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Honeymoon dinner recs for SoBe this weekend?

Help! Anyone have a good recommendation for a romantic dinner spot in South Beach for next weekend? My husband and I will be in town from New York City for our honeymoon and were considering a few places, but it sounds like there have been some closures and changes in staffing of late.

We'd like a place with good food (we'll try most anything though vegetarian is probably lowest on our list!) first and foremost, but outdoor seating in a romantic setting would also be nice for the occasion. Close to our hotel (the Raleigh) is key since we won't have a car, but if there's someplace really good and reachable by cab that's OK too.

After surfing around this board for a bit I've come up with a few options but would love some input. 1. Maison d'Azur. Any thoughts? We love food and will spend for this occasion but I don't know what kind of ambience the place has (or if we could even get a reservation at this late date). Love Anthony Bourdain and Les Halles and heard the chef worked under him. 2. I've heard mixed reviews about the Raleigh's restaurant and that there's a new chef. Anyone been lately? (Maybe this is more of a lunch or breakfast spot?) 3. Wish sounds romantic and we'd love to eat outside but the reviews there sound mixed too. 4. Casa Tua sounds romantic but like the food is sub-par. 5. Table 8 seems to be getting some good reviews. Would this be a romantic spot? 6. Sardinia sounds like the best food in town, but is it special enough for this occasion? Maybe for dinner on on one of the nights we're in town, though? Is this reachable from our hotel?

Any other thoughts, maybe something new that out-of-towners like us wouldn't know about?

Thanks in advance for any input!

Monica

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  1. The outdoor area at Maison d'Azur is quite nice. It's sort of tucked into the hotel property and off-street, so you're surrounded by the front building (old Mediterranean style) and some gardens and other hotel property behind you. Nice soft lighting, good music. I understand the place becomes more lounge-y later in the evening but when we were there (before 9pm) it wasn't that way at all.

    I love the Raleigh Hotel but have not been to the restaurant. The report recently was that Jeffrey Brana - formerly executive chef at Norman's (a Miami institution opened by Norman Van Aken), and then briefly at his own restaurant-critic-fave Brana's, which is now closed, is now at the Raleigh. The hotel website doesn't have any further info.

    I like Wish's outdoor seating as well (though there may be construction on the road it faces out on) but don't love the food as much.

    I'm not a big Table 8 fan, though others are. It's a nice space, and one of the few places on Ocean Drive worth eating at.

    Sardinia has great food, and it's a nice-looking place, but not terribly romantic. The outdoor seating is purely utilitarian. Sardinia would be a very short cab ride from the Raleigh.

    Talula has a nice outdoor patio area (garden, no view) and excellent food.

    I've not been to Creek 28 yet but it's a neat, cozy, romantic space and I've eaten at one of the chef's earlier restaurants and enjoyed it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Frodnesor

      You might want to sit outside at the Delano's restaurant. The food is good and the ambiance is romantic and chic.

      1. re: Frodnesor

        Creek 28 is wonderful. Simple menu, very good food, great bartender. A little bit simplistic outside and not terribly romantic (at least during the daytime). Cannot vouch for how it looks at night, but I really enjoyed the restaurant nonetheless

      2. Thanks so much for the fast and detailed feedback! I believe it was your review of Maison d'Azur that made me think it sounded worth a visit! Your mention of Talula has my interest piqued now too. Would you recommend it over Azur even though it doesn't have the same ambience? Talula's menu sounds a little more adventurous. Creek 28 sounds interesting too. I'm originally from the Pacific Northwest and like the idea that approach to food, though I'm not familiar with the chef (left Seattle years ago). Also, good to know about the construction outside Wish!

        5 Replies
        1. re: nycmonica

          Thanks, Jessie. We must have posted simultaneously because I didn't see this earlier. Do you mean the Blue Door? I just checked out the website and it does look super-chic!

          1. re: nycmonica

            I haven't eaten at the Blue Door in quite awhile.. I stopped eating there because the food was mediocre at best. Perhaps someone can provide you information as to the current status of the quality of the food.

