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Jun 17, 2008 08:38 AM

Eccentric/Unconventional Miami

Happy Wine, El Palacio de Jugos, El Morro Castle, El Carajo, Le Sandwicherie, -- even Versailles mirrored, post Communist, faux Eastern bloc interior design.

What else has atypical appeal or cachet?

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  1. What is El Morro Castle?

    I'd add:

    Red Light
    Sushi Deli
    Hy Vong
    Yakko San
    Salmon Salmon

    3 Replies
    1. re: jessierandall


      Home of the giant Cuban Sammie - Morro Castle 1201 W. 44th Pl in Beautiful Downtown Hi-a-leah! (Get "down" off the Palmetto at 103rd and drive eastbound to W 12th AV (Milander) and make a right)...


        1. re: advisor_Girl

          And at the original on NW 7th/aka Luis Sabines Way, where I was introduced to batidos de mamey and trigo and Cuban car hop service back in the day, all nestled in the shadows (long shadows) of the (wreckage of the) Orange Bowl.

      1. The sidewalk coffee windows at any Cuban restaurant.

        And the Sushi + Thai phenomenon that only seems to happen here.

        I'd also throw in El Rey del Chivito and El Rey de las Fritas.

        And Karma: tapas and beer before getting into your newly cleaned automobile.

        1. Yambo
          Chez Rosie
          Con Tutto
          Habana Vieja
          The one table at the tiny armenian grocery store at 22nd and Coral Way
          Oriental Grocery on Coral Way (they have eat-in tables)

          5 Replies
          1. re: karmalaw

            could you provide the address or cross street on Coral Way for the Oriental Grocery. Thanks

              1. re: Icantread

                no.. the armenian is at 22nd Ave.. Oriental Grocery is technically at : 1760 SW 3rd Ave -- but 3rd Avenue is Coral Way at that point -- if you're coming from Brickell get on Coral Way (SW 13th Street), follow it past Publix and past Walgreen's, around the bend, and the Oriental Grocery will be on your right after you go under I-95.

                Oriental Grocery is middle eastern, btw -- not asian -- so you aren't surprised.

                1. re: karmalaw

                  Correct, the Oriental Grocery is Syrian, if I remember correctly.

                  The "Armenian" I thought was Palestinian... The Middle East Best Food is the name of the place, and I think I like it a tad bit more than Oriental even though it is smaller. I think I like it more because of fresher baked goods. But it's harder to spot since the signage is smaller. But if you're just walking around the street, look for "Comida Arabe" (Spanish for Arabian Food). The man who runs it speaks many languages, including English, Spanish, Arabic and Hebrew (or was it French... or both?).

                  Also, people flocking to the Lebanese maronite church nearby on Coral Way would also direct most people to go to Middle East Best rather than Oriental. That might be saying something!

                  1. re: mialebven

                    Yes - the little market at Coral Way and 22nd is a true gem -- and great place to pick up spices . The economy and rising rents forced him to downsize -- but the owner is a true GEM -- and now that I'm thinking -- he may be lebanese or syrian -- my memory on it is fuzzy -- but, it's no matter -- what he has is great (including several types of Feta cheese).

          2. anybody have any recs on where to go for:
            stuffed brioche french toast
            taiwanese porkchop over rice
            bolani (Afghani stuffed flatbread)
            fresh soymilk with youtiao (deepfried dough) and XLB
            porkbelly sandwich (i.e. open faced)
            Vietnamese claypot catfish
            Hainan chicken rice
            salted caramel ice cream, etc.
            halo halo (dessert)
            fresh manju
            French style tapas
            dessert bar
            best Niman Ranch burger

            42 Replies
            1. re: ankimo


              I nominate Ankimo's request to the esteemed all-star, all time, bar-raising post of the month club.

              Aside from the Niman Ranch burger, let's see what answers Frodnesor, Miami Danny, Advisor Girl, Karmalaw, Lax2Mia, Mialebven, ICRead, Blindmind, and the rest of you come up with for this.

              1. re: ankimo

                halo halo- there was/is a Filipino place on 17th St. in Ft Lauderdale called Pagasus Pinoy. Not sure of it is still around. Anyone know?

                1. re: ankimo

                  Having some cravings, are we ankimo?

                  Icebox Cafe on Lincoln Road does good stuffed french toast (sometimes pbj, sometimes guava and cheese, etc.) but I don't think they use brioche. Chocolate Fashion in the Gables does brioche french toast but they don't stuff it. Ah, if only they could combine forces.

                  Halo halo - menupages lists a Filipino place called "American Adobo" on 125th St. in North Miami.

