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Mar 2, 2008 01:13 PM

3 dinners in South Beach

Hi All,

Will be in SoBe for a girls weekend in early April and I'm looking for recommendations for 3 dinners. We want to do one splurge (no price limit) and then 2 more moderate (say entrees under $35-$40).

Would like a hip atmosphere for all 3, doesn't have to be the most trendy place but want places that are fun. We like all types of food.

I've thought about Blue Door, Table 8, Wish, Nemo, Social at Sagamore and Bond St. I've eaten at Grillfish before and would consider it again. I'd love to get a look at Casa Casaurina but I'm guessing it will be impossible to get a reservation and maybe more of a couple's place? Any thoughts on Casa Tua?

Any other recs? Would love to eat outside whenever possible as well. TIA!

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  1. To eat at Casa Casaurina you have to be a member of their private club.

    Prime 112 is a good choice, great atmosphere - good people watching with good food.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Sobe4u

      Casa Casuarina is on opentable for some reason? I was confused by that as well.

      1. re: mikek


        Call Rosemary Staltare at 786-683-0045 and have her plan a private tasting for you girls at OLA on South Beach. They can even set up a dinner on the roof that will be a great time. Check out photos and menu ideas at (1745 James Avenue, 305-695-9125



        1. re: mikek

          That's what confused me as well, I saw it on opentable.

          1. re: shopgirl_07

            My 2 cents? It is a little scattered in detail as I typed whatever came to mind.

            For a cheaper meal with atmosphere and a feel like you had to use your passport to get there I would trie La Folie on the quiet westend of Espanola Way. French fare from crepes to a great duck confit salad. The wines are quite nice as well. On Lincoln Road for Middle Eastern fare, I will probably get crucified for this, but I think Pasha on Jefferson Ave and Lincoln Road is good and the price is right. But you can also walk Lincoln Road Mall and go dizzy from the amount of places to eat, another good one is Ice Box on Michigan Ave and Lincoln Road Mall. The food is good, the service eh-eh, not great, and the owner who you wouldn't know is the owner unless you ate there enough is walking around with an aire of attitude and never greets or interacts with customers. He is known for the desserts, which are good (butter base icing melts in your mouth!) and holds on to the blessing Oprah Winfrey gave him for dear life!

            Do not do Blue Door for dinner, not great, but the breakfast is good on the weekends. Make a reservation as brunch is popular. For a good breakfast at a good price with a nice view Front Porch Cafe on Ocean Drive is good as well.

            For the splurge meal? Michy's is our all star right now, Michael's Genuine is the one with the buzz right now, Casa Tua for the scene, If you are here on a Wednesday night, The Forge has a party scene with the dining scene but is later around 9-10... Hope this is useful, would love to hear what you eventually chose

      2. I actually think that for the most part it's not too hard, even at the upper-end places on the Beach, to find entrees in the $35-40 range (though there will always be some outlyers like the steaks and the lobsters, etc.).

        Of the places you've listed ->
        - I've heard good things recently about Blue Door but have never been and am, for whatever reason, a bit suspect.
        - Table 8 is good but, to me, not as good as it ought to be. If you want to be outside, though, it's got outdoor seating and is really just about the only good place to eat that's actually on Ocean Drive.
        - Wish and Nemo are sort of past their prime for the food, but both have very nice outdoor seating areas.
        - Social is no longer doing the menu Michelle Bernstein created for it and the new menu I saw online looked pretty uninspired.
        - I've enjoyed Bond Street for sushi but there's been a recent shake-up. Their sushi chef has left for a place in Mary Brickell Village called Abokado; however, the new person coming in used to be at a great local place called Yakko-San, and then briefly was doing a sushi bar for David Bouley's Evolution (now closed), so the shake-up doesn't necessarily mean a dip in quality. Bond Street has a very lounge-y vibe in a basement space in the Townhouse Hotel.
        - I've always understood Casa Casaurina to be a private club. I've not been to Casa Tua but opinion is decidedly mixed, with many finding it to be overrated and overpriced. I always really resent overpaying for Italian food.

