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Miami Birthday Dinner Choices

We’re going out for a birthday dinner Saturday night and thought we’d drive down to the Miami area as we only get to do this a few times a year. Originally I wanted to take Karen to NAOE but this Saturday was booked weeks ago. Since then I’ve scoured this board along with Frodnesor’s blog and some other Miami resources and now I’ve got a short list of places but could uses some advice. We went to MGFD a couple of years ago and this is my “can’t miss” fall back option. Here are the other places for your consideration:

• Talula
• Michy’s
• Sardinia
• Fratelli Lyon
• Altamare

If you had to drive 40 miles for dinner at one of these restaurants, which would it be? And if you’ve got a better suggestion, please feel free to add to my dilemma.

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  1. Yakko San

    The ambiance is not as good (not a dump but not at all fancy) as the other places mentioned however...but if all you care about is food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tpigeon

      We’re big fans of Marumi in Plantation so Yakko San is definitely in our future. Thanks.

    2. Rick, have you done Bourbon Steak? Not as far and it's right up there with the best in the area plus it'a birthday appropriate. They just expanded their menu to include more seafood options. I like the rest of your list minus Fratelli. (haven't tried the new Altamare) I would consider Scarpetta as well. I also had a very good experience at Casa Tua recently.

      2 Replies
      1. re: The Chowfather

        Chowfather – We’re not big steakhouse people but Scarpetta sounds interesting. I read EMac’s post about Casa Tua when it first went up and read your blog article as well. Would you recommend Casa Tua over Sardinia or Scarpetta?

        1. re: RickL

          I wouldn't let the Steak in Bourbon scare you away but I understand. I really enjoyed Casa Tua and the setting is perfect for a special occasion. That said, it was only one dinner and I'm not comfortable putting it in the can't miss category with Michael's Genuine, Bourbon, Talula and Michy's. I like Sardinia but would probably give the bday nod to Scarpetta. This didn't help at all, sorry.

      2. Talula and Michy's would be my first choices for a "can't miss" meal, followed by Sardinia. I've not tried Altamare, and not been overwhelmed by Fratelli Lyon when I've been (though it's been some time).

        The food at Yakko-San is excellent (and it's North Miami Beach which cuts your drive) though it's not what most people think of as a birthday place (we, on the other hand, seem to end up celebrating many holidays there).

        I also like Timo in Sunny Isles quite a bit, and Bourbon Steak is also a good recommendation.

        Sugarcane is a fun new place with very good food.

        1. Of the 5 you listed, I'd remove Fratelli because its just not in the same category as the others. I'd also remove Altamare as they just reopened and who knows what to expect right now. That said, you can't really go wrong with Talula, Michy's, or Sardinia. If going for a pre or post meal cocktail somewhere else is going to be part of your evening, I'd go with Talula with pre or post drinks at the W. Solea at the W would also be a good restaurant selection.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Blind Mind

            I dissent. I think Fratelli Lyon can certainly stand toe-to-toe with Sardinia and in fact I prefer it.

            Fratelli Lyon
            4141 NE 2nd Ave. #101A, Miami, FL 33137

          2. I wouldn't disagree w any of the suggestions here. But to throw in my two cents, Bourbon Steak shouldn't be discounted. They've got much more on their menu (the whole Sonoma fried chicken for two is very good) and the service and atmosphere befit a bday. If you want to make a night of it, try the Fontainbleu and have some drinks at one of the bars before going to Scarpetta. Again, very good food and service. Sugarcane is very eclectic, it's got a great vibe (could be a bit loud), and the food is mostly small plates so you can share quite a few dishes. Service can be hit or miss though. And I'd skip dessert and go to Michael's or down the other way to The Morgans for whatever the bread pudding o' the day is.

            1. Well, after much discussion we have a decision but first thanks to all for your insight and suggestions. We went to Area 31 for my birthday a few months ago and it was just “okay” so I wanted to be sure that this would be a better time while still trying someplace that's new to us.

              All of these places sound great. After looking over the menu I’ve got to admit my steakhouse prejudice may be misplaced when it comes to Bourbon Steak and now lax2mia has me craving bread pudding. But in the end we couldn’t resist the lure of great Japanese food so Saturday night it’s Yakko-San. As I mentioned earlier, we’re big fans of Marumi Sushi in Plantation and make the 50+ mile round-trip at least once a month. Now we’ll have a chance to try the original and compare.

              Next month it’s NAOE for our anniversary.

              1 Reply
              1. re: RickL

                That will be a memorable anniversary!