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Aug 10, 2008 03:31 PM

Miami Beach - Good, Cheap & Ethnic

Will be in Miami Beach (Best Western on Collins Ave.) at the end of the month with my wife and kids. I'm looking for good to great ethnic places to take the kids for cheap dinners. We love Indian, Thai, and Vietnamese as well as others (Latin/Cuban, Chinese, Italian, Middle Eastern, etc.). Could you please recommend some restaurants near the hotel that are good, cheap and ethnic? I would also like to go to Little Havana (a place where my wife's grandfather spent time after immigrating from Cuba in the 50's) and have lunch. What's the best Cuban restaurant there?

I also plan on taking my wife out for one evening and would love some recommendations in South Beach or Miami for drinks, some live Latin/Cuban music, dancing and a place for a good, but not really expensive meal. I have been told there are endless outdoor bars with live music in South Beach but would love a recommendation for music and/or dancing. Thanks, I really appreciate it. I'm looking forward to some relaxation in your fair city before returning to work for the beginning of the school year.

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  1. There was a decent Italian place on 41 St. west of your hotel. El Pomodoro, IIRC.
    Also Arnie's and Richie's Deli is on 41 Street, though I haven't been there since it changed owners (now called Roasters & Toasters).
    Oasis Cafe at the far end of 41 Street is an eclectic joint that has some Mid-Eastern specialties. That is about all there is in that area that meet your criteria.
    If You can go south to Lincoln Rd. and Washington Ave. (much too far to walk) you can access the City's tram system, which can really open up your options. I think it costs like $.50 to ride.
    Pita Plus at 11 St. and Washington is a very casual Mid-Eastern place with great shwarma, tabouli, etc... Puerto Sagua at 700 Washington has very good, authentic Cuban that is very inexpensive.
    I'm sure others here can make many more suggestions.

    11 Replies
    1. re: keysrat

      Geez, looks like we'll be in a culinary wasteland! Not to worry though. I take it that I'll have to venture down into South Beach for more ethnic places? What is parking like? Will I be able to park without that much of a problem? Thanks!

      1. re: Schpsychman

        There is a municipal parking garage on 17th Street just west of Washington, and another on Washington at 10th Street. There is a limited number of curbside parking spaces along Washington but they go fast- and first. Better to use the garage/tram combo.
        Since you mentioned "cheap" in your criteria, you will need to hunt around a bit. There are some fine ethnic restaurants that are inexpensive but most everything else on South Beach is ridiculously overpriced. Frod and AG post here frequently and should be able to point you in the right direction.
        Almost forgot- there are two very good Greek restaurants on the Beach- Ouzo's on Purdy Ave. and Ariston on 71 Street. Not cheap but not terribly expensive either. Try the grilled octopus at Ouzo's. As good as any I had in Greece.
        There isn't a Vietnamese place anywhere near MB. The best Indian place around is in North Miami Beach, but it is pretty expensive.

          1. re: keysrat

            I am pretty sure Ouzo's closed in SoBe.

            in Miami Beach by 41st street there is only what has been mentioned.

            In South Beach there is plenty of ethnic eats, although they may not be the best in Miami.

            Chalan: Peruvian
            Liberty Grill: Argentinian
            Sardinia: Italian/Sardinian
            Chinese: Mr Chu's
            French Casual: A La Folie
            No good Thai or Vietnamese here though...
            Search South beach on the board for many similar requests to find others, especially on the Cuban food. If you mean you are going to Calle Ocho...there are plenty of nice cheap eats there. Again just do a search on the board!

            1. re: yomyb

              I don't like Mr. Chu anymore. It has declined. It is not cheap either. Sardinia is great but may be more expensive than what the poster was looking for. Maybe not, though as it is not hugely expensive but it is not downright cheap like chalan or puerto sagua.

              1. re: tpigeon

                you are right...not cheap..but not incredibly expensive either... I still like Mr Chu's dim sum and that is very affordable...

                1. re: yomyb

                  I dont. It has declined much unfortunately both in quality and offerings.

          2. re: Schpsychman

            In sobe
            A la folie (bring your mosquito spray)
            El Chalan
            Puerto Sagua
            Greek Place on 19th and collins
            Pita Plus (the one between 10th & 11th on washington)
            Other pita place between collins & washington on 6th
            Liberty steak house

            1. re: tpigeon

              Thank you all! This is very helpful. One final question if I may indulge while I have you: best place in SoBe that is trendy, sexy, and won't cost me an arm and a leg to take my wife out to for a nice evening(moderate, meaning entrees in the $25-30 range)? Are Lario's or Yuca worth it or are the tourist traps? Thanks again....

              1. re: Schpsychman

                No way on both of those. Go to sardinia, sushi samba (not as good as sardinia but has good crowds and is "sexier" than sardinia) or even china grille (about as good as sushi samba in atmosphere and food) will get you better meals and a better crowd than the places you mentioned. If you go to the lido at the standard during sunset, it can be very romantic. Stick to the grilled stuff. It has got to be not raining and not too hot...

              2. re: tpigeon

                I'd be remiss if I did not mention a little shop between 12th and 13th on washington. Better for takeout but they have these things called italian tacos. 1 buck each and some of them are very good. They are not as amazing as made out in the herald but are probably the best bargain in south beach.

                I like the sausage and the proscuitto wih cheese best. But enjoyed all of them.

          3. Try Charlottes Restaurant on Washington and 15th Street for very good and inexpensive Argentine skirt steak ($8.95), grilled chicken and other specialties all under 9 dollars! (lunch and dinner) I like Mr.Chu's for afternoon dim sum. It's inexpensive and very good. Try the shrimp dumplings, the sui mai (pork and shrimp dumplings) and the eggplant. Pork fried dumplings are also good. David's Cafe (Meridian just off Lincoln Rd) or Puerto Sagua (8th and Collins)are both good for Cuban. Chalan's is definitely a good choice for Peruvian (Washington and 16th) . If you can get yourselves up to Collins and 74th street (take a bus) there is Cafe Cypo a Brazilian restaurant that is very good. Daily specials. I love the chicken on Wednesdays. (Collins between 74 and 75th) Feijoada on Saturdays.

            1. May I suggest Tap Tap Haitian? If you like Indian and Thai you may like it too. Funky deco w colorful murals, some spicy dishes w lots of rice, and not that expensive.

              And I think there is Pasha's for Middle Eastern. Not exactly cheap as well the menu price looks low, the portion is really small too.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tarepanda

                Sultan is better and cheaper than pasha. I don't like mr chu anymore. Always wanted to try charlotte. Tap Tap is good too.