            1. re: nycmonica

              Yes, Blue Door. The food is very good and it fits the romantic bill.

              I think Talula has really good food. If you go, make sure you sit outside. Sitting inside is unromantic and not as nice.

              Creek 28 is in a hotel that's kind of low- budge, boho romantic in a sense. It's a nice escape if you are a local but I'm uncertain that it should make it into your top picks.

              1. re: jessierandall

                Completely agree that Creek works if you are local but probably not if you are visiting.

                I always enjoy going to the Delano for a drink at the Rose bar followed by Dinner at Blue Door. Meals are usually very good and the setting is great. I prefer the outside patio but it's all good. You can head to the pool bar for an after dinner drink. Always a fun night.

                Talula is great but not sure it fits into the honeymoon equation.

                Maison d'Azur works. My only concern is that you won't have much privacy. Tables are very close together.

                You mentioned The Raleigh. Was one of my favorite spots when Eric Ripert was involved over the past few years. Small but great menu in a great patio setting. Chef Brana is running the kitchen now and could be worth looking into.

                Wish is always a romantic option. Good menu/food in nice outdoor setting.

                Ok, since we are talking about a honeymoon I'm throwing Casa Tua into the mix. At least try to get a drink in the lounge.

                Cafe Joley at the Astor is worth looking into. New and I haven't been over there but it sounds like it has potential.

                I'm also a fan of Table 8 although its been a few months now.

            2. re: nycmonica

              For my money, Talula is the best food on the beach and the menu is definitely more adventurous than Maison d'Azur, which sticks pretty closely to straight French brasserie but with a strong focus on fresh seafood (they fly in fish from all over the world, which does seem odd given all the water surrounding Florida, but go figure).

              If I was picking just for the food, no doubt it'd be Talula. For good food + "honeymoon" ambience, Maison d'Azur might get the edge. Incidentally, the indoors at Talula is not notably UN-romantic, just nothing terribly special.

              I actually have heard good things about Blue Door recently though the history of mixed bag reviews is correct. Have not heard anything specific about a chef change or anything that would explain it and can't vouch for it personally. The online menu looks remarkably pricey even by SoBe standards.
              http://www.chinagrillmgt.com/blueDoor...

            3. Frodnesor, I thought the same thing when I saw that the seafood was flown in daily at Azur. So much for the locavore trend! Still, it does sound tempting. I'd be interested in hearing if anyone has been to Blue Door lately. Jessie, have you?

              Also, how hard is it to get reservations at these spots?

              Thanks again to all of you for such great input!

              2 Replies
              1. re: nycmonica

                Blue Door is lovely but food at Talula is better. I was last there several months ago and enjoyed my meal.

                You may also want to venture to the other Andre Balazs-owned property, The Standard. Eat outside - the view is breathtaking and the food is very good. Very, very romantic. Locals and tourists love it. If you go on Sunday, don't miss bingo at about 9pm.

                1. re: nycmonica

                  Suggest you take a peek at OpenTable.com to get an idea of reservation availability. They have reasonably good coverage for Miami (incl. Blue Door, Talula, Sardinia, Maison d'Azur, Wish) but you may want to call the restaurant directly if you have a preference as to in or out, etc.

                2. You can do the spa at the standard late afternoon, then watch the sunset at the standard while eating (go for the grilled food). That is really tough to beat for overall experience...

                  1. Wow, thanks to all of you for your fabulous recommendations. I'm thinking maybe the Delano idea (since it's so close to the Raleigh and looks incredibly beautiful) might be just right for Saturday night. Then we can go to Talula or eat at the Raleigh's new restaurant on Sunday night. We're only there for a super-short visit this time. Anyone know how to get a reservation at the Raleigh's restaurant? Can't seem to find the name. And would Talula require a reservation on a Sunday?

                    Thanks again to all of you!

                    Monica

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: nycmonica

                      For the Raleigh, just do it through the hotel - particularly since you're staying there.

                      I've never been to Talula on Sunday so can't say for sure, but suspect you're OK without a reservation.