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Oct 16, 2007 10:56 AM

Girlfriends Birthday, Romantic, Intimate Dinner in Miami?

Hi all my name is Mike and I am new to the board.

My girlfriend's birthday is coming up in two weeks and I wanted to something special for her birthday. I live in South Beach and we have been to restaurants such as Prime112, DeVito's, La Marea, Nobu, Quattro, etc, I am curious to know where I can enjoy a romantic, intimate, fine dining experience? I have not been to Azul but have been told good things about it. I know Michelle Bernstein has left there. Is it still any good? I know if offers beautiful views of Biscayne Bay. Anywhere else I can consider? I have been to Blue Door a long time ago and don't recall having such an amazing experience. Obviously is wasn't too memorable. Need your input!!! Thanks alot

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  1. Baleen in Grove Isle is super romantic and beautiful.

    6 Replies
    1. re: jessicam29

      Popping in here from the Manhattan board - we used to live in Miami, and one of the most romantic dinners we ever had there was at Baleen - sitting outside with oysters and a lovely bottle of white wine, and got to see a double rainbow. Was less thrilled with meals inside (maybe it's been redecorated - looked like a hotel lobby) but outside - wonderful choice (no promises about double rainbows though!)

      1. re: jessicam29

        Just checked out their website, looks great.Is there a particular time and table I should request?

        1. re: jessicam29

          Couldnt agree more. Baleen on Grove Isle is the place to go for a romantic night. Guaranteed. Yeah, you gotta sit outside overlooking the bay. Great view if there is a moon too.

          1. re: Blind Mind

            While it is undoubtedly beautiful, I have been extremely underwhelmed by the food put in front of me on a couple of occassions. I think a view is certainly part of the equation, but unbelievable food is a huge part also. When I look back on my experiences at Baleen, I remember the sunset and saying I wish the food were up to par with the scenes. I also found the decor somewhat cheesy, with the monkey theme inside.

            1. re: mikek

              I never sit inside, so I couldnt care less about the decor in there. Ive had about a dozen phenomenal meals there and about 2-3 mediocre meals there. As far as a romantic bday dinner for your girlfriend goes, its a cant miss. Trust me.

              1. re: Blind Mind

                I am sorry that I disagree with your opinion, but if the guy comes here to ask advice for his gf's birthday, he should know about all reviews. Furthermore, I know about several others who have had questionable experiences here. Based on that, it is a can miss. It is beautiful, but there are many beautiful places in Miami with FAR superior food. Trust me.

        2. Also think about Romeo's Cafe - only 20 or so seats in the restaurant and custom makes each diner's meal around their likes and dislikes

          1 Reply
          1. re: mikek

            Second this rec - Romeo's is great.

            Casa Tua - fits the bill in everything but the food unfortunately.

            Creek 28 might be an option.

          2. Mike, I live in South Beach and while Baleen et al are all very nice, if you really want to do something extraordinary, something to really talk about for years to come, consider this: my girlfriend's birthday was a few months ago, and I hired a car to drive us to Islamorada (1 1/2 hours) and we ate at Pierre's, right near The Moorings. I'm telling you - and I'll stake my Chow reputation on this - that the food was absolutely fantastic, they have a beautiful lounge downstairs, the upstairs candle lit dining room was super romantic, and you're overlooking the water with the moonlight. From your restaurant choices above, you have the taste and resources to do this. Bring some bubbly for the ride, snuggle in the back, and just relax. The anticipation not knowing where you're going will kill her! If you want to spend the night, The Moorings, Casa Morada, Cheeca Lodge.

            5 Replies
            1. re: ciao_hound

              Baleen's food is horrible and the service is a joke. I actually had a bad piece of fish there, and I can tell you, my wife was so disappointed in this very, very expensive meal, that romantic was about as far from her mind as possible, especially after getting all bitten up by mosquitos all evening. I also don't really think the view is that great. Robin Haas was cooking here several years ago, and they are still living off that heyday. I would consider both Michy's and Michael's far more romantic.

              1. re: Miami Danny

                MiamiD, Michael's genuine is very good but I would not classify it as intimate or romantic, especially on weekends.