                  The rest? NY or SF, perhaps? What I wouldn't give for even just decent XLB.

                  1. re: ankimo

                    This seems like one of those lists of "stuff I can't get in Miami". Except the salted caramel ice cream, which I make myself.

                    1. re: lax2mia

                      thanks for the input
                      since we're on the theme of "stuff I can't get in Miami," anyone have any recs for:
                      oyster po'boy
                      spinach deep dish pizza
                      chinese beef noodle soup
                      olive oil cake
                      banana cream tart
                      Hong Kong style desserts
                      taco truck
                      Dutch fries
                      blood oranges
                      bone marrow -- only Bourbon Steak?
                      best soufflés -- Two chefs?
                      best confectionery -- Romanicos?
                      a breakfast place serving up frittatas, crab omelettes, and something like lemon ricotta pancakes or raspberry oreo flapjacks

                      1. re: ankimo

                        Alright, here's my shot:

                        Taco truck: Orale off Douglas Rd. at Douglas Park
                        Blood oranges: occassionally at Whole Foods (used to have at Costco)
                        Breakfast: crab and eggs at Icebox. Raspberry oreo flapjacks just sound gross.

                        1. re: lax2mia

                          kolache / piroshki - there are several Russian / East European restaurants and delis around the Sunny Isles area that may fit the bill.

                          jambalaya / oyster po'boy - jambalaya @ Creolina's in FTL; oyster po'boy @ Christabelle's in the Grove (lunch menu). Note I'm not personally vouching for it, just saying it's on the menu.

                          taco truck - Orale indeed, though I've usually seen the truck at the Citgo station on 27th Ave. west of 836.

                          blood oranges - sometimes at Whole Foods, Norman Bros., occasionally even at Publix (Miami Shores).

                          bone marrow - yes to Bourbon Steak, but just order an osso buco just about anywhere and you ought to get a nice little bit of marrow in your veal shank bone.

                          souffle - Talula used to do an excellent chocolate souffle (in a coffee cup) but it's been off the menu for some time. Ate recently at Pascal's on Ponce, a cheese souffle app was very nice, I was less impressed by the dessert chocolate souffle.

                          second Icebox on breafkast.

                          What are Dutch fries?

                          1. re: Frodnesor

                            thanks for the all recs
                            Dutch fries = "patat," where they make thick steak fries with various dipping sauces

                            1. re: ankimo

                              Wow, now there's a taste from the past. I found the Dutch fries the most addictive vice in Amsterdam, despite the obvious competition from other (ahem) options. Personal fav was the curry dipping sauce.

                              1. re: YosemiteSam

                                Those "other options" are probably what made the fries so appealing in the first place.

                            2. re: Frodnesor

                              Love the cheese souffle at Pascal's, for dessert though I go for the pistachio ?Island? DOn't remember what it's called now but it floats on a sauce and is light and decadent at the same time.

                              1. re: Icantread

                                must be an ile flottante (floating island) - a meringue type thing over creme anglaise.

                                1. re: Frodnesor

                                  Sounds about right. So either he or I translated it at some point. Btw Frod, I found it interesting that on my last visit I saw some Scholium wines on the list at Pascal's

                              2. re: Frodnesor

                                Thank you. I went to Christabella', and it looks great! It's in the Grove, and I'm not very far from there. They have a great looking New Orleans-type flair. The menu looks great. I'm definitely going to have to give it a try. Anyone eaten there before?

                                1. re: catpoz

                                  Most early reports on the food and service were mixed (I'm probably being generous) ->

                                  The original chef (Alex Patout, a genuine N.O. guy who had something of a reputation there before coming here to Miami) is now gone and the menu supposedly has been updated some. Have not seen much feedback since the shakeup.

                            3. re: ankimo

                              Taco trucks.. there are a few.. there's one at NW 20th Street and 22nd Avenue at the "camel" station.. there's a yucatanean one that can be found somewhere in the general area of 12th avenue to 27th avenue (they briefly had a full permanent set-up on the side of a liquor store on 12th Ave just north of the miami river).

                              Kris Wessel at Red Light makes oyster po'boys (call ahead).

                              For russian/eastern european foods: Markys on 79th Street just east of Biscayne Boulevard has a number of treasures (where else are you going to get that violin shaped bottle of Moldovian Granat? See:



                              There is a Macau Bakery on 167th/163rd Street -- as well as a taiwanese one.. and some chinese ones.... for a fun afternoon why not bakery hop down the road, sampling desserts?

                              1. re: ankimo

                                Personally, I like Chuao's chocolates over Romanico's.

                                Chuao Chocolatier
                                70 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables - Miami, FL 33134

                                1. re: ankimo

                                  Don't stop Ankimo any mo'.

