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Jul 23, 2007 06:51 PM

Underrated in Miami

I saw the thread Overrated Restaurants in Miami, and I was thinking to myself... what about the underrated ones? It seems to me that the chowhounders here speak only of new restaurants or well known restaurants. And the hole-in-the-walls that were mentioned so far aren't really hole-in-the-walls - they've been mentioned at least once in the past 5 years in some review. What about unknown hole-in-the-walls? Or the nice restaurants that almost never get mentioned?

I'll give you two examples: Madrono's in West Miami is supposed to be known as the best Nicaraguan restaurant. Hereford Grill, nobody mentions it.

And sometimes I have to look at other blogs, and far-off sources to find out other gems like La Guardia near the Design District for produce or wait for the Miami New Times to mention some weird things like a produce stand in Little Haiti for having the best produce. And in another blog, I read that the baleadas are worth trying at Honduras Maya. But do we ever mention these things? Do we ever venture out to the unknown and seemingly underground restaurant scene in Miami?

So are we just snobs for ignoring the rest of Miami? What about upper-casual restaurants that serves great food? They may not be fine dining and they may not provide unique or entertaining or unusual atmosphere that makes one love the scene. Do we just want to impress others, especially the tourists and the readers who are planning their trips here, with our knowledge of what is already known? We just point to places they "should" already know about - simply because we already know about them by living here and reading the press. It should all just be about the food, or even a dish. Come on guys... show the real foodie Miami!

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  1. Step up to the plate with your own list!

    Much of this board is dominated by comments about the newer trendy places because that's what visitors are interested in, and at least they get some genuine commentary on the good, the bad and everything in between.

    I've generally found folks are also typically happy to share their own little discoveries too. My own personal list would include -

    - tapas at El Carajo
    - chivito sandwich at El Rey de Chivito
    - sushi from Sushi Deli
    - Japanese tapas at Yakko-San (which I learned of from this board)
    - sopa de lima at Cheen Huaye
    - Gourmet Diner - never mentioned by anyone but still cranking out great French bistro food

    I've also got a lengthy list of places I haven't yet visited but want to get to as a result of other CH's recommendations - BBQ Beach, Scorch, the newly renovated Jumbo's, Sang's, Orale ...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Frodnesor

      My favorite underrated local Mexican Restaurant so far in Miami is Cheen-huaye. Favorite Dish - a classic Yucatecan dish, tastes just like a classic baked and simmering pork dish that a grandmother would cook… Conchinita Pibil - tender pork marinated in recado rojo (almost like a Mexican paprika thin sauce), served over plantain leaves and covered with shredded marinated red onions.... Delish!!

      Cheen Huaye
      15400 Biscayne Blvd, Aventura, FL 33160

    2. Thank you for bringing this up. I read these boards daily and get tired of hearing about the same places over and over again. The other day I realized that all visitors or newcomers to Miami are missing out on some really great and different food by wanting to go only to trendy restaurants. Why not El Palacio de los Jugos or other smaller joints that sell good food? I agree with Frodnesor about El Rey del Chivito. That's a sandwich you must try and unlike any sandwich I've ever had. There's a great Colombian restaurant called La Moon on 8th street between SW 1st and 2nd Avenues -- nothing fancy but serves great food. I'd love to hear more recommendations about these types of places.

      1. Pardo's - Peruvian rostisserie chicken place in Doral. Some of the best non-fried chicken I've had. Spiced just right and cooked so well that even the breast meat is juicy.

        1. Well up North in my neck of the woods, I can mention Mama Mia's in Hollywood circle, even though its not the best italian, to me its pretty great. Went this past Sunday with my hsuband and another couple and they make the BEST fried mozarella. They have pretty good pizzas (flat breads) and they serve amazing portions, not to mention the huge mountain of delicious garlic rolls they give you at the beginning while you read the menu. Also in that same area, the Wine store/bar called Hollywood Vine, amazing wine and you can pick cheeses and some hams they have in the fridge, they cut them for you there. I also like Eddie Hill's for sushi, not your "pretty sushi joint" but good food. And well Scorch, great great meat.

          7 Replies
          1. re: SarahOM

            Clarke's Miami Beach doesn't get nearly as many props as it's not just an Irish bar, it's got great gourmet fare, original dishes like Irish Spring Rolls and amazing Montauk-style scallops..then there's the amazing mini Beef Wellington's that would make Gordon Ramsay jealous!

            1. re: LesleyEats

              I've got to know, what is an Irish Spring Roll (other than a great pun)? Corned beef and cabbage in a wonton?

              1. re: Frodnesor

                Hehehe, yes, you are spot on. It's so good!!

              2. re: LesleyEats

                I totally disagree. I've never had a good experience there. The servers are friendly but the food is mediocre in my opinion.

                1. re: lax2mia

                  We went there a few months back and were disappointed that their fish and chips were made w tilapia. They do have an interesting menu and nice decor though, I agree.

              3. re: SarahOM

                WHat about Hollywood Boulevard and the area around Young's circle? We were driving there today and it seemed like there were a dozen small restaurants on one block. Has anyone got a recommendation in that area besides Chinatopia, which we love?

                1824 Harrison St, Hollywood, FL 33020

                1. re: SarahOM

                  I'll just say some people just have no taste.... It would be nice to be happy with peasant tastes... Eddie hill passible only because nothing in area... Mama Mia Pizzeria food at best in a restaurant

                  Mama Mia Restaurant
                  1818 S Young Cir, Hollywood, FL 33020

                2. Atlakatl-Salvadorean
                  Los Ranchos-Nicaraguan
                  Luis Galindos Latin American-Cuban
                  La Esquina del Lechon-Venezuelan
                  Lorenzo's Cafeteria-Italian
                  Isla Canarias-Cuban
                  Best Time Wine-French
                  Woody's-Steak Sammies
                  Jaguar-Ceviche Spoon Bar and Latam Grill
                  Arbetter's-Hot Dogs
                  S&S Diner-American
                  Mama Lucy's-Ribs
                  Alta Cocina-???

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: netmover

                    I definitely agree with Liberty, Laurenzo's, and Enriqueta's. I don't know about Oggi...never impressed there. I would have to add Cafe Ragazzi, Le bon, Spris, and Paninoteca, Sheba ethiopian, A La Follie and Uva 69. Never feel like we include Heelsha enough in our boards either... ;-)

                    1. re: netmover

                      <a href=" alt="La Esquina de Lechon on Urbanspoon" src="" style="border:none;width:200px;height:146px" /></a>