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Apr 1, 2009 08:11 AM

NYC Transplant’s View on Miami Restaurants

I moved to South Beach 2 months ago from New York and I’ve been trying to eat at the “best” spots. Below are my quick takes on the places I’ve been so far. Comments are appreciated (especially if a restaurants deserves a second try). Below are most memorable (the good and the bad).

In no particular order:

The Bad
Sardinia: I’ve had dinner here twice – the second time ordering the “tasting” menu. It was mediocre and unmemorable. Give me Lupa on Thompson. I’m really into Italian wine and the bartender kept trying to sell me French varieties (yes, they were Italian producers, but I didn’t want to drink the house cab). No desire to go back.

Prime 112: Overrated. The fish apps were fine, but nothing remarkable (had the ceviche and prawns). The steak was great (as you would expect paying that much) and the sides were fine. I was told “BEST STEAK PLACE EVER” and it didn’t live up – give me BLT Prime on 22nd St. You are paying for the scene more than anything – I’m not motivated by flashy places though… Might go back (if I wasn’t paying).

Joe’s Stone Crab: Overrated. The food was good and fresh, but at the end of the day you’re eating a platter of cooked crab w/ your hands. Glad I went for the experience, but no desire to go back. Definitely not worth the hours you need to wait (and I’m not one for “greasing” the host to get a table – that whole side I find nearly offensive).

Michael’s Genuine: I wanted to like this place SO much. Ate at the bar, loved my bartender and the wine. Had oysters (yum), ceviche (bland) and sweetbreads (overcooked?). I want to go back to give it a second go, I’ll chalk it up to “off night”.

Meat Market: Didn’t eat the food just had a drink or two, but hands down the most OVER PRICED wine list I’ve ever seen. The 2004 Pio Cesare Barolo retails for ~$55 I bought this bottle at Spiga on South Beach for ~$100 – Meat Market charges $165. This is just one example of many. There’s “fair priced”, “expensive” and then “what the hell do you take me for?” Will not go back on pure principle.

The Good
Ritz Carlton Sunday Brunch: one of the more memorable culinary experiences of my life – best $65 my parents have ever spent on me (thanks!). The quality and variety was unbelievable. A must try.

Michy’s: Enough has been said about this place – great overall experience. Go if you haven’t.

Seniora Martinez: A foodie’s restaurant. Loved it. Cocktails, wine, food all done very well.

River Oyster Bar: Best fish I’ve had in Miami – interesting wine list too. Best part: few(er) tourists.

Ola: My new favorite restaurant. Great balance of familiar dishes w/ a modern spin – and everything I had was delicious. The wine director was friendly, and incredibly knowledgeable. Can’t wait to go back.

My $0.02.

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  1. I'm also an x-NYCer. Give Mike's another try. I'm with you on Sardinia. Joe's and Prime are what they are: expensive, good, simple food joints. No artistry.

    No great seafood in Miami but River Oyster is my fav too.

    Need to bust you on Sr. Martinez: lots of show, no resukls.

    1. Bienvenidos a Miami. You've hit up quite a few spots in a couple of months. Congrats on hitting the ground running and hope to keep hearing about your experiences.

      One thing we absolutely love here in Miami is when New Yorkers say "x" place in NYC is better than "y" place they ate in in Miami. We've heard it before and I personally have just learned to tune it out. After you're here a while you'll understand.

      Sorry to hear about Sardinia. There's some big proponents on the board (tpigeon I'm sure will chime in). To me it's the type of place that it is what it is. Nothing over the top, but consistently good. Unfortunate you've got a bad taste in your mouth from it. Maybe give it a couple of months and go back with a fresh take (and fake an Italian accent to get the right Italian wine recs).

      As for wine, welcome to the world of the outrageous markup. It seems Miami and Vegas compete for the most absurd markup on wines. You know what the two towns have in common - lots of tourists and lots of conventioneers with expense accounts. Some places are more absurd than others, but none are reasonable. Wait till you ask about corkage fees. Some of them are hilariously over the top.

      River is a great find. It's under the radar on this board yet always packed. Was just there last night and made a meal of the new bar snacks they have. Goat cheese and chorizo croquettes are addicting.

      And glad to see you're championing OLA. I really liked the place (especially when it was a few blocks from my house) but various location changes and a mediocre experience have left me cold. Maybe a time for a return visit.