                                  What else can't we get?

                                  Weissbier mit schuss!
                                  tea leaf salad
                                  jackfruit curry
                                  cacio e pepe
                                  hainan chicken rice (again)
                                  Hot Brown
                                  St. Paul sandwich

                                  1. re: taiga

                                    Bif Rendang:

                                    Bali Cafe, NE 2nd Avenue and NE 2nd Street.

                                    1. re: karmalaw

                                      2nd Bali Cafe....better than Indomania

                                      Orale Taco truck is indeed at the Citgo on 27th from Monday-Friday...elsewhere (I assume Douglas) on the weekends.

                                      Chuao's is indeed at least more interesting than Romanicos.

                                      Lemon Ricotta Pancakes I have had at Sarabeth's in Key West (very good), but can't seem to find here.... so I started making them myself...

                                      Nice style frittatas at Sardinia in SoBe for brunch on the weekends...I love the one with spaghetti and peas...

                                      And please someone follow up on the deep dish pizza request... I have been craving some for the last 2 months of my pregnancy!

                                      1. re: yomyb

                                        yomyb- try Capone's Flicker Lite for Chicago deep dish on the intracoastal in Hollywood.

                                        Capone's Flicker Lite Pizza
                                        1014 N Ocean Dr, Hollywood, FL 33019

                                        1. re: yomyb

                                          chuau has great chocolate, and it should be noted, now features gelatos which are quite tasty as well.

                                      2. re: taiga

                                        uh, new craving: where should I go for a frozen custard (concrete)?

                                        1. re: ankimo

                                          Siciliano's on Hollywood Blvd just East of 441

                                          1. re: ankimo

                                            anybody know where I can get a mexican torta, i.e. milanesa?

                                          2. re: taiga


                                            The recipe for Hot Brown is here. I feared it was something more kinky than a turkey and bacon sammie - you devil!


                                            Fugassa can be found at 167th & 6th Ave in NMB at the newly reopened Vito's 16601 NE 6th Ave 305-944-6100. They spell theirs with zz but it's the same thing. I have not been there yet, but it's now half Vito's and half BBQ so you KNOW I am on my way! Back in the day a fugazza from Vito's was legendary!

                                            Also in the 163rd/167th Little Chinatown corridor is a new City BBQ opening across the street from the former Subcenter (GOD I loved Subcenter and the famous 6 footer). City BBQ is being built from the ashes of the former donut shop next to Sang's 1925 NE 163rd St NMB...

                                            Also standing by for Headband Howie's sweaty BBQ on 15400 Biscayne Blvd. I think you can get shakshooka at the little Jerusalem deli next door to Paquito's at 163rd & Biscayne too.


                                            1. re: taiga

                                              Shakshooka at any number of Israeli places around Miami Gardens Drive and West Dixie Highway. I also had a weak rendition at Coral Bagels on US1.

                                            2. re: ankimo

                                              Any real po'boys? I've never seen one in Miami.

                                              Subcenter in North Miami Beach used to have the best Italian subs, mixed. I don't think they're still there, and I've not found a sub as good since. Their sub bread was great too.

                                              1. re: catpoz

                                                Not that I am aware of. Paninoteca had a very good muffaletta when Wessel (red light) opened the place a few years ago. Haven't been in a while.

                                                I went to college in New Orleans and lived on jambalay, crawfish, oyster and shrimp po-boys. Two places high on my list to try in Broward are Rosey Baby and Shuck N Dive

                                                1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                                                  I forgot that Titanic Brewery near UM has a shrimp po-boy on their menu. Have not been down there in years and don't recall it being anything special/close to the real thing but will defer to a hound who has been recently.

                                                  1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                                                    Chow, did you go to Tulane? I graduated there in 05 and have been trying for the life of me to find a place that does great Etoufee, Gumbo, Jambalaya, etc. down here. Still yet to discover it.

                                                    1. re: mikek

                                                      Yes and I didn't feel old until I you posted that 05 on me. You must have been the last pre-katrina class. I'm going to make an effort to head to Rosey Baby in the near future and will post back. Not expecting Domilise's though

                                                  2. re: catpoz

                                                    They're still open on Hollywood Blvd and 441, one of the original locations, and they're even better than I remembered. They're pricey, but worth it.

                                                  3. re: ankimo

                                                    Roasted marrow bones were a daily special at Michy's this Saturday night ->

                                                    It is absurdly expensive, but if you've just got to have it, the menu for the Restaurant at the Setai has hainese chicken rice (and beef rendang).
                                                    Setai really does have an interesting menu, shame it's so pricey (has kept me from ever trying).

