sausage sides are great too).

      I'd do alta mar in sobe or river oyster across the bay which is better than alta mar - I like francesco better than both.

        1. I love going to Cantina Beach in the Ritz Carlton on Key Biscayne for drinks, light food and watching the sunset. On the week-ends and sometimes during the week they have a band which is also really nice. (If you go, don't forget to get your parking ticket stamped for the discount, ($10.00) otherwize valet is really expensive.($20.00) I usually try to park myself in the lot behind the tennis courts and avoid the fee altogether. La Boulangerie in the shopping center with Linda B's, has wonderful croissants in the morning with coffee and also serves breakfast. From what I hear about Bayside Hut, I would most definately skip it now. Heard its more of a nightclub hip hop thing. Theres also Boaters Grill in BillBaggs State Park in KB for seafood and laid back atmosphere. Haven't been myself, so can't vouche for it at all but maybe some of the other hounds know more about this one for you. I think this one is also about atmosphere too more then food if your on the Key but my vote is still for Cantina Beach at the Ritz. Makes you love being here in S.Fla. now.

          1. Definitely agree w/chocolate about Cantina Beach. Stayed at the Ritz Carlton a couple of visits ago and practically lived there. If you go for lunch, try the fish tacos if they are still on the menu. As for balans, I agree with Frodnesor. Very unimpressed the one time we ate there. Can't help you with "Miami-ish" food since I don't live there but if you are looking for dinner off the beaten South Beach path, I'd recommend Joe Allens. Great bar, very friendly staff. Very good two out of the three times I've eaten there.

            1. Gtrekker....Was so curious about Boaters Grill myself that I drove by there today after visiting my friend on the island. Didn't have enough time to stay for lunch today but definately will be back soon. This place is more like what Bayside Hut used to be but even a bit nicer. Outdoor restaurant overlooking "No Name Harbor" very pretty, laid back and a lot of very nice sailboats going by. Lots of fresh fish options on the menu, paella and rice dishes as well as beer and champagne if you want. Met a really nice lady who lives on the Key and her sister who were about to have lunch there. Both said this is a wonderful place to eat and the fish is really good and always fresh. The local lady told me that this is a favorite place to bring visitors from out of town for her and that they all seem to really love it. I was there about 2pm and it was pretty quiet , very peaceful and relaxing but on weekends supposably gets very busy. Open till it gets dark (8-9pm)and on the weekend they sometimes have a band there too. Supposibly a lot of the people from the Lipton also hang out here. I drove thru the Park to get here today but you can walk up from the beach if you go to the end of the beach where the lighthouse is and then walk up thru the park...said it would take you about 10-15min. to walk thru. These ladies also told me the people who own the boathouse Grill are opening up another restaurant probably similar to this by the lighthouse on the beach. Not sure when its suppose to open though but from what they said appears to be soon.
              Well, hope this helps ...sounds what you might have been looking for but still hope you check out the Ritz too. Their strawberry Daiquiris are the best!

              2 Replies
              1. re: chocolate

                Loads of thanks, chocolate. I'm definitely going to go there. It sounds like just what I want. I may walk from the lighthouse. If I have time, I'll stop at the Ritz for a snack.

                I appreciate your help. I'm so excited about this.

                1. re: chocolate


                  I wanted to say loads of thanks for recommending Boater's Grill. I went there for lunch when visiting Key Biscayne and LOVED it. I loved the food, the view, everything. I'd definitely go back. I didn't have time for Ritz Carlton but maybe if I go back!