Best Casual Dining Miami
My husband and I will be in Miami this Friday through Tuesday. We're staying downtown but are visiting family so we'll have access to a car. We are foodies from New Orleans and love to try the best local flavors while travelling. Price is not top consideration, but we do not plan to pack dress clothes. We want to visit the best authentic local places, which I assume means Cuban, Carribean, etc. that we can visit in jeans. Thanks in advance!
Casa Juancho on 8th street has great atmosphere and pretty authentic spanish cuisine. They are owned by the same family that owns the more famous Versailles and La Carretas. This place is their "upscale" version but like previously stated, in Miami that does not preclude jeans.Although the food is probably not top-level haute gourmet, I think anyone from out of town would enjoy ambience and setting.
The best local flavors are also Caribbean/Jamaican/Trinidadian. Pick em by location but several have merit with curries, patties, etc. I would also recommend an Argentinian place with empanadas like the big cafeteria in Doral or the place across from Nordstrom in Merrick Park. Simple as it is, you do not have this vibe in N.O. Although it may get recommended, I think the Crema on West Bird or Coral Way is greasy and overrated. None of these are fancy, but for example, the Argentinian places have character.
If you're talking about Crema de las Empanadas on Coral Way by 107, I heard the corn-dough empanada in Doral is better - but of a different name and company - La Reine de las Empanadas. I can say it is good (the pabellon stuffing and the cheese stuffing) but it is normally greasy since it is fried. However, I didn't find it greasy enough to really feel the grease and feel nauseous at the same time. I'm not sure how it would compare with Crema since I haven't been there in a long while, but I do know Crema now became a chain, with a location in Doral.
Michael's although worthy of a visit is not Latin American nor "mature".
Versailles is both...
I have to give my nod to the original Latin American Restaurant in Miami, Luis Galindo's LATIN AMERICA. Not quite the ambiance as Versailles, but the food seems to be superior.
Los Ranchos in Bayside (downtown), offers authentic Nicaraguan food. The owners are the Somozas who preceeded the Sandinista regime. They have a good 2-4-1 early bird special. Waterfront with all you can eat gallo pinto which should be right up your alley. Red Beans and Rice! Also, fried plaintains longboard chips. I'd be interested to know how they compare to your creole version of RB&R. I love them!
Is the Latin American Restaurant the same as the Latin American Cafeteria famous for the Cuban sandwich? What's good there? Also, you're saying that the ORIGINAL Latin American Restaurant/Cafeteria is the Luis Galindo's Latin America? Where is that? I think I may have seen it on the Blvd de las Americas (NW 20th ST), but I'm not sure if that's the one.
This is one of those plays on words that somehow skirt trademark laws.
I do not know which was first. I was told just the other day at Luis Galindos on Red Rd and sw 8th st. that it was the original? Could it predate the now defunct Coral Way institution? I defer to the natives on this one.
Their Vaca Frita is solid. It is always packed. Nothing special ambiance wise although kinda Cuban kitch I guess? Brilliant counter. I got to give my highest props to the concepto cubano. For Two reasons:
1. Window pa' cafe y 2 GO.
2. Counter Dining
They are two different operators. One is Luis Galindo's Latin America and the other was Latin America Cafeteria. Remember the Tamiami Trail has been around for a long time now. This question goes out to all the Sougueseros. Which Latin America was first: the one on Coral Way or Luis Galindos on Red Rd and Calle 8? I have not received many bites from this board when mentioning LG's and am not sure why?
Maybe it's because nobody knows which one to go to? LOL. Netmover, which did you prefer better and what do you like at LG's Latin America - and what would set it apart from Latin American Cafeteria? But the vaca frita sounds good. I hope it's worth the drive!
The one I saw on Blvd de las Americas (shady clothing warehouses area) look really old... so I'm kind of surprised that it is not the original.
They are both really good. I used to be a regular at the Coral Way cafeteria until it closed. However, I would give the nod to LG"s as far as food goes.
In addition, there is a Latin America Grill which is very solid too. They have stores in Miami Lakes, nw36th @ 79th Ave and Pembroke Pines. There is also a Latin Cafe chain which is yet another cubaneria and decent too.