                                                2. re: ankimo

                                                  There are, on and off, hidden little filipino places in downtown miami. Many of the crew on the ships that come into the Port of Miami are filipino or indonesian. Take a wander down the area of SE 3rd Avenue from Flagler to SE 2nd St. It's also possible that the Bali Cafe on NE 2nd Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets may have it.

                                                  There are a few taiwanese places in NMB.. you may have to just poke your head in and ask... Shing Wang won't have it (they are vegetarian), but perhaps they will know someone who does:


                                                  1. re: karmalaw

                                                    Had a great lunch a couple of months ago at this little indonesian joint called "Garuda" (152 Se 1st Ave, hidden away in the middle of the block) right around there... don't know if it has survived. Had a hilarious experience there: I'm dressed in a suit for work and I walk into the place at around 2 pm one day - there's only one person in the whole place, a woman behind the counter who takes one look at my suit and white skin and bellows at me, "No sushi!" After I explained that I was really looking for indonesian food, she calmed down and I had a great meal for ten bucks. She said they were having problems getting someone to work there and she didn't know how long they would be open - the food she had that day had been prepared by a chef before he went to his other job, and she was just keeping it warm. Their main customers are the indonesian guys who work on the cruise ships, and they always come in in the mornings, so they usually close before 3 pm. She told me Saturday mornings get raucous because a lot of guys are in town and they play trad indonesian music in the upstairs of the restaurant, but unfortunately I haven't been back to check it out.

                                                  2. re: ankimo

                                                    Ankimo, Salted caramel ice cream

                                                    Just saw this place and they ship mentioned in a chowhound summer gift ad and they ship to Fl.


                                                    1. re: ankimo

                                                      Hainan chicken was on the menu at Little Saigon Vietnamese in North Miami (167th St. & Miami Ave.). I didn't try it. Can't recall the entire menu but it was pretty lengthy and they might be an option for claypot fish too.

                                                      1. re: ankimo

                                                        They do indeed have halo halo at American Adobo, I stopped in to check it out this weekend (family's been gone for the weekend, so I've been exploring).

                                                        The food was decent+, had a pork dish that was sort of like a fried sweet and sour pork but more caramelized, a nice vegetable dish with winter squash, green beans and little bits of pork, and a bowl of rice (everything is served from steam table but they will fry a fish to order).

                                                        The halo halo was the real winner for me (first time trying it). I still have no real idea what was in there - a layer of red mung beans, garbanzos (?), bits of fruit, technicolor green jello-bits, shaved ice, condensed milk, a scoop of technicolor purple on top (yam paste?) - but it was good.

                                                        Really nice lady working behind the counter. Seems like everybody else there was family or friends, as folks were hopping behind the counter to wash their hands or help themselves to food. And I found myself becoming inexplicably engrossed in a Filipino movie playing on the TV featuring "Mr. Suave", a chaps-wearing Austin Powers type with a Salvador Dali-esque mustache who has the unfortunate habit of literally freezing every time he attempts to get intimate with someone.

                                                        Don't think that's entertaining? Check this out ->
                                                        Watch this and you too will be singing "Hoy hoy hoy hoy hoy hoy hoy!"

                                                        1. re: Frodnesor

                                                          Adding place links for American Adobo and Little Saigon.

                                                          Little Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant
                                                          16752 N Miami Ave, North Miami Beach, FL 33169

                                                          American Adobo Philippine
                                                          633 NE 125th St North, Miami, FL

                                                      2. This story in the Herald grabbed my attention:

                                                        How about those Italian tacos, anyone, for a buck a pop? Never heard of the 4th P. until the article came up.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: mialebven

                                                          Want a real amazing hole-in-the-wall joint, tucked away in some kind of warehouse district (technically, I believe it's 'Fashion')? Korean food, no less. Someone turned me onto Choice Cafe. They do so many things right. Great panchan (the little plates) , amazing hot pots, including beef, pork, and fish (all topped by a runny egg, of course), and it is frequented by many Koreans. No frills, but plenty of street cred. The neighborhood may look deserted, but it is safe. Only open until about 4 or 5 PM for (breakfast?) and lunch. Noodles are great, and they have bulgogi if you must. Kimchi & Pork BBQ "spicy marinated thin sliced" is enough for two. Lots of food here. For photos and videos go to
                                                          Choice Cafe
                                                          2750 NW 3rd Ave
                                                          Miami, FL 33127
                                                          (305) 438-4224

                                                          1. re: Miami Danny

                                                            It's been there for YEARS..... pretty odd place and never open for dinner.. but, it's the real deal because of all the korean vendors in the warehouse district.