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Dec 13, 2009 11:54 AM

South Beach with kids; then Williams Island

I will be in the South Beach area over x-mas week, and am looking for restaurant recommendations. Nothing specific, just really good food -- can be a dive, or a nicer place, although I will be travelling with a well-behaved 4 and 6 year old. Any standard places that might be recommended for visitors.

Also, if you have recs. for anything near Williams Island., where we will also be staying, I would appreciate it. Last time took a drive to Le Tub, which we loved; but that's the extent of my knowledge.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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  1. In South Beach--we love Joe's--it's still great, a completely unique experience--and kid friendly, definitely--got a great connection so I can just zoom in without a wait,,,,but generally high season, it's a nightmare to get in dinner time--so go for lunch--there is also takeout and then have a picnic on the beach---

    Pilar is excellent in the Promenade Shops, up Biscayne a bit up the road from Aventura Mall area...also Anthony's Coal Oven Pizza on Biscayne in the Office Depot strip mall, near to Del Prado on Biscayne, skip and jump from Williams Island, is excellent as well--good pizza and great eggplant appetizer...

    Cuban--in Waterways shoppes nearby to WHole foods off of biscayne aventura area...Barrio Latina, good lunch specials--kid friendly

    Scorch is good for grilled stuff and salads--priced reasonable--kid friendly--it's down on Biscayne in North Miami--

    There are a few places nearby to Scorch that we tried, a Thai place, which name escapes me at the moment which was very americanized and overpriced--Pasha a sort of fast food Turkish place which wasn't much at all---

    There's a mexican place in a strip mall on Biscayne too, can't remember the name, but it's been recommended to me before..Panchitos? maybe?

    There is Yakko San for Japanese, over on West Dixie, close by---

    Julio's for salads, lots of healthy options and juices, is great for lunch in the skylake mall, closeby to Williams Island--very friendly to kids...

    Mo's near to the Loehman Mall is very popular with many in the area, wear your purple pants, and enjoy the characters--they actually have very good greek salad there--and eggplant salads...

    Little Havana on Biscayne in North Miami is okay and nearby.

    Grew up in Miami but have lived in NYC for 30 years, and travel to these same areas once a year, and these places do not dissapoint...

    Tried Timo last Jan, thought it was overpriced and pretentious, and not child friendly at all, even if your child is well behaved.

    Used to go to Shalom Haifa a lot on miami gardens drive very close to Williams Island, but it's really gone downhill, portions shrunk, prices up, and they are just so unpleasant there--will have to check out the Astoria Deli down the street from there for some falafel--like the falalfel in South Beach at Pita Loca--

    Will be there as well in January, and looking for some new spots....
    Anything good Cuban in north end of town? Did that barbecue place in North Miami ever open, can't remember the name..any good?

    What else is worth checking out--cuisines preferred---Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, Healthy--
    Not looking for Thai or Chinese, or Mexican--

    Thanks for some current info...

    Very curious about the many suggestions on the 3 cuban guys from miami site--
    any info on the following:
    El Rey de las Fritas--cuban burgers with stringy fries--shakes
    Versailles--haven't been in couple years, mediocre last time, but good desserts
    Islas Canarias
    El Chalan..pervian seafood
    Bahamas Fish Pescaderia--fish market and restuarant--shrimp photos look amazing
    Spanish--Casa Juancho
    """""""""Casa Paco
    Larios's on the beach--went here a couple times and it was surprisingly good--never went to Casa Larios on Flagler?

    La Carreta?
    Las Culebrinas--still friend raves about it...which location is better...

    Havana Harry's?

    13 Replies
    1. re: janie

      anybody out there? will be there soon...thanks.

      1. re: janie

        Several good suggestions there.

        The Mexican place on Biscayne near 163rd that you're thinking of Paquitos. It's OK, I prefer Cheen Huaye a bit south of there.

        Pasha is mediocre. Right next to Paquitos there is a Middle-Eastern place, I believe called Jerusalem, which is quite good. I also had some pretty good Lebanese food at a place called Kabobje (?) on 163rd St. east of Biscayne.

        Racks, in the same area, has pretty darn good pizzas.

        Not sure if the bbq place you're thinking of is Bulldog BBQ but if so check this board there's a thread on it. The 'cue is no great shakes, actually rather disappointing particularly for bbq purists, but there's still some stuff that's pretty satisfying. I like the fried oyster app, they have a good if unorthodox shrimp and grits, the turkey chili is pretty good, and I had a fine shrimp & oyster po'boy there recently. My kids like getting the lettuce wrap app, which comes with a pile of pulled pork or chicken, cheese, sour cream and iceberg letttuce leaves to make little lettuce wraps from. Opportunities to play with your food are always welcome.

        Up north in Hallandale I've had pretty good pizza at El Tamarindo, similar to Anthony's Coal Fired in style.

        I think Douglas Rodriguez is opening up a place in the Gulfsteam project soon.

        Check the Burger Beast's blog re El Rey de las Fritas; his pick is El Mago de las Fritas.

        Versailles I'm sure is still mediocre.

