Miami/South Beach - one night, one dinner
I'll be in SoBe tomorrow night, and I'd love a good recommendation for dinner.
Right now, the best recommendation I've gotten is "Pacific Time", but since I'm coming from California, fusion-seafood doesn't feel all that interesting to me.
I want semi-sophisticated, perhaps a little wine-centric, and certainly if there's something with a good Cuban influence, that's something I don't get much of back here.
The only other restriction is that I've got to be able to get a reservation for tomorrow night! I've only got one night in town, and if I can make a good dinner the centerpiece of my stay, I'd be ecstatic.
Unfortunately a lot of restaurants on South Beach are really iffy - either the food is horrible or the service is dreadful. It's not uncommon to strike out on both.
My best recommendation would be Joley, which is at the Astor Hotel on Washington and 9th Street. Excellent basil martinis, good service, and a very creative and well thought out menu.
Other choices would be Tuscan Steak (gnocchi and truffled cheese bread are awesome) and Joe's Stone Crab (only if you're willing to wait in line and only if you are a huge seafood fan). I have also heard Escopazzo is good, and also enjoy SushiSamba Dromo on Lincoln Road.
Pacific Time's Lincoln Road location closed about two years ago...it's now just over the water from Miami Beach in the Design District. The new incarnation is good, but I would go to Michael's Genuine if you're planning to go off the beach and into the Design District.
I think all of these places (except Joe's) have reservations available on OpenTable.com.
Our cuban is actually overrated (ironic isn't it) however, we do other central and south amercian places very well (except mexico which you utterly destroy us). As for other recommendations...
P112 love it but not convinced it is what you are looking for. If you go, don't get steak, get the seabass, mac & cheese, shrimp cocktail, onion soup....
Joley is good but not worth going out of your way for. It is an expensive french bistro kind of place.
Tuscan Steak - breaks my heart but is not as good as it used to be, particularly the dishes mentioned.
Joes is great, the place invented the concept of stone crabs and mustard it is one of the few miami institutions you should go at least once...
Michaels and Michys are great choices but maybe not what you are looking for but maybe you are - both are very creative and great experiences. Your experience varies depending on what you order but is always at least good, many consider these as the best places to eat in miami, I think michaels has a bit of a consistency issue (sometimes great sometimes merely good). I think michys is great but some dishes she tries dont work sometimes. The great thing about both places is they are trying something new almost all the time.
if you want to eat what miami is strongest at that is probably better than what you can get in LA go to:
Baires - south beach - argentinian steakhouse
Grazianos - the original is the best on bird rd, the one in coral gables is very good but I think if you are in south beach you should either go to the original on bird rd or baires as the CG location is not worth the trip considering how great baires is.
Francesco - peruvian, coral gables. Get the ceviche any of the squid ink dishes and the tres leches for dessert.