Three Generations in South Beach
Hi -- I'm doing a family vacation in South Beach this Feb. and have a lot of palates to please. My 78 year old Mom isn't terribly adventurous in her tastes. My two year old and eleven year old ARE adventurous but are, well, kids. My husband and I are dedicated and adventurous eaters. I'm hoping for three kinds of recommendations: a few places to take the family for lunch or dinner; a couple of restaurants for a date night (we tend to favor, small, local, and low-key -- don't mind spending money but aren't interested in a lot of hype); and, since we'll have a kitchen and want to stay in sometimes, some help with good take-out places or interesting places to shop for food. We're staying around 15th and Ocean Drive and won't have a car. Thanks for any help!
These are some great choices. My husband, 10 yr. old son and I will be in Miami Beach (41st & Collins Ave) in 2 weeks and we are looking for some options near us and further south. We will have a car! Last year we went to Prime 112 and had a great experience and excellent service. We prefer quality (fresh ingredients) over quantity (large portions ...I'm guessing Nexxt is out). Talula sounds amazing. Is Quattro as bad as I'm reading? Breakfast, lunch and dinner recommendations would be most welcome!
I've never been, so I can't speak personally, but I don't think the general consensus on Quattro is so much that it's bad, as just that it's overpriced for what it is. I'd just as soon go to Rosinella if I wanted some decent Italian on Lincoln Road, or to Sardinia if I wanted something better and more interesting.
My hit-list would definitely include Talula and Sardinia on South Beach. I recently enjoyed a nice rijstafel at Indomania at 26th & Collins (search the name and you'll find a thread on it). Maison d'Azur, a French seafood brasserie, flies in fresh seafood from all over the world and has a great atmosphere (and I've generally heard good things about the rest of their menu too). Early reports on Joley at the Astor Hotel have been good (haven't tried yet myself).
For my money, best meal in town is at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink (on mainland side across the causeway), but this is no great secret as it's been on just about every national "best of" list lately.
If you want to head north rather than south from 41st St. there are a number of options around Normandy Island (71st St.), along the causeway and on mainland side up and down Biscayne. Here's a thread with a link to a google map ->
For breakfast, my preferred South Beach options are Icebox Cafe and Front Porch Cafe. On 41st Street, you have Arnie & Ritchie's, a Jewish deli. There's also a little French bakery whose name escapes me on one of the side streets. Used to be good but I think it's changed owners.
Avoid Maison d' Azur. The service was weak and took almost 10 minutes to place a drink (watered down sea breeze) and get water for the table. The mostly french staff spent more time walking around like on a runway thatn actually serving.
When it comes to the food, 4 stuffed mushroom caps with cheese for almost $20??? An I believe "homemade" pate terrine that was inedible. I struggle to remember the rest of the meal as it was forgettable and we were anxious to get out of there ASAP. A bit too pricey for what the menu offers. The "imported" fish, felt like you are paying for their airfare into the US. Will never go back here and met our expectation of poor service and food from a new establishment in glamorous Miami Beach. If there was some hope of improvement would have offered that, but have little hope for any improvement. Will stick to Escopazzo, Macaluso's, Oseterio del Teatro, and Alta Mar for good cuisine.
My experience at M d'A was much better than this both as to service and food quality ->
We went pretty shortly after they opened and perhaps they were on "best behavior," but others have gone more recently and reports have generally been positive, as reflected in that thread and others.
I would agree that it was pretty darn pricey, and generally too high for what it is, but I had no problems with either the food quality or the service.
Would love to hear a current report on Esopazzo - their new "all organic" menu is intriguing but I haven't been there in ages.
Is that French Bakery any better than the La Provence that set up shop on 41st Street just a few blocks away? Lately I've been impressed with La Provence's expansion since I see they're even on Calle Ocho now in the new and nice-looking Alliance Francaise building (maybe it has something to do with Paul's Bakery expanding throughout South Florida too?)
a friend of mine is assisting with marketing and advertising for them. Apparently someone enjoyed their SoBe location and is investing in them as a partner and they are planning to expand throughout Florida (Aventura, Kendall, Boca - and beyond) Since I am carb phobic right now can't comment on the new location but they have a hugely positive reputation in Miami Beach.
Barton G's is an "avoid" in my book. It's a wonderful space, but unfortunately it's all about the presentation and the food is overpriced , generally mediocre, and often outright bad. Unless, of course, you want "sashimi sno-cones," swordfish served on a sword, duck served in a duck decoy, etc.
Wanted to say thanks again and report back.We tried a lot of your suggestions (as well as frequently patronizing the Art Deco Market -- I got quite fond of it -- their tamales are good!). If anyone is looking for family-pleasers our favorites as a group were David's Cafe off of Lincoln Road -- lots of good tasty food, exotic enough to please the more adventurous, familiar enough to please the less and take-out from Joe's Stone Crab. We brought the food back to the apartment, but the take out area is large and family friendly enough that you could have a pleasant meal there -- and there's wine and beer in the cooler. Don't listen to their portion advice though. One order of stone crabs legs, an order of crab cakes, a pound of shrimp and a couple of sides more than fed five of us -- and the guy at Joe's kept telling us it was barely enough for three. Pizza Rustica made a good lunch, and I fell in love with the sandwiches (and the cute French guys) at La Sandwicherie. L'Hosteria on Espanola Way made a really good pizza and great limeade, but it was pretty outrageously expensive.
My mom steered us into Jerry's one day for breakfast. Kind of fun atmosphere but ninety dollars for a bad breakfast is pretty frustrating. Cold potatoes and burnt coffee. Good Hollandaise though.
