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Just NAOE or several other restaurants?

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Hi! A friend and I will be in Miami for a few days next week and I've been scouring the Chowhound boards to decide where to eat. Here is the dilemma, however: We are both semi-broke twenty-somethings but love fancy food. Would you recommend splurging on NAOE and eating cheaply the rest of the time or using our "fancy food" budget for several less spendy meals (we're thinking places like Xixon and Pubbelly)? Obviously it would be nice to do both, but our funds are sadly limited. It's my first time in Miami and who knows when I'll be back, so I want to make it count! Thanks for the help!

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NAOE
175 Sunny Isles Boulevard, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160

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  1. It depends where you are staying and if you have a car.

    I would, in general recommend splurging on Naoe though.

    Naoe only gets expensive post bento box. If you control your sushi and your appetite, you can get away with your hide intact.

    Even if you spend a lot, I would recommend splurging at Naoe. You can always cheaply sample small plates xixon or pubbelly.

    Getting around to these locations may be your biggest expense (pubbelly and xixon are not close to each other) depending on your access to transportation.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tpigeon

      Thanks tpigeon! We will have a car, so we should be able to get anywhere without too much trouble. Everything I could find said Naoe will be 100 dollars a person, but if we don't do sake and only have a few sushi courses it seems like we could come in around 50 or 60. Is that right?

      1. re: bigfish813

        Yes on Naoe - I think you can have 2 sushi courses, maybe 3. Not a lot of food though, portions are pretty small on the sushi.

        Having a car, I would do NAOE.

        I would also do Yakko San as it is cheap and is one of the best restaurants in miami.

        You can also get tapas pubbelly and xixon as well without blowing too much cash.

        I would need to know your exact budget to be sure but I think these options can fit most budgets as long as you dont have huge appetites.

        If you plan on hanging out on south beach you should look at some of my recent recs for cheap places.

        You can have some pretty great food at cheap prices in SOBE these days.

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        NAOE
        175 Sunny Isles Boulevard, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160

    2. The bento box at Naoe, which usually has about 5 items plus a soup, is $26 and may be one of the best price to value ratios anywhere. It's the sushi by the piece afterwards that can get expensive, but if you only do a couple rounds (I might suggest the salmon belly, which is usually one of the first items, and then the eel, which is usually one of the last but Chef Cory has gotten more flexible and will let you pick and choose) will still probably let you stay under $50/pp.

      1. i would definitely encourage you to offset some $ with a meal at the Alibi inside Lost Weekend and Shake Shack (assuming you are not from NYC). Enriqueta's right across the Venetian Highway (best pan con bistec in Miami), along with Sakaya Grill are also two great cheaper options on the mainland as well.

        And yes, Naoe is a truly fantastic meal and worth the price for a splurge meal in Miami.

        1. The price of entry is pretty low but it that bill will grow VERY quickly. $300 - $500 bills for 2 is not at all uncommon.

          1. Thanks so much for all the help! It sounds like it is worth the pricetag to experience Naoe, so we will probably go there and just try not to go too crazy on the nigiri. That means we will have to be a bit cheap the other days, so any additional suggestions on inexpensive local spots would be much appreciated!

            1 Reply
            1. re: bigfish813

              Mikek had great suggestions.

              Some others in sobe:
              Keeses
              Jimmyz
              Otentic
              A la folie
              Kokopo
              Bernies LA Cafe

            2. Another suggestion for eating cheap - see if there is a food truck round-up close to where you will b staying.

              1. I would splurge on NAOE too. If you stick to beer instead of sake and go easy on sushi you could get outta there at about $60pp.

                I'm going to disagree with the pubbelly suggestion. I think that place is overrated. Went again last night and had 2 dishes that were just plain awful - local heirloom tomato salad w/ blueberries that sat in a lake of ponzu; mushroom polenta wasn't as bad but the escargots had bits of shells and the flavor was strange. I just don't get this place I guess. Doesn't do it for me. And it definitely isn't cheap.

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                NAOE
                175 Sunny Isles Boulevard, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160

                13 Replies
                1. re: Blind Mind

                  Hmm that is good to know...we were intrigued by a few of the pork dishes so perhaps we'll go there for a little snack rather than a whole meal. I have a reservation for NAOE next Sunday and cannot wait to go! It sounds like a unique and lovely experience.

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                  NAOE
                  175 Sunny Isles Boulevard, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160

                  1. re: Blind Mind

                    I disagree on pubbelly and think it is worthwhile. However, if you are willing to go back up to around where NAOE is, I would submit Yakko San as a cheap must try. Yakko San is my favorite restaurant in miami.

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                    NAOE
                    175 Sunny Isles Boulevard, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160

                    1. re: tpigeon

                      The prices certainly are appealing at Yakko San! It sounds great-what dishes in particular would you recommend?

                      1. re: bigfish813

                        Whatever you are in the mood for. I have never had a bad dish there. They also have a huge specials menu that changes every day. This place is awesome.

                        1. re: tpigeon

                          I am late to this party but just having eaten at red light for the first time, I would say as maddengly long it takes you to get your food, it is a place you should go to. Well ahead of pubbelly. Get the bbq shrip and get a large order. One of the best (if not the best) shrip dish I have had in my life.

                    2. re: Blind Mind

                      I gotta agree and disagree on Pubbelly. We had some dumplings at the servers rec that were pretty mediocre (considering they had pork belly, it'd be difficult for them to be mediocre, but they were). We had that same polenta/mushroom/escargot dish and really liked it. Didn't have shells in ours, but I could understand being ticked if I'd come across them. To me pubbelly's strengths (butterscotch pork belly, mofongo side order) outweigh it's weaknesses (mediocre dumplings, overpriced beer & wine).

