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Dec 14, 2011 06:59 AM

Two NY 'hounds in need of recs for three days to eat in Miami!

Hi Miami 'hounds -
we're two food-obsessed NY 'hounds and we're in search of the best (be it high or low) Miami has to offer.

we're willing to take cabs anywhere and we like all cuisines.

We tried Michael's last night and, unfortunately, we were served a beautiful whole red snapper that was brutally murdered in the wood-burning oven. Bummer in light of how pristine the fish looked (and in light of the $43 tariff). The pig ears were a revelation, however.

What are your favorite can't-miss locations for soulful cuban cuisine? or the best expression of the current state of Miami dining? One note - we probably don't need to go to scarpetta, nobu, or any other place that's a second location of a New York restaurant....

Thanks in advance!


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  1. I'm sorry the fish at Michael's wasn't to your liking. I took a large party there last week and had an excellent experience. Obviously you know that Joe's Stone Crabs is an institution here and for whatever reason any stone crabs you eat at any other establishment just don't taste the same.
    I would recommend an Argentenian steak house as those are always great. Vaca Gordo is very good as is Texas de Brazil - - - but go hungry to get your money's worth. I'm a big fan of Casa Tua as the food and ambiance is excellent. Love Sardinia as that's an amazing italian restaurant that even has water from Sardinia! That's top-notch food there. And the list goes on. Although I don't always agree with her, we have a poster here that goes by 'tpigeon' and she really knows Miami Beach and South Florida dining as does 'Frodnessor' and you can trust their opinions to a 't'.

    Ft. Pierce, FL

    1. It's too bad NAOE is closing before their move to Brickell Key. That's a must visit but I guess it will have to wait until next time for you. Some suggestions:

      On the mainland...
      Michy's (Michelle Bernstein's "casual fine dining" spot)
      Bourbon Steak (Michael Mina outpost that's putting out serious food)
      Azul (serious talent going on in this kitchen)
      Red Light (great local joint with soulful food, service improving from what I hear *wait times that is)
      The Local (Coral Gables brew pub that's putting out some great food too)
      Sakaya Kitchen (this is a lunch suggestion, very casual, order at counter etc)
      gastroPod (another lunch suggestion, this is a food truck that you should seek out. it's that good)

      On the beach...
      Joe's Stone Crab (an "institution" though I admit I've never been (got takeout once) because stone crabs just dont do it for me)
      Sardinia (light, rustic Italian)
      Meat Market (I love the steaks here as well as many of the apps & seafood. sexy/swanky environment)
      Hakkasan (upscale Chinese at it's best and incredible atmosphere though you'll pay a premium for it)
      Pubbelly/Pubbelly Sushi/Barceloneta (I'm not a huge Pubbelly fan but it has a considerable following. the sushi and spanish tapas arms are new and I've not been but again people are talking)
      Indomania (hidden gem, the rijsttafel is a unique experience and great value)
      Altamare (local favorite, nice seafood dishes)
      Cafe Books & Books (lunch suggestion that you could do for dinner too, nice menu, good people watching)
      Pita Spice (lunch suggestion, best falafel pita I've ever had)
      Burger & Beer Joint (lunch suggestion, best burger I've ever had and that's saying something)
      A la Foile (lunch suggestion, great crepes and sandwiches, spot on Espanola Way is best for atmosphere)

      8 Replies
      1. re: Blind Mind

        That's a really solid list other than Books & Books, as to which I don't understand BM's fondness.

        I would add Sugarcane and Sustain in Midtown, Sra. Martinez in the Design District, Chow Down Grill in South Beach (I've actually only been to the Surfside location but South Beach is closer for you),

        Cuban food in Miami might be somewhat overrated; or maybe to put it another way, expectations may be too high. Plenty of places will satisfy, not many shine. I usually get my fix at Sazon Cuban Cuisine in North Beach.

        There's a whole lot I like at MGF&D but the whole fish in the wood-burning oven is not one of my favorites there.

        1. re: Frodnesor

          I've visited the south beach location of Chow Down Grill. very different ambiance but the food is excellent. Any of the crab dishes, if available, are musts.

          1. re: Frodnesor

            From the perspective of getting food not easily obtainable in nyc
            Joes Stone Crabs - stone crabs (with mustard) and killer alaskan king crab claws steamed with butter - get key lime pie too
            Graziano's - the original on bird rd - you will not find a better argentinian style steakhouse in nyc
            Red light little river - because that shrimp dish is so d@mn good.
            I think cuban food in general is better in nyc. That being said, you might want to try a frita at el mago de las fritas. I don't think you can get one as good easily in nyc. Check out for details.

            If you are looking for the best food in miami overall and don't care if you can do better in nyc, you might want to visit the miami restaraunt power ranking website. It is a good reference.

            1. re: tpigeon

              One more rec that you wont get in nyc
              Pork sandwich at Pappo Llega y Pon.

              1. re: tpigeon

                I forgot about Francesco in coral gables for peruvian. I doubt you will find as good in nyc.

              2. re: tpigeon

                Tpigeon What is the website for the miami restaraunt power ranking website???

              3. re: Frodnesor

                I like Books & Books sandwiches and salads for lunch. They arent sloppy messes and have good flavor and value.

                I limited selection in my original post because the OP only has 3 days.