        A few additional thoughts, particularly focusing on outdoor dining ->

        - A nice place for outdoor dining and good food is Maison d'Azur in the Angler's Resort. Very nice outdoor patio area, cool vibe (I understand the place becomes a bit more lounge-y as the hours grow later), and good French brasserie food with a focus on fresh seafood. Some items can be very expensive (fish flown in from around the world, caviar, etc.) but others are priced fairly.

        - I think Sardinia is a fun place to eat with a somewhat casual ambience but a nice crowd. The vegetable, cheese and salumi antipasti are very good and nice to split, and the menu generally has an interesting regional Italian focus. Search for other threads and you'll see extensive discussion. Some outdoor seating, but not a typical Beach location - on one side, across the street is Biscayne Bay, but on the other are streets w/ automobile repair shops, etc.

        - Many folks enjoy the outdoor dining area at the Lido Hotel (a/k/a the Standard). I haven't been but know the space has great views of Biscayne Bay.

        As for some of the suggestions above, just note that neither Michy's, Michael's Genuine, nor the Forge are in South Beach. They're not far, but I believe OP was looking for South Beach recs.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Frodnesor

          "Table 8 is good but, to me, not as good as it ought to be. If you want to be outside, though, it's got outdoor seating and is really just about the only good place to eat that's actually on Ocean Drive."

          Prime 112 is on ocean. Vivi is not bad and is on ocean. While I think smoking rabbit is overpriced, their filet and mac & cheese was very good.

          The "other side" seating in sardinia is directly across the parking lot for Ouzo btw and the building behind is Joe Allens. You can also see some or the people eating outside of ouzo there. Still not amazing but not exactly how you mention it.

          1. re: tpigeon

            I stand corrected (sort of) - forgot about P112, never heard of Vivi, haven't tried Smoking Rabbit.

            My only point on Sardinia is that while you can sit outside, it's not exactly the greatest outdoor seating on South Beach.

            1. re: tpigeon

              Sardinia inside is very nice. Sardinia outside often smells of rotting egg. Where's Vivi and what kind of food is that?
              Also, had a few good meal at the Indian restaurant on Ocean Drive, Ishq

              1. re: Icantread

                Vivi is a carpaccio clone and is across the street from prime 112. I have never eaten outside of sardinia but walk by it often and I never got the rotten egg smell.

                1. re: tpigeon

                  I ate outside at Sardinia last night and the eggs smelled fresh and the food was great as usual

                  1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                    is Sardinia the restaurant right next to Purdy lounge? also, Vivi is very nice and they do have the outdoor seating right there. their large polpette is soo good. also, down the block is Opa, which while the food is not great it is good and is also a good time with the dancing on the tables and what not if that is your thing. P112, Vivi, and Opa all also happen to be across the street from Nikki Beach if you are interested in having some drinks in a cool atmosphere after dinner.

                    1. re: dmo305

                      Just to clarify, Sardinia is on Purdy Ave. between Purdy Lounge and Joe Allen's (on the northern and western end of South Beach, north of 17th St. and just before the beginning of the Venetian Causeway), Prime 112 etc. are all on the opposite end of South Beach - "SoFi" or South of 5th St.

                      1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                        Sobe, he was saying the area itself smelled like rotten eggs not sardinia itself.

              2. Check out Joley at the Astor, amazing food.

                4 Replies
                  1. re: tpigeon

                    don't get me started with Maison again!

                    1. re: jmdhsmiami

                      I just read your report. I have been there several times and had great meals there. Superior to the one I had at Jolie.

                      1. re: tpigeon

                        Throw my hat into that ring for now too.

                1. Wow, thanks for the ideas. I've been away from this thread for a couple of days. I'm hoping to finalize some of the reservations early next week. I will definitely report back and let you know what we chose.