Going to be spending two dinners and two lunches in Miami area next week. Thinking of Versailles in Little Havana one night, and looking for suggestions for the other meals...perhaps South Beach, maybe the Wynwood art district.
Help me please.... We are two couples from New Mexico who like local color, traditional food in a homey atmosphere, Cuban and seafood would be good, and we like wine, but we are adventurous also. Not into the usual touristy places. You'll get extra credit for funky reccomendations.
I went to Versailles maybe 8 years ago and the food was great and the experience fun (and of course the price was right too). Someone local suggested that security in the area has deteriorated. We have rented a convertible for a trip to the Keys. Any comments?
Security on Calle Ocho is fine, so keep Versailles on the list. I would go to either Michy's or Michaels in the Design District (Michy's is more funky). You could go to Garcia's Fish Market in the Miami River for some good seafood. There is a great Colombian Restaurant on Washington Avenue in SOBE called Las Tablas.
I have not been in the area in a while but it between 6th and 7th is on the west side of the street and has benches on the outdoors across the street from the Ink nightclub. My experience has been while I really like the food, service can be painfully slow by even south beach standards.
I hope and I wish I'm wrong... but I believe Las Tablas is gone for good... it's been replaced by El Sitio, a casual Colombian joint. I saw the area you were talking about and had resorted to eating at El Sitio since I wanted to go to Las Tablas and was hungering for Colombian and it was the only Colombian place I could find on the block.
Versailles might not be the best Cuban food in Miami but I can't think of a better place to get an accurate feeling for the city. I might recommend Versailles for lunch instead of dinner because their sandwiches are incredible and it's just as bustling then as it is during the evening. The area is completely safe, no need to worry. Take a walk on 8th Street and have some coffee and pastries.
I would definitely agree with lorilaw about Michy's and would choose that over Michael's (which I've tried twice, both times being utter disasters). And order the gazpacho - it's jaw-dropping. If you are worried about safety in the area, though, this one can be sketchy at night, but hundreds of diners do it every day with no problem. You will be fine.
For other great restaurant experiences, try Joe's Stone Crab (a classic that always delivers), Tap Tap, Magnum Lounge (also in a slightly sketchy area), Casa Juancho, Prime 112 (pricey but worth it). In all honesty, the food in Miami is 9 times out of 10 very disappointing. I used to live in Santa Fe, New Mexico and I'd say an average meal there is a great meal here, so come expecting a memorable experience rather than memorable food and you will not be disappointed. That being said, I think all of these places will deliver on both fronts! Have fun and report back.
Michy's - http://ae.miami.com/entertainment/ui/miami/restaurant.html?id=67959&reviewId=18887
Joe's - www.joesstonecrab.com/
Tap Tap - http://www.frommers.com/destinations/miami/D41368.html
Magnum Lounge - http://bestof.miaminewtimes.com/bestof/award.php?award=120361
Casa Juancho - http://www.casajuancho.com/
Prime 112 - www.prime112.com/
I will second the recommendation for Magnum Lounge.
I took my wife there last night for her birthday. As far as atmosphere, the New Times review mentioned above hits the nail on the head. Dark, intimate, with a piano bar type feel.
My wife ordered the salmon and I ordered the rack of lamb. Both were excellent. Service was quick and attentive. Prices were reasonable for the quality you receive.
I look forward to our next visit.
There's nothing at all wrong with the neighborhood around Versailles, I wouldn't be concerned.
Michy's and Michael's Genuine are excellent restaurants but they wouldn't be my picks for someone looking for "local color, traditional food in a homey atmosphere." This description also doesn't fit many places I can think of in South Beach.
Garcia's on the Miami River is a good call for a lunch - best fish sandwich in town.
I also think Captain's Tavern in South Miami is a great old school type of seafood place (with a very reasonable and surprisingly strong wine list, too).
If you want local color, consider trying an Argentinian Parilla. Miami has lots of Latin American cuisines other than Cuban. The Argentines particularly excel with grilled meats, and a parrillada is typically a very generous selection of a few cuts of steak, some sausages and some other "variety meats." I like Las Vacas Gordas in North Beach (partly b/c it's close to me), though Graziano's (in South Miami and Coral Gables) is probably the best.
Casa Juancho is a good call, I always enjoy going there. Fairly traditional Spanish, a little bit kitchy with roaming mariachis, but pretty good food and a fun time.
One small note on another post - we dropped by Magnum Lounge about a week ago and it was temporarily closed for remodeling, though there was an outdoor bar set up.
Garcia Seafood Grille & Fish
398 NW North River Dr, Miami, FL 33128
Captain's Tavern Restaurant
9625 S Dixie Hwy, Miami, FL 33156
Las Vacas Gordas
933 Normandy Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33141
Graziano's Parrilla Argentina
9227 Bird Road, Miami, FL 33165
2436 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135