        I like Casa Juancho. The atmosphere is sort of Epcot-esque, but the food is generally pretty solid.

        I've taken children to Timo many times, both my own and other (arguably less well-mannered) children, and have never had any sense whatsoever that the place was not kid-friendly.

        I also recently took my kids to Bourbon Steak for the "Burger Bar" menu and they loved it.

        There's another fairly current thread with several Aventura recommendations here ->

        1. re: Frodnesor

          great burger blog, thanks for the is the falafel at Jerusalem, is it yellow or green inside..used to go to Shalom Haifa but last time we were there quality had declined, and service was still annoyingly lousy...

          1. re: janie

            Can't remember the falafel at Jerusalem any more, sorry.

            1. re: Frodnesor

              read online that they nuke it, so that's a no go for me. Have you been to that Astoria Deli on West Dixie?

              1. re: janie

                I think so, I can't keep track of which place is which along that stretch near Miami Gardens Dr. If it's the one I'm thinking of, it's pretty typical Israeli deli but nothing special.

                1. re: Frodnesor

                  I'm surprised there isn't a killer israeli or glatt kosher falafel and grill with lots of salad side choices--type place like we have here in NYC, since there is a fairly large community down there in that area...I've noticed a lot of the kosher places at Waterways, the french one isn't bad--is the steakhouse still there? They are from NY.

                  1. re: janie

                    There are an abundance of such places in the Miami Gardens area but Astoria Deli (if that's the one I've been to) is the only one I've tried. There's also a concentration along Arthur Godfrey Road (41st Street) in Miami Beach.

                    1. re: Frodnesor

                      thanks....will check out them out when I'm there...

                      1. re: janie

                        We were just in the Aventura area and went to a number of places that may interest you. We had a casual Falafel dinner at Pita Plus in the Loemann's plaza. It was easy- we were picking up our kids from the airport and really didn't know their timing. It is kosher (ie not open on Friday evening and Saturday) and cafeteria style. My son's girlfirend spent a semester in Israel and she gave it a thumbs up. I had the falafel plate and everyone else had the shawarma. I wouldn't recommend going on a Sunday evening- it is crazy in there.

                        I have been to Grill Time on Biscayne just south of 163rd. It is a kosher, Israeli restaurant that is more upscale than Pita Plus and supposed to be the best Israeli kosher place. We went last passover (yes it was open). I booked a reservation for when I'm down again in January with my friends who are kosher. It is pricey (what kosher restaurants aren't) but decent.

                        The Israeli's in Aventura swear by Etzil Izchak which is on Dixie Highway just north of Miami Gardens Drive. It is really a hole in the wall, but considered the best. It is not kosher and therefore open 7 days a week. I have heard only very negative things about the kosher restaurants in the Waterways. I have not been to Barrio Latino in the Waterways not kosher), but a friend of mine concurs with Janie and really likes it.

                        We also had a great dinner at Pilar in Avenura (I have to say it is truly underrated on this board). If you go before 7:00 pm there is happy hour at the bar. My family thought it was the best dinner we had. I had tuna tartare and a crab cake. The others had seared tuna, scallops, pasta with shrimp. I totally agree with Janie about Timo. I have been there three times and I don't get what all the fuss is about.....

                        We had a great dinner at Maitardi in the design district - Here is the post


                        We went to Bulldog Barbecue - it was OK- they were out of many of the menu items. I had a dinner at Mo's and it left much to be desired.

                        We took the kids to Texas de Brazil in the new Village at Gulfstream (Biscayne just north of Aventura). I have college-aged boys and a meat-loving husband so they were really happy. There are coupons to be had if you sign up on their website. The salad bar is great if meat is not your thing.

                        We had great burgers at the bar in Bourbon Steak at the Turnberry Hotel and also ate at the bar at Mortons. At Mortons, If you are seated before 6:30 there are some great deals to be had. They have little filet mignon sandwiches, minis sliders etc which are perfect for kids. There are some tables so if you are interested, just get there early.

                        We had a dinner at PF Changs -predictable, spotty service, saw too many people from back home.

                        When we went to a movie on Lincoln Road, we had sushi afterward at this cute place called King Kone (just south of Lincoln on Alton). They also have a dessert bar with forzen yogurt and toppings like nutella, etc. It is easy and fun.

                        Finally, we had a nice "Asian-Fusion" dinner at Fuji Hana (across from Loemann's Plaza). My favorite thing was the tuna tartare on wonton chips with avocado. I also had a great jump-up shrimp salad. The only negative was the the pad thai which was not a big hit.

                        Hope this helps. Have a great vacation and enjoy the weather. It is very cold up here in the north!

                        1. re: sherry f

                          Back from Florida, thanks for the suggestions, quick report:
                          Anthony's Coal Oven Pizza--still have lots of love for this place, my 4 year old loves their pizza and so do we---the white pizza is fabulous, tried it 3 times, with olives, roasted peppers, and mushroom---had the reg pizza also with various toppings--chicken wings are perfection, salad fresh, foccacio great--and terrific sandwiches, tuna is excellent---great for plane ride home since no mayo just olive oil dressing---

                          -Julio's Natural--still good, had good salads, good sandwiches, and they make a good turkey burger on pita that my 4 year old liked with side of barbecue sauce--very accomodating for special dietary concerns--and fresh smoothies-------and VERY CLEAN! Went couple times..