I do not know of a Blvd de las Americas, where is that?
NW 20th St west of the metrorail west to 27th Avenue where it ends - it's where people go to buy cheap clothes and knock-offs - the "boulevard" is lined with them for miles - and is much bigger than the one in the so-called "Fashion District" (NW 5th Avenue south of 25th St) in Miami. Both places, however, do have a few nice clothing stores though - but none of your typical chains, and a "search" for the good stores is required. I saw a suit store there the other day that I've been meaning to go back as I need a suit for the holidays coming up!
But yeah, around there, I saw Latin American, on the north side of the boulevard. I don't remember which Avenue it was on though - but I do remember it being between 22nd and 12th Avenues...
First, let me note that there are very few places in Miami that I'd feel uncomfortable walking into in jeans. There's not much of a dress code here. Let me add to the foregoing recommendations ->
- Garcia's Seafood for a seafood chowder and grilled dolphin sandwich on the (not-so-scenic but having its own unique charm) Miami River.
- For a great view of Biscayne Bay, nice cold beers, and perfectly passable if not very remarkable conch fritters, peel & eat shrimp, smoked fish dip, etc., go to Scotty's Landing in a somewhat difficult to find location by Grove Key Marina. Here's the website w/ directions ->
- Get a take-out lunch from Joe's Stone Crab and skip the wait for a table.
- I would second Jaguar in Coconut Grove for the ceviches in particular. The menu is an odd hodge-podge of various Latin American foods, which is usually a danger sign, but it seems to work here.
- for upscale Caribbean food, I think Ortanique in Coral Gables is a unique place. Higher end prices but still a casual place and you won't be remotely out of place in jeans.
- for Argentinian parillada, best of breed is Graziano's. I've not been to their location on Bird Road, which is supposedly the best, but the Coral Gables one is solid. For lower end, my neighborhood favorite is Las Vacas Gordas but there are probably other suggestions closer to downtown.
- for Peruvian, Francesco's is much loved for their ceviches and for the calamari w/ squid ink risotto. I'm personally withholding judgment as I probably didn't order well on my only visit.
- for just plain best food, I'd suggest Michael's Genuine Food & Drink or Michy's. Michael's has a strong focus on local ingredients and simple preparations, with lots of good things coming out of the wood-burning oven. Michy's has an eclectic menu with everything available in small tapas-like portion sizes so you can create your own "tasting menu".
Let me respectfully disagree with the Gordon Biersch suggestion - it's a pretty generic national chain.
6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138
Garcia Seafood Grille & Fish
398 NW North River Dr, Miami, FL 33128
Ortanique On the Mile
278 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134
Michael's Genuine Food & Drink
130 N.E. 40th Street, Miami, FL 33137
Graziano In the Gable
394 Giralda Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33131
Joe's Stone Crab Take Away
11 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
3381 Pan American Dr, Miami, FL 33133
Graziano's Parrilla Argentina
9227 Bird Road, Miami, FL 33165
325 Alcazar Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134
3067 Grand Ave, Miami, FL 33133
Welcome!....Novicentro on Brickell is extremely solid.....Gordon Biersch (sp?) Brewery is a fun place to hang and their wood-burning oven pizza is a tasty treat....Las Culebrinas on 27th Avenue is very good....as is Versailles...which is THE landmark cuban eatery and is located just minutes away from Las Culebrinas.....'Jaguar' in Coconut Grove is outstanding.....Peruvian / Mexican / Caribbean fare with some of the very best ceviche anywhere.....Joe's Stone Crabs in Miami Beach is a landmark eatery...pricey....but worth the visit....Alot of great choices and others will chime in.....
Can't wait to get back to New Orleans....Love Johnny's Po Boy....Emerils....and all the great spots there.....
For good Cuban, not too far from downtown I would say "Las Culebrinas" on Southwest 27th Ave. near the Grove. They make a great "vaca frita" (translates to fried cow). Its a boiled flank steak which is then shredded and seasoned with lots of garlic & onion and then pan fried until crispy on the outside and served atop a mound of mashed & slightly sweet plantains studded with pork & garlic. It is truly yummy!