My hands down favorite meal was the adult's night out at Talula. Great atmosphere and service, and a grouper with thyme and preserved lemons to die for. And 25% of bottles of wine on Sunday. I wish I was there right now.
Thanks so much for reporting back - good feedback from visitors is a great way to know whether or not recommendations are on target.
Your group must not be the heartiest of stone crab eaters - I always finish off an order and then go scrounging around others' plates looking for the little "knuckles" they invariably leave behind.
Jerry's is regretfully mediocre and overpriced but has a good location, a gigantic space, and will always have customers.
Particularly glad you enjoyed Talula for "adults' night." One of my favorites on the Beach.
You have great recommendations here. The only exception is Osteria de Teatro. It has an undeserved reputation on this board IMHO. Frodnesor don't bother to go. I went last night and although they have excellent, accomodating service and its kinda fun to sit on the super busy corner of Washington and Espanola (sorta like being in a fish bowl) the food was underwhelming. I had an oversauced pappadalle with porcini (barely) and vodka sauce for $29.00 please. I could not enjoy the fresh made pasta with their horrible sauce. My husband had a special whole wheat pasta with tuna chunks and it was just ok. Just skip this place.
BBQ beach is good take out. You can also get good take out at el chalan. Both are very close. BBQ beach is also a decent eating in option for you but I don't like their outdoor seating (washington ave is kind of scummy).
The markets are kind of far for you to walk (wild oats and epicure) so I don't know what to rec you there...there is a walgreens on collins and lincoln for emergencies...
I highly recommend lincoln road places when eating with the family - outside sitting for the 2 yr old is key. Standard is way too for you to walk.
Pauls (Never tried it but heard decent things)
Date places would be
Table 8 - get steak here
Osteria del Teatro
Joes Stone Crab
You could take the whole family to the Lido Restaurant at The Standard. They have seafood, mini burgers (sliders), veggie options, etc. And it's on the water. You won't sacrifice your palate and the whole family will be happy. (This place is lowkey and romantic so it might also make a good choice for a date night)
Big Pink at 157 Collins is a great venue for a family meal- there are a ton of choices.
Pizza Rustica and (I cringe a little) Nexxt are probably good child-friendly choices on Lincoln Road. Be warned that Nexxt is a glorified cheesecake factory.
For date night I would consider AltaMar- very good and fresh seafood prepared well. I consider it one of the gems of South Beach.
You may want to take the family to Joe's. You could have stone crabs and the kids could try their amazing fried chicken and sides. If not, it's a good take out option.
You might also consider taking out from Lime, Pasha's or one of the pizza joints.
*Be warned that Nexxt is a glorified cheesecake factory*
Correction - Nexxt is a not-as-good knock-off of Cheesecake Factory.
Generally Lincoln Road (which runs East-West parallel to 17th Street) is going to be your best bet for family-pleasers.
Agree with Rosinella for good simple Italian that everyone should like.
Icebox Cafe is pretty good, best for breakfast.
David's Cafe does decent Cuban food.
Second on Pizza Rustica, which also has locations on Washington Ave.
Piola on the far end of Lincoln Rd. on Alton Rd. (around the corner from the movie theatre) also has pretty good pizza and nice salads, also more of a sit-down place than Rustica.
Tiramisu and Spris also do decent if unexciting pasta / pizza.
I like Le Bon, a Belgian place with the same owners, but it may be a little harder finding food that will please everyone (though my kids like it).
Joe's Stone Crab is a good call, either to eat there or get takeout next door. It's an old-school place but not a very fancy place Be warned it's no reservations and can be a long wait - esp. for dinner - if you don't "know" the maitre'd. Showing up early for a weekday lunch may be a better bet.
On Ocean Drive, Front Porch Cafe does good breakfast, especially their pancakes.
For takeout / prepared foods, Epicure Market on Alton Rd. & 16th is quite pricey but has very good stuff. There's a Wild Oats further south on Alton but quality is surprisingly spoty. There are a couple smaller markets on Washington Ave. where you can stock up the room (i.e. Art Deco Market at 14th & Washington).
For date night, my top pick on the beach would be Talula at around 23rd & Collins. Husband/wife chef team, interesting dishes, some focus on locally sourced ingredients, not as flashy a place as many others on South Beach.
For something with a little bit more of a local flavor, maybe Ola, which does nuevo latino. Ceviches are particularly interesting, some other items can be hit or miss but when good are quite good.
If you're big on Italian, I like Sardinia quite a bit - a tiny bit out of the way on Purdy Ave. but very good food with a focus on regional Sardinian dishes.
I've somehow never been in all the time I've lived here, but Osteria del Teatro for more "traditional" Italian gets lots of love, and is also closer to you.
Almost next door to Sardinia on Purdy Ave. is Joe Allen, which would probably be good for a family dinner (note - link below says "Sunset Harbor Dr.", this is really Purdy Avenue).
1745 James Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
210 23rd St, Miami Beach, FL 33139
1656 Alton Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139
1801 Purdy avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Osteria Del Teatro
1443 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
David's Cafe II
1654 Meridian Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
1657 Michigan Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Wild Oats Markets
1020 Alton Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Joe's Stone Crab
11 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
525 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Pizza Rustica Lincoln Rd
667 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139
1625 Alton Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Art Deco Supermarket
1435 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL
Joe Allen Restaurant
1787 Purdy Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Not to knock you off, but I've had better experiences and food at Nexxt than the Cheesecake Factory. But I do agree that it's very strikingly similar - in both quality, price, and style although I think the portions are bigger at Nexxt. It's not my favorite place, nor my go-to place on Lincoln, but I don't think it's that bad.