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Jan 19, 2009 12:35 PM

Please help select MIA high end dining for group of various ages...

We are taking my grandmother, who is turning 90 (and is a very spry, with it, 90, I may add) out for her birthday dinner---four people ages 35-90--all foodies and need some help finding a place that has a special ambience, is not too trendy/loud, and has outstanding food, too. Last year, we did Casa Tua, which, although the food is not a 4 start, IMO, it was still a great night, sitting in the terrace enjoying a four course dinner....does not need to be formal--nothing stuffy, but more than a neighborhood (too casual) place. by design district, but willing to go to Miami Beach, etc.

I was thinking of this a good choice? what are better options? open to Italian, Thai, American--just no Indian, French, Japanese (rats!), or steak houses--something more interesting with fab food.

Thank you!

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  1. Baleen sounds good -- other places I can think of would be Scarpetta @ the Fountainebleau or Prime Italian maybe?

    1. I would not recommend Baleen anymore. Scarpetta though - yes! Asia de Cuba is now here in the Mondrian too. What about the Palm D'Or in the Biltmore?

      1 Reply
      1. re: midmit

        Palm D'Or is geared towards older age, is quiet, old school ambiance, does feel like a special occasion place, serves amuse bouche, etc.

      2. Is Michaels Genuine or Michys too casual? I would go there if not.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tpigeon

          I love both restaurants, Michael's especially, but they can be very loud depending on the night and where you're seated.

        2. How about Il Gabbiano in downtown Miami - good Italian food (although a bit pricey) and great ambiance - right on Biscayne Bay. Another choice could be Emeril's at the Loews Hotel.

          6 Replies
          1. re: cnwine

            I would do Scarpetta over Il Gabbiano. Haven't heard much good about Emeril's recently.

            1. re: Frodnesor

              we are doing Michael's on thursday, and Sardinia on Sun, so we need something with a great ambience for the special occasion--typically not a fan of htoel restaurants...something similar to Casa Tua (I know some of you cringe, but I do love the ambience there, although food is not the best)...any other thoughts?

              1. re: ljero

                Asia de cuba at the modrian has killer water views. Best in south beach by a long shot. I have zero idea how good the food is.

              2. re: Frodnesor

                Just an aside, I saw a commercial recently on FoodNetwork for Emeril's show, promoting his new healthy menu they said was going to featured at his Sobe place. Emeril??????

                1. re: onthelam

                  Sorry, the above was meant to be up-thread re Frodesnor's comment about Emeril's.

                  1. re: onthelam

                    Had not heard anything but sounds very interesting. Any further information/investigations would be much appreciated

            2. What about Loftin's 1116 @ Casa Casuarina? Ive heard good things and Im sure the ambiance and noise level would be perfect for your party. Unfortunately, I cant say Ive tried myself. You can view their menu at

              5 Replies
              1. re: Blind Mind

                I haven't tried it either but it looks really good, they had a segment about it on Deco Drive... can't beat the location either.

                1. re: Blind Mind

                  I'd been there before with a club member, but went last week for the first time since they've "opened to the public." You are allowed to dine on the first floor, either on the front terrace or in the courtyard, but not downstairs by the pool. Cool little bar on the first floor that overlooks the pool is great place for a pre-dinner drink. Foie Gras with pineapple and lobster fricassee were awesome. Gnocchi in fricassee was made by angels. Also had grouper with shaved horseradish. It was delicious and served on a hot brick of sea salt. Somehow it didn't overcook the fish, each bite was juicy, and the last bite was as hot as the first. It picked up a little salt flavor, but not too much. Pretty interesting. Wine list was deep, some prices good, others too high, but deals could be found. Service was really good, especially for the Beach. Location is unbeatable, the food is up there with the best around. Kinda pricey in a P112 way, but it was refreshing to get what you pay for.

                  1. re: rockysobe

                    I missed the Deco Drive segment on Loftin's 1116. What's the atmosphere like there? Upscale/formal? Casual? Lively or sedate? Indoor vs. outdoor seating? Because you are not a member---do you feel as though you are not receiving the full treatment? In any event, It sounds great.....!

                    1. re: Debbie

                      Now I'm confusing myself trying to describe it... Upscale upper casual??? Miami chic w/o the cheese??? We sat outside though I understand there is a small dining room. Lively where we sat, but saw quieter looking tables the further you got from the entrance. Besides being very good, the staff actually smiled and seemed to care that you were having a good time. The only time I felt like a commoner was watching the members going upstairs to the member's only lounge and not being allowed to dine in the pool area but zero attitude from the staff.

                      1. re: rockysobe

                        Thanks! You don't sound confused at all... I can do without the chesse