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Dec 12, 2007 01:11 PM

Dinner for 10 near port of miami

For my grandmother's 90th birthday the family (all ten of us) will be cruising out of miami leaving Dec 23rd. We have hotel accommodation booked for the night before right near the port.
Given that we will be eating cruise food all week (not sure how chow-worthy it will be, but we'll see) i thought it would be nice to go out and get something different before we embark. So,

any ideas for a group dinner for 10 near the port of miami? primary limitations/criteria include a tolerable noise level (grandma isnt the only one who doesn't hear so well in loud rooms) and some accommodation of both non-meat (fish ok) and less adventurous eaters (latin is probably an easier sell than asian, but we can push their boundaries a little, though it would be nice if there were some more "traditional" offerings).

anything good, maybe even special, which can accommodate our group and its somewhat difficult constraints.

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  1. There are only a few places in downtown (closest spot to the port) which are dinner options. Your closest "dining district" will be the Brickell Avenue which is just over the bridge, where regretfully many of the options are now chain restaurants. If you can focus on a particular style of food or price point it may be easier to make recommendations, but your options (heeding the suggestion of having more "traditional" offerings) include:

    - Prime Blue Grill - new steakhouse in downtown proper - haven't tried yet.
    - La Loggia - decent Italian in downtown, hopping for lunch but this part of town really clears out after business hours and not sure it's where I'd want to be if I was a tourist

    - River Oyster Bar - pretty good seafood-oriented place
    - Rosinella - pleasant, solid Italian place
    - Novecento - Argentinian (haven't tried)
    - Morton's - chain steakhouse
    - Capital Grille - chain steakhouse
    - Oceanaire - chain seafood place

    There are some places in the Brickell hotels that I haven't tried that others may be able to comment on. I'm sure there are other places around Brickell that I'm not thinking of.

    1. Has anyone tried Delores But You Can Call Me Lolita in the old Firehouse/Mosaico spot?

      5 Replies
      1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

        My first reaction after hearing the name - "What the ...?"
        My second reaction after looking at the menu - "What the ...?"

        - duck & four cheese quesadillas
        - causa with tuna
        - eggplant timbales w/ smoked mozzarella. Topped w/ a sauteed shrimp
        - vietnamese salmon eggrolls
        - pappardelle "alla Siciliana" w/ fresh avocado
        - sea bass topped w/ spicy tomato miso
        - brazilian picanha steak w/ "fried risotto"
        - sesame crusted tuna w/ hoisin plum sauce

        It's like somebody put the menus from PF Chang, Grimpa, Oceanaire, and Rosa Mexicano in a shredder and then stuck them together again.

        No, I haven't tried it.

        1. re: Frodnesor

          Hm, that sounds like fun, let me try...
          Sweet & Sour Pomegranite Jumbo Shrimp Picanha

          I think I can design their menu.

          1. re: tpigeon

            I found this blurb in The Herald. (just relaying additional information)
            "Off the island, try a brand new gem in the old FIrehouse Four called Delores But You Can Call Me Lolita (100 South Miami Ave., 305-403-3103). The rooftop terrace cannot be beat for atmosphere and remarkably no dish on the appealing Mediterranean menu is over $23. AND each comes with a choice of appetizer. Wine by the glass can be had for $5. Let me know how you make out.
            Victoria Pesce Elliott 12/04/07"

        2. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

          I tried it for lunch. The decor is definitely impressive and the amtosphere is nice, especially the outdoor dining terrace, but the food was underwhelming. I dined with a friend, had the eggplant timbales and causa with tuna. Both were ok. As my entree, I ordered the sea-salted salmon, which was served with jasmine rice and vinaigrette tomatoes -- chopped tomatoes with a balsamic vinaigrette that didn't really seem to add anything to the mix. I felt like this was something I could've easily whipped up at home. My friend ordered the ginger-glazed pork, served with potatoes. Small portion, not plated very attractively. Didn't taste bad, but again, it wasn't impressive. Honestly, based on just one visit I don't know what all the hype is about. I'd rather pay a little more for great food.

        3. im gonna say that the menu you linked too didn't really call to me either, and leave it at that.

          as to the original question, Frodnesor, you asked about price point and specific cuisines. as for price/style, im happy to eat in a dish pit or the alley behind the kitchen if the food is worth it - that said we're a big, mixed group and i won't be reaching for my (very thin) wallet on this one. were probably looking for something between divey-but-wont-scare-the-older-folks and maybe 50 dollars a head. that is a big range, which, i realize, will not make it easier to pin down an option.

          that said, with regard to what we'd like to eat versus how much we want to pay/what the restaurant looks like - were coming from NY and CA, with a strong inclination against chains i would say something distinctly miami would be nice - non-mexican latin food can be hard to come by out west here, perhaps something in that vein?

          2 Replies
          1. re: tex.s.toast

            Well if you want to stay near the port and do Cuban food there is a Bongo's Cuban Cafe. It's located at the American Airlines Arena and overlooks the Port of Miami. Owned by Gloria Estefan etc etc. I have not been there in years though so I will defer to a hound who has, if any.


            There is also a Los Ranchos at Bayside. It gets mentioned on the board for having good steaks. Netm, thoughts?


            1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

              Two excellent observations sobe CF! Bongos and Los Ranchos get my vote too! They are both right there near the port, they would both easily accomdate ten people and they will definately give you that Miami/Latin flare...not to mention the fact that both are waterfront.

          2. thanks for the recc's, were looking at either novecento or river, probably, but there have been some rumblings from some members of the group to see if we cant find something a bit less meaty - are there any places nearby/on Brickell that would please or non-meat eaters?

            1 Reply
            1. re: tex.s.toast

              River Oyster Bar ought to have plenty to appease the non-carnivorous soul.
              Here's online menu:


              A little side-note that I just realized - I haven't yet eaten at River Oyster Bar but I've had the chef's cooking in plenty of places. I still remember from ages ago when he was at a place called "411" on Miami Beach - great restaurant. The dish that's been the common thread I've followed has been his crabcakes with a smokehouse almond tartar sauce. First 411, then Fishbone Grill, and now he's got another variation on the dish at R.O.B. Funny thing - I recall the dish from 411 and Fishbone but never quite put 2+2 together that it was always the same chef.