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Nov 8, 2008 08:04 AM

Miami: Restaurants in Sunny Isle and SOBE

We are heading to Miami for the Art Basel in December and have opted to stay in the Sunny Isle area (to get away from the crowds and party scene). However, as I started my search for restaurants, I was only able to find a few chow worthy reccomendations for that area (Il Mulino, Timo, Yakko San, Gourmet Diner); the majority of the restaurants that are on our list (Michy's , Michael's Genuine, Andu , Ortanique, Sardinia, Joes Stone Crab as well as an assortment of cheaper cuban joints) are so far away. While I don't mind driving, I'm afraid the traffic congestion will maybe not make it worth it. So two questions: Are there more restuarants that I am missing on my list (i.e. more ethnic cuban/russian places) for the Sunny Isle area? Or should I bite the bullet and stay in SOBE (or Bricknell, Bar Harbour) so I can be closer to the restaurant scene?

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  1. I'm not sure I understand. How many days are you going to be here that you're concerned that's not enough choices in Sunny Isles?

    Only a couple of the places you mention are in South Beach (Sardinia, Joe's), so if you want to go to the others you've mentioned, you're going to be driving regardless. Same is true if you elect to stay in Brickell or Bal Harbour. If Sunny Isles is your home base, most of those restaurants are certainly no more or less far away than Art Basel itself will be for you.

    If you stay in Sunny Isles, one other option you might be interested in - at the Trump Hotel the chefs do a once-a-week tasting menu of contemporary "alta cocina" type stuff. A thread on a recent dinner is here ->

    Sunny Isles is also not terribly far from the North Beach area where there are a number of choices. I've made a Google map here ->

    Edited to add - Not sure if I've been clear. Sunny Isles is out of the way for both Art Basel and many restaurants, though there are enough good options even in Sunny Isles area to fill a long weekend. Most of the other restaurants you mention will require driving even if you're staying in South Beach - South Beach may be a bit closer, but once you're in the car does it make much difference? Most of the traffic will be getting on and off South Beach.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Frodnesor

      Thanks for your reply and the awesome map! We will be there for a full week and being the nutty person I am, I usually have a list of breakfast, lunch, dinner places (and back up plans in case the place is too crowded or closed) that corresponds with our daily itinerary. When I started mapping all the places out, everything looked so far and a couple of my friends had said that the traffic during Art Basel was terrible. I guess I was trying to figure out a location that would be the epicenter for food as well as being a reasonable distance to the Art Basel/Art Miami. We are looking for a mix of cuban food and not to be missed Miami cuisine (we have lived in SF, Houston, NYC, Boston, Chicago). Any rec's for other restuarants?

        1. re: tpigeon

          In Surfside there's Ragazzi.....good local Italian
          Pescecani.... same menu as Il Mulino but better and not as pricey
          Adriana....Peruvian, great salads at lunch
          Bal Harbour has the View Bar and One Bleu at the Regent Hotel...amazing water views, and Mark of Marks Place is in the kitchen and all is good.
          There are a number of ethnic restaurants in the strip malls that line Collins Ave in Sunny Isles.

          1. re: dlgc

            dlgc - do you have any specific recommendations for any of the Eastern Bloc places around the Sunny Isles stretch of Collins? I've always been intrigued but never tried any of these.

        2. re: jayk

          No shame in that, I usually make the same lists when I travel! Miami (or South Florida) is not incredibly pedestrian-friendly, and unless you were going to stay in South Beach and only eat in South Beach, you will end up driving or cabbing - and if you limited yourself to South Beach you would miss some of the best places to eat. On the other hand there's noplace to stay in the Design District (which has several of the city's best eats, incl. Michael's Genuine, Pacific Time, soon to be a new Michelle Bernstein tapas place in the former Domo Japones space which may be open by Art Basel time).

          That google map I linked to has many of my other favorite places including some more moderately priced places. If you're looking to "go local" I'd suggest expanding your horizons beyond Cuban and looking to some of our other Latin American neighbors' cuisines, including Argentinian (Las Vacas Gordas in North Beach for the low-brow version, Grazianos in West Miami or Coral Gables for a more elevated version), Peruvian (some passable places like Chalan on the Beach in South Beach, or again a little higher scale at Francescos in Coral Gables or more nuevo-latino at places like La Cofradia or Cacao), Uruguayan (El Rey de Chivito for a sandwich that will kill you - possibly literally), or Colombian (e.g., La Perrada de Edgar in North Beach for a rather unusual hotdog experience).

          If you have patience for a sometimes slow kitchen and sometimes flaky service, Red Light is a funky place on Biscayne Blvd. and the Little River which has a short menu driven by local ingredients and is one of my favorites for a simple dinner. Particularly good are the New Orleans style bbq shrimp, the roasted quail, the burger, the ribs, and the homemade ice creams.

          1. re: Frodnesor

            Frodnesor, We have never tried any of the Eastern Bloc places in Sunny Isles. They do look interesting.

            1. re: dlgc

              Thanks for everyone's response. In my research, I saw someone post regarding this place:
              "One which we like is Lula's Kebobs in the RK shopping center at 180th and Collins. Terrific borscht and chicken soup with pelmenis"
              Neptune – 171 Sunny Isles Blvd. ; seafood restaurant – moderately priced;
              Tatiana – 1710 E. Hallandale Beach Blvd –pretty expensive, very elaborate atmosphere;
              Sugar Rush Café, 18090 Collins Ave, Sunny Isles Beach;
              Hope that helps!