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Rate my itinerary please!

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Help people out with the "Going to South Beach for the first time, what's the absolute best place to go!" on the Miami board so hoping I can get some help from Chicagoans.

Heading up on Memorial weekend. Staying at the Hotel Monaco on Wabash (or Wacker, not sure). Here's what we have planned. Keeping it a little low key due to budget constraints. Please let me know what you think.

Friday - depending on whether or not we're at the Art Institute at lunchtime either Terzo Piano at Art Institute or Frontera Grill (fiancee has never been and it's been on her list for a while). Dinner either at Graham Eliott (reservation) Avec or Publican

Saturday - Lunch at Crisp (it's an addiction). Dinner at Takashi (or Avec or Publican if not gone Friday). Was thinking of trying Otom also.

Sunday - having trouble. Not sure where a good place for Sunday brunch. Also for dinner tons of places closed. Suggestions appreciated. Again Avec or Publican if not gone on Friday or Saturday.

Monday - lunch place would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your help. Should you find yourselves in Miami make sure to post on the Florida board and I'll help you out!

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  1. Avec, Graham Elliot and Publican (I'd rate them in that order) are all excellent in my opinion, and all very different. Just keep in mind with Avec that they don't take reservations, it can be loud and crowded, and you might wait for quite some time. But the food is outstanding and absolutely worth a visit.

    I love the creative, upscale comfort food at Graham Elliot. Publican is very good, particularly if you like pork, beer and oysters.

    Otom - I like Otom a lot, but it is very similar in style to Graham Elliot - creative, upscale interpretations of comfort food . . . so I don't know that I'd visit both. Of the two, I slightly prefer Graham Elliot.

    Frontera - very good choice . . . can't argue.

    Takashi - I've only been there once, but I had an outstanding meal. Loved the pork belly!

    Sunday brunch - depends upon your location and price range - dim sum at Phoenix or Shui Wah in Chinatown; David Burke's Primehouse for American dim sum (a bit pricier) . . . are you looking more for breakfast, buffet, and where and how much?

    As for Sunday, you shouldn't have difficulty finding an excellent restaurant that's open . . . what type of food and price range are you looking for?

    One other option would be Blackbird - same people behind Avec and common ownership w/ Publican. Blackbird is actually my favorite of the three. Chicago has great and inexpensive Thai and Mexican outside of the downtown area (and some other ethnic neighborhoods with very good cheap eats) if you're willing to travel a bit. And of course, there's always plenty of deep dish pizza.