                1. re: Sobe

                  You may be right. I guess there are a lot of ways to interpret 'romantic' and 'intimate'. If a party of two grabs one of the booths along the far wall, it is surprisingly cozy. I'm not sure if they reserve specific tables inside, but for a special occassion they might. If the weather's cool and breezy, one of the tables in the dimly lit patio area could be pretty charming and cozy, as well. Then it's off to the love motels on Biscayne Blvd.

                2. re: Miami Danny

                  Sounds like 1 bad experience to me. miamimike, trust me on this one. Money in the bank.

                  1. re: Blind Mind

                    To be honest Blind Mind, I have to again disagree for this guy's sake. There are two people on this thread alone who have had awful dining experiences there. You can get equal views with better food, or better experiences elsewhere. Last time I went, I was served a fried fish where the fried part was soggy and thick, with a horrible sauce under it that I could not even tell what it was. Other friends of mine who have gone, both residents in the buildings and not, have had equally bad experiences. It is not money in the bank at all. For the money you are paying, 1) you can get the same/better view elsewhere 2) you can get infinitely better food. I would go so far as to say it was home to a couple of the worst meals I have had down here, one of them being a romantic weekend with my girlfriend after returning from a 6 week vacation. For your sake, do not allow yourself to fall into the same trap that I did.

              2. Unfortunately, great food and romantic on South Beach is a tough call. In years past, I would have recommended sitting outside at The Raleigh but chef Carlos Jorge who was working directly with Eric Ripert left. On a side note he is at Solu at The Resort at Singer Island. I have not been back since he left and I'm not sure if Ripert is still involved.
                I'm a fan of Blue Door and it could work on a weeknight but you've been and didn't love so obviously pass.

                Wish could be the call but I have not been in several months so I would defer to a CHound who has been there recently. So basically, I'm no help...

                1. Hey everybody, sorry I have not had a chance to reply to your posts. I was in NY for the weekend. So is Azul not worth trying or going to for a gf's birthday dinner? I have not heard too much about it since Michelle Bernstein left. I was under the impression that Michael's is not a restaurant that offers any sort of intimacy. I think Casa Tua is horrible. I found it to be extremely overpriced and nothing special. The beef I had there was as forgettable as one from a catering hall. The idea of going to islemorada sounds interesting. Was trying to stay in the area but seems like a good idea. I did make a reservation at Azul already over the weekend. I obviously did not get a chance to see your responses before doing so. Will I be satisfied?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: miamimike

                    The view at Azul is beautiful, though cannot speak of the food recently. I think Azul, the Islamorada idea for the thought/effort/view/(seemingly) good food, at the intimacy and uniqueness of a custom made meal at Romeo's are your best bets. I know Blind Mind is trying to steer you to Baleen, please learn from my mistake and DO NOT go there. The place looks like it has not changed since 1985 and the food is very mediocre (politely put).

                    1. re: mikek

                      Thanks mikek! I think I am going to stick with my reservation at Azul. I have heard good things about the restaurant/view. I also like the fact that its in the Mandarin Oriental.

                      1. re: mikek

                        For every person you know with a bad experience there, I know at least 10 who have loved it. Different strokes, different folks I guess. Im a really picky eater and Ive found the food to be incredible at times and not so great at other times. It was never "bad" though. I even wrote a review of Miami Spice there which was not flattering, but Id still recommend going there to try yourself rather than listening to others. Thats how I feel about every restaurant really.

                        1. re: Blind Mind

                          Baleen's was so bad, it was actually the only time I wrote a letter to management, wondering how they could have let this restaurant become so bad. Of course, I gave them the benefit of the doubt, in that I granted that perhaps in the past they were fairly okay. They never responded. I have never met anyone who likes this place under the age of 90.

                      2. re: miamimike

                        azul is really good. been there a few times and the food has always been great. i have tried the braised kobe short rib and the surf and turf and both were amazing but i think i would give the nod to the shortrib. ive been there with my gf and friends and also with my family and i have heard nothing but raves and compliments on my 'good choice' haha. a place like this makes it easy. def request a table with a view and if you can fit it in your budget get a room!