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Please help NYC-er narrow down restaurant choices

will be visiting miami with my boyfriend end of month. i have 5 nights in miami, which means 5 dinners total. Will be staying at the Setai, but willing to travel a little as long as the cab fare isn't obscene. Please help me narrow down my restaurant choices to 5 total. Also welcome to suggestions if you think there are restaurants i am missing. fairly sure about going to naoe and michael's.

naoe
michy's
michael's food and drink
sra martinez
casa tua
altamare
hakkasan
il gabbiano
de rodriguez
de rodriguez ocean
ola
azul
palme d'or

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Setai
101 20th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139

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  1. anyone have any insight? suggestions are greatly appreciated!!

    1. Naoe and Palme d'or will be furthest from your hotel. If you only do 1 of those, Naoe is the one. Michaels is another for you so that's 2. I'd also do Michy's for sure as the 3rd. Hakkasan is one that I would definitely do too - the food is expensive for what it is but the flavors are there and I can't say I've had anything "bad" or even "mediocre" in over 6 visits. The restaurant design is also very cool. The last I'd do based on what you feel like eating. I've not been to il Gabbiano but friends rave about it for Italian. An Italian alternative closer to you on the Beach would be Sardinia but I'll admit it's been awhile since I've been and I read one critic's report that she thought things had slid a little but that's only 1 opinion. I always like my meals there though, especially the quail and the salt crust branzino. De Rodriguez Ocean is new and would be a good chance for you to try some ceviche while in Miami. Palme D'Or would be another nice choice for French and the location is pretty sweet.

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      Michy's
      6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138

      Hakkasan
      Miami Beach, FL, Miami Beach, FL

      1. As a new yorker id stay away from Hakkassan and il gabbiano. There is no way the food at either restaurant can compete with the quality of chinese and italian you have in new york.

        Naoe is far from your hotel but a very interesting dining experience. Ive done omakase a few times in nyc but naoe is truly authentic and different. That being said, it is expensive and I think you must really enjoy straight up japanese fair (not just sushi).
        Casa Tua is delicious, but again its italian and its pretty expensive.

        I would def add meat market for steaks one night. Its awesome.

        Joes for seafood/stone crabs (bc its diff then what you'd norm get in nyc and its a fun scene/old school mia institution).

        Id also look into solea instead of sra martinez. Its very very good spanish (not cuban). And among the best spanish food Ive had outside of spain. Many people here will tell you to do sra. martinez but Solea is close to the setai (you can walk), a much more refined dining experience, and MUCH better spanish cuisine. In fact, there is no comparison in my book). Esp if you are looking for a good paella, you will find it at solea and not at sra martinez. Your bill will probably be about the same at both places.

        If you want cuban its prob best to not go fancy with de rodriguez or ola (although ive heard both are pretty good). I think most people (esp local cubans) would tell you to go to puerto sagua. Its a legit hole in the wall cuban restaurant. Def not fancy like the other places but its more authentic and more affordable... something to consider

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        Casa Tua
        1700 James Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139

        1. Here is how I would pare it down ->

          First, skip ll Gabbiano. It's a spin-off of Il Mulino, a New York Italian restaurant. You can get similar at home.

          I'd also eliminate Azul - Chef Clay Conley recently left, don't know who is running the show right now. Not saying it's bad, just don't know what to expect.

          I'd also skip Casa Tua - though perhaps this is unfair as I've not eaten there, and I've heard universally wonderful things about the venue (and more mixed, but generally positive, things about the food), I don't think it's appreciably different than Italian you may find at several other places in NY or elsewhere.

          Next step - Ola, De Rodriguez, and De Rodriguez Ocean are all Chef Douglas Rodriguez places, and though they each have their "theme" (Ola is perhaps the most pan-Latin, while De Rodriguez is more exclusively Nuevo Cuban, and the very new Ocean is, as the name suggests, seafood focused) I think one is enough for a 5-day visit. I've not been to Ola in some time, and have only had a pre-opening experience at Ocean, but I don't think the quality will appreciably differ at any of them, you should choose based on which "concept" most appeals to you.

          Naoe is an exceptional and wonderful experience if you like Japanese food, if you're willing to submit to the completely omakase format, if you're willing to devote 3-4 hours to try everything on offer (though that's not completely necessary), and if you're willing to take a taxi about 10 miles north to Sunny Isles.

          Michael's Genuine Food & Drink is probably the most quintessentially "Miami" meal around right now, primarily on account of their dedication to sourcing local product. It's also just really good food - no fireworks, but great flavors.

          Michy's and Sra. Martinez are both run by Chef Michelle Bernstein, who is another of our best chefs. Michy's is a more eclectic menu that does both exotica (fantastic sweetbreads) and comfort foods (short ribs, fried chicken) very well, with most everything available in half-portions to compose a personal "tasting menu" if you like. Sra. M is more of a straight Spanish tapas style with some Latin American influences. Most people prefer the decor and atmosphere at Sra. M, but again, I'd pick one depending on which menu holds more appeal for you.

