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May 25, 2008 12:30 PM

Timo (Sunny Isles - North Miami Beach) - still a favorite

Timo in Sunny Isles has long been a regular rotation place for us and is one of the places I typically recommend, particularly if folks are looking for someplace in North Miami or just looking for something outside the usual cycle of South Beach and the Gables (and, lately, Design District / Biscayne). It's mentioned often (at least by me) but the only thread that's focused only the restaurant itself is 2 years old, so I figured I'd start one based on my most recent visit (last night).

The place is contemporary but comfortable, with restaurant seating that looks back onto a a semi-open kitchen w/ a wood-burning oven, and there's also a bar w/ seating for about a dozen people plus another half-dozen or so tall 2-top tables with bar stool height chairs at them. Although both restaurant and bar are usually very busy on weekends, we've almost always had luck finding a small table on the bar side w/o reservations (full menu is served at the bar).

Menu changes fairly often but generally has a couple soups, about 4-6 different salads, maybe 6+ "small dishes", a half-dozen pizzas (thin and crispy from the wood-burning oven), several pastas, maybe a dozen entrees (usually lots of fish, a few steaks and other stuff), and then maybe a half dozen each of vegetable or starch sides (though all mains come w/ accompaniments). The current online menu looks pretty close to what we saw on our most recent visit ->

There's also a 4-course tasting menu (usually starter / pasta / main / dessert) for $58 (plus $38 for wine pairings) which has to be one of the best deals in town, as the serving sizes are usually pretty substantial. When we do that, one of us will then usually order just a couple small plates and we'll have plenty of food.

Last night we had a post-movie dinner of pasta e fagioli (so thick you could stand a spoon up in it, redolent but not overwhelmed by a whiff of pancetta), oyster salad (nice combo of frisee, white beans, pancetta and crisp fried oysters), a small plate of crispy eggplant (really nice dish, a slab of eggplant crispy-fried, then topped with a slice of juicy ripe uncooked tomato, fluffy mozzarella, and salty prosciutto, then run under the broiler to just melt the mozzarella and slightly soften the tomato), and another small plate of short rib canneloni (tender pasta sheet, melting and succulent pulled short rib meat, topped with a "black truffle fonduta" which is like a melted cheese sauce spiked w/ truffle). All just really good stuff.

The wine list is one of my favorites in town, with a selection of maybe about 100-150 bottles, prices ranging from around $30 and up, and invariably I find something I'm excited to drink. Last night it was a St. Jean de Barroux from Cotes du Ventoux which was a great bottle and, at around $58, was right around 2x retail. Staff are professional but friendly, and the place seems to always be busy without being mobbed. My kind of place.

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  1. ::heavy sigh::

    I just find Sunny isles so completely depressing with those new, badly-designed and foreclosure packed over-sized condos and fussy 80's style (Gordon Gekko) hotels. I know Trump and his cronies are just stockpiling real estate in anticipation of turning the town into Atlantic City, but the rape and razing of that beach front is too much to endure.

    Timo is one faint blip in the darkness of that strip and frankly, not a strong enough draw to get us past the cringe-inducing neighborhood. We've dined there at the bar overlooking the ZERO view of the traffic and those horrid new buildings, but I just feel so hopeless in that steroid-inflated area. What evil greedy guys those "City Fathers" must be...

    You are sweet to be the champion of the "Lot and His Wife" cafe...


    4 Replies
    1. re: advisor_Girl

      I find it's always good to have an alternative to South Beach, especially when it gets swamped like on Memorial Day weekend. A movie at the Intracoastal and dinner at Timo always makes for a good "date night", and I don't even notice what's on the street once I'm inside. Extra tip for the guys (and any sports fan) - the TV over the bar almost always has the "right" game on (but sound off so as not to interfere with the atmosphere). Position yourself right, be discreet when you look over your S.O.'s shoulder, and you can have date night AND catch the game at the same time.

      And it doesn't seem they need me to be their champion - place is always busy whenever I go.

      1. re: Frodnesor


        You're so bad! We did the same thing last night at Yakko San (avoiding hiphop weekend traffic in NMB and watching the "right" game at the same time)...

        dlgc - Timo is an oasis in the desert indeed!


        1. re: advisor_Girl

          Enjoyed watching the "right game" and listening to the sashimi guy (forgot his name but he was great about explaining what everyone was making behind the bar) bopping along with the 80s music. The best meal I have had in a may have ruined me for Tampa Japanese.

          1. re: advisor_Girl

            AG/Frod, i drove past Bar B Que Beach (N Miami) yesterday and the sign said open.

      2. Timo has always been a wonderful neighborhood restaurant. There are lovely areas just north of Sunny Isles such as Golden Beach that make this area work. The city fathers must have been very greedy, but such is progress........ Bal Harbour is only 5 minutes away also.

        Getting back to Timo, we live just north of that area and find Timo to be an oasis on the Collins Ave strip. Our dinners there have been great and we take visitors there quite often. Don't judge a restaurant only by the neighborhood, look around and see what is good. The glass is always half full.

        5 Replies
        1. re: dlgc

          Some friends and I were planning on going to South Beach this Saturday night for a "fabulous dinner" (I wrote about it on another thread) and we wound up going to Timo! Their condo is close by on Collins Ave. and so we decided to go there rather than South Beach (I always avoid SoBe whenever there's any kind of event that draws large crowds). Anyway, we had all been to Timo together and had a great time, and Saturday night was no different. The crowd was really nice and although it was pretty crowded when we got there, it wasn't overwhelming.

          Anyway, about the food:
          The girls had the butternut squash soup. I think the brown butter really makes it (I'm like Paula Deen - butter really makes everything better). Then we got the following for the table: lemon seared scallops, a pizza (italian sausage and fontina - a combination I find doesn't always work for me because I think fontina is too strong), the gnocchi with the veal, and the sea bass. It was so much good food, we barely left any, and we certainly didn't have room for desert. Anyway, fabulous food, and great ambiance - What else do you want from a restaurant?

          1. re: GA578

            I really want to like Timo. While they do beautifully with meat, the fish I've ordered has been inedible - fishy and improperly filleted. I haven't been in months so perhaps it's time to try again.

            1. re: jessierandall

              Saturday was the first time I had fish at Timo. The couple of times I've been, I've always stopped at the pasta menu! The sea bass was pretty darn delicious though. When they brought it to our table, the waiter said they were running out! That concerned me of course, because we were getting one of the last pieces of sea bass. But, it was really good.

              1. re: GA578


                Was Timo your go-to spot instead of the Forge Saturday? Glad that all worked out for you! You seemed so down on the prospect of dining The Forge in your last post...


                1. re: advisor_Girl

                  Yes! We're so glad it worked out. We actually had reservations at The Forge but when we saw how the weather was, and since our friends have this condo in that part of Collins where we were going to be, we decided not to travel too south. I did some research on The Forge though and now I kind of want to go! Funny how that happens...

        2. Living in NMB I agree that Timo is a wonderful restaurant. I am good friends with one of the folks that cooked there and they take a deep pride in the dishes they provide. They are friendly folks so let them know what you think when you go there! I also like going to North 110 (Biscayne and 110th ave ne), a fabulous restaurant run by Dewey LaSasso. He is real good at his craft as well as Tim from Timo's.

          1. I always enjoy my dinners at Timo and just noticed that they were open for lunch on weekdays. Their lunch menu is not posted online. Has anyone been there for lunch? Is it as good as dinner?