Need a local's opinions on several Miami restaurants
We will be in South Beach for 3 nights and want really GREAT food...fresh local ingredients with the flavor of Florida, new American, Caribbean, etc.
Please give me your opinions on these for dinners.
The River Oyster Bar
Red Light Little River
Ortanique - good but kind of stuck in time and perhaps tamer than in its glory days. I feel as time's gone by the palate there has shifted more to sweet instead of spicy to appeal to a broader audience.
Yardbird - you can read my thoughts here -> http://www.foodforthoughtmiami.com/2012/01/yardbird-southern-table-and