                      1. re: lax2mia

                        Don't forget the mcbelly (which makes up for the dumplings in my mind), the ramen and, if they have it, the squid ink rice.

                        1. re: tpigeon

                          TP:

                          Gotta agree with L2M and SteveBM that Pubbelly was a big #fail for us. Very promising atmosphere but we got a waiter who should work at a used car lot he was soooo aggressive. There are dozens of small plate menus in Miami that are tastier, cheaper, and you are not made to feel like your evening is being hijacked by a truly imposing waiter blatantly kiting the check (and a painfully loud Bon Jovi soundtrack drowning any conversation). I literally said to him, "Please - listen to me - you need to take it easy..." and he sort of laughed and walked away and started the same hard-sell pitch on another table. Auto-Pilot.

                          We are not meek/pushovers but we won't go back to Pubbelly again... an unsatisfying meal + one round was $50 per person. Fifty bucks goes a lot farther at friendlier places all over town... Burger and Beer Joint, Bernies LA Cafe, Spris Pizza, etc. I would rather go out more often for a $50 dinner for two than spend $100+ and leave annoyed and hungry at Pubbelly. Super disappointing #fail.

                          To the OP I'd suggest ChowDownGrill, American Noodle, GiGi, Sakaya Kitchen, Buena Vista Bistro, Mandolin Aegean Cafe, Happy Hours at some of the trendy new restaurants offers bargain bites at the bar (Sustain, SugarCane, Trulucks, etc) Latin American (Cuban) restaurant in North Miami...

                          100 Montaditos on Wednesdays when everything including beer is a dollar or other days when it is $2,$3 - fun and real cheap.

                          You can easily eat well all over town without blowing your travel budget.

                          AG

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                          Buena Vista Bistro
                          4582 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33137

                          Spris
                          2305 Ponce De Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, FL 33134

                          American Noodle Bar
                          6730 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33138

                          1. re: advisor_Girl

                            I've never had the hard-sell experience at PubBelly with about 4+ visits now, and while the food can be inconsistent I've had some real gems there - the McBelly sandwich, the duck dumplings, the tigres (croqueta-style stuffed mussels), the kimchi fried rice, rice with uni & serrano ham, all of the toasts. But for whatever reason it seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it place.

                            For cheaper eats I'd definitely second, in particular, Sakaya Kitchen, American Noodle Bar, and Yakko-San.

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                            American Noodle Bar
                            6730 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33138

                            1. re: Frodnesor

                              I like the McBelly and a few other things that I've had there. I just think it's pretty heavily priced and for the same dollar I can get better food/drink/experience. That's why I said overrated. Different strokes...

                              1. re: Blind Mind

                                To the OP on a travel budget:

                                I definitely agree with mikek / TPigeon's great budget-dining ideas.

                                I don't mean to suggest Pubbelly will kill you... it's just not WORTH it to walk out $100+ poorer, still hungry and feeling - frankly - annoyed that you had an extra guy at your table and HE's the only one who scored - "Deliverance" style. Unless you eat at a granny-friendly Boca del Vista 6pm, there will be a long wait to sit down and rather than the "tapas-meets-gastropub" experience they advertise - which to me means lingering over good drinks, talking with good friends, grazing on good food - you'll be rushed, pushed and overwhelmed by loud retro-rock and a guy who desperately wants to turn that table.

                                Since most SoBe restaurants have BAD service, I wouldn't really care about deliberately aggressive service and blasting Bon Jovi if the food was good. But the few tasty bites we liked were lost in the exhausting atmosphere. The uber-popular McBelly slider is a wee, slippery 2-bite bitty burger for $6 (sold separately) so our happiest McMoment @$12 passed FAST! Burger & Beer Joint is a street away and that same twelve bucks GUARANTEES you a happier meal. We did not like the flat, gummy 4/$10 half-dollar sized, undercooked duck ravioli "dumplings" served in a pool of clarified butter nor the oily pork belly ramen for sixteen.

                                Again, if you had an unlimited meal budget and couldn't easily drive one street away to Burger & Beer Joint or Shake Shack for a tasty full-sized burger (and better music), ChowDownGrill for real, chubby dumplings for six bucks, or American Noodle for a soulful bowl of noodles for seven dollars ... Pricey Pubbelly is - at the very least - trendy right now.

                                After all, when I contacted them about our bad experience, they told me,

                                "Everyone loves us on YELP."

                                AG

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                                The Burger & Beer Joint
                                1766 Bay Road, Miami Beach, FL 33139

                                American Noodle Bar
                                6730 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33138

                      2. re: Blind Mind

                        Pubbelly is NOT cheap.

                        1. re: HabaneroJane

                          Looks like we have a consensus. I think we would have enjoyed Pubbelly far more had the price point been more on target. To have a nice meal there the bill will end up as high as in one of the nicer restaurants. They use very good ingredients although way too much pork belly and it is very nice (beer and wine only FYI) but too pricey for me not to be more critical.

                      3. I am a full-time student and i work full time. I also like great food and have splurged on NAOE. I went with my gf and it was the best eating exp. ive had. without question. We ended up spending $250 that includes tip and both got the bento a full round of sushi each and fresh out of the oven almond honey cake with homemade soy sauce ice cream (we literally watched him make the cake). My gf had a beer but i dont drink. They subbed monkfish liver when my meat hating gf found pork cheeks. the service is perfect. opposite of the other posters exp at pubbelly. I could go on and on. it was worth twice what i paid. maybe 4x. Oh and i try to make it to hiros at least once every few weeks it is the best after NAOE.

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                        NAOE
                        175 Sunny Isles Boulevard, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160