                          -Astoria Deli Israeli Place--okay, popped in here for quick falafel takout and tahini and pita for my son, ---individual falafel balls, tiny ones are .75 each??? What? Man, in NYC they are .50 for the big round ones--these were like lead, dark green inside (ugh, not fresh at all) greasy--bad smell, too--tahini like glue---------place is filthy and cluttered, and that's being kind--and they are not very friendly there at all.........not my scene......other than Pita Loca in south beach, that Pita plus place and others are just simply lousy compared to what we've got here in NYC..for those traveling to NYC, go to TAIM in the west village and you'll never eat falafel again in Miami!! Their falafel is light as a feather, bright green inside, and they make 3 kinds...

                          -Whole Foods in Aventura area used to have nicer food in their salad bar and takeout area, nothing too great, and very expensive---

                          -Barrio Latina in Waterways for Dinner,--haven't had a bad meal here ever--don't know why it doesn't get more love on this board--fantastic beef empanadas, fantastic shrimp scampi appetizer--excellent chicken breasts, excellent snapper, and tilapia--good flan--good maduras, rice, beans--superb chimichurri sauce-------and really good sangria by the pitcher--place is intense on a sat night, lots of orthodox and israelis hanging out, and there was a hassidic rock band playing, we had a blast.

                          -Texas De Brasil at Gulfstream--this place is a must go--fantastic deal and they have a great coupon....unlimited salad bar with tons of excellent stuff,,,easily make a meal of this, and a great place to bring vegetarians--the meats were good, especially liked the garlic steak, filet mignon, and flank steak, and lamb chops--excellent carrot cake and brazillian cheese cakes....we couldn't eat breakfast the next day!!! Service is sort of on, or completely spacey, but they want you to be you might have to repear yourself a few times, but it's a fun pretty place...we loved it. --also, very kid friendly.

                          Joe's Stone Crabs--it helps to have a friend who can get you in there with no wait---excellent as always, and can't go to Miami without going to Joe's--loves their garlic shrimp, and stone crabs were good, bit smaller than usual, but sweet....I dream of the lyonnaise potatoes, and chopped salad is good too--best deal at Joe's in the $6 chopsteak, 2 huge patties, my 4 year old wolfed down---and love their bread, so Florida...salt sticks, miami pump rolls......and of course perfect key lime pie, perfect meal.

                          Pilar--Aventura...scallops good, salad is nothing much there, they really need to change their appetizer menu, and add some other newer dishes, it definitely is limited---but those scallops are very good--and they have an excellent banana choc cake---served warm.

                          PF Changs on Biscayne North Miami---chicken soup good, spring rolls good, lemon scallops, good--kids chicken nuggets dry, veg lomein bland and served cold, shrimp cantonese--bland and served ICE COLD--place is a madhouse on a Monday night??---dipping sauces very good--lots of broken falling dishes, no tea served, no condiment mixed--no place settings---friendly but inadequate service, and hot food served cold is the kiss of death for me.

                          Popped into Moe's for a minute to grab some pastries for my kid, and we went running out of there, the worst stench I've ever smelled --sort of like a sewer and fish, people were either complaining about it or oblivious to it--so we left...

                          --Oh..good chocolate crossant and apple strip in the french bakery in the same strip mall as Anthony's in Aventura, but their prices are ridiculously high...$2.75 for a small croissant and $3.75 for a tiny apple strip...when in NYC, come out to Queens to Cannelle Patisserie, former pastry chef from Waldorf Astoria, opened his own place in East Elmhurst, prices are about half, sizes are larges and quality, on a completely different level..........

                          -Couldn't make it to the better suggestions for brunch, too many kids involved, so our group, just went to Grand Lux Cafe, banana pecan pancakes were pretty generic, others got lunch sandwiches, salads, nothing special--prices were fair, though, and our waiter was a sweetheart---very accomodating, to such a big group with 4 kids and babies...

                          Would've wished for more sun, but we had lots of fun! Next time, I hope we will get a chance to venture to some other areas, just didn't have the time this trip...


                          1. re: janie

                            None of the Critic's even mentioned Moe's Deli It blows away Astoria, Cove and even and the Sage. Except for their Bagel's, none better then the Sage down in Fla. Anthony's is a very good place for your Kids. One thing that we have in Miami, Aventura, Lauderdale is Very Good Places to eat. Also Kids like Chinese and the Banboo Garden on 166th or 163rd is still very good and prices are Fair. If you want Lebanese, the place on 163rd Aien't the place to go. You have to go al the way to Gables or Ferdi's Grill on Fed. Hwy in Lauderdale. Its about 25 Min. Drive. If you are going to eat Lebanese/Syrian Food, If the Place does not serve Raw Kibbi, it is not worth talking about. I know a Lot about 2 Things Boats and Food!

                            1. re: Bigalyts

                              The very first response mentioned Mo's.