          That's 4, leaving you with a choice among Altamare, Hakkasan and Palme d'Or. Altamare's chef is a Michael's Genuine alum and you'll see many similarities, though the menu at Altamare has more of a seafood focus, particularly local product. Hakkasan is excellent quality, well-executed, contemporary, and often very expensive Chinese, and though it's been a while since I've been up to NY, I don't really know of anyplace like it there. Consider doing their weekend dim sum brunch if you don't want to commit to a dinner. Palme d'Or I've not been to, but it's high end French and though those who have been have pretty universally good things to say, I have a suspicion that you can find better in NY. Also the furthest to travel for into Coral Gables, other than Naoe.

          -----
          Michy's
          6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138

          Sra. Martinez
          4000 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33137

          Hakkasan
          Miami Beach, FL, Miami Beach, FL

          Casa Tua
          1700 James Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139

          Azul Restaurant
          500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami, FL 33131

          15 Replies
          1. re: Frodnesor

            thanks so much everybody!! it really is so helpful! i think i've paired it down to:

            michael's genuine
            michy's
            naoe - how much would a 10 mile cab fare cost? if it's too far, may just sub in a different restaurant.
            hakkasan - i'd love to do this at dimsum, but heard it takes a while, and it would take away from precious beach time (it's freeezing in nyc right now!) so probably need to squeeze in at dinner.
            altamare / solea / de rodriguez ocean. which should i do?

            also i may stay an extra night. if i were to do steak, what are people's opinions on prime 112 vs meat market? apparently one of my boyfriend's favorite steak restaurants is prime 112. this includes places that are considered the best in nyc / la / texas / vegas. he hasn't been to meat market though.

            1. re: eugenahong

              Oh and will get in joes at lunch. Probably joes take away.

              1. re: eugenahong

                According to this website, cab fare from Setai to Naoe would be ~$34 inclusive of tip ->
                http://www.taxifarefinder.com/main.ph...

                I don't think the service at Hakkasan is particularly slow, but the Fontainebleau is Mid-Beach not South Beach and so is a ride, not a walk.

                I would not have Solea on my list right now primarily because the chef, Marc Vidal, recently left - interestingly enough, he is heading to NY to take over the kitchen at Boqueria, where Seamus Mullen recently left. Even before Vidal left, I don't see nearly the same gap between Solea and Sra. M as suggested above. They are quite different places, Sra. M is primarily a tapas place and Solea much more of a sit-down dinner. They each have their strengths.

                I'm dubious that many Cubans would tell you to go to Puerto Sagua. It is popular not so much because it has great food, but because it is one of the only Cuban places on South Beach (which unlike other parts of Miami is not a predominantly Cuban community). I might grab a quick lunch there (it is conveniently close to the beach) but I surely wouldn't suggest it as one of 5 dinners to have in Miami.

                I've been to Meat Market infrequently and not recently, and have not gone to P112 and so can't help you on that front other than to say that if your boyfriend loves P112, make him happy and go.

                Joe's takeaway is a great lunch option.

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                Puerto Sagua Restaurant
                700 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

                Meat Market
                915 Lincoln road, Miami Beach, FL 33139

                Hakkasan
                Miami Beach, FL, Miami Beach, FL

                1. re: Frodnesor

                  thank you everyone for your help! that was super informative. i'm sure my boyfriend and i will have a fabulous time eating our way through miami. frodnesor, love your blog by the way!

                  1. re: eugenahong

                    I think that if you want a good steak, go to Meat Market. If you want an OK steak, go to Prime 112.

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                    Meat Market
                    915 Lincoln road, Miami Beach, FL 33139

                    Prime 112 Restaurant
                    112 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

                    1. re: Blind Mind

                      I will add to BM's reply...If you want an OK steak and to wait 2 hours after your reservation to be seated in a cramped table, go to Prime 112.

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                      Prime 112 Restaurant
                      112 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

                  2. re: Frodnesor

                    For the record, I was at Solea last week and it was amazing... theres def someone with talent in that kitchen

                    1. re: morganeats

                      Pretty sure it's now Michael Gilligan running Solea now and I'm glad to hear he's holding down the fort well.

                      1. re: Frodnesor

                        that is good news I feared the worst.

                        1. re: tpigeon

                          i think i've narrowed it down pretty far but need a little more help! i've chosen the following:
                          casa tua
                          meat market
                          michael's genuine
                          altamare

                          the 5th restaurant would be between hakkasan, michy's, d. rodgriguez ocean.

                          thanks in advance!

                          1. re: eugenahong

                            and will do puerta sagua, joes at lunch

                            1. re: eugenahong

                              I'd skip cuban altogher and get crepes at otentic. They are great. Much better than anything you can get in puerto sagua.

                              1. re: tpigeon

                                Get a vegetarian with everything at La Sandwicherie one day at lunch for a great, long running, cheap Beach experience. Don't forget the vinaigrette.

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                                La Sandwicherie
                                229 14th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139

                                1. re: taiga

                                  Sometimes too many opinions can get confusing.....but based on your "narrowed down list" above-----I'd skip Casa Tua. This is my personal opinion, however, I am just not impressed and have stopped going there. If you want great italian, then I would suggest Osteria del Teatro. The food and service are wonderful there and its right in South Beach. I'm also a big fan of Michael's Genuine and like Michy's too. Hakkasan is decent and perhaps more trendy than some of the others. Enjoy.....

                                  -----
                                  Michy's
                                  6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138

                                  Hakkasan
                                  Miami Beach, FL, Miami Beach, FL

                                  Casa Tua
                                  1700 James Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139

                                  South Beach Cafe
                                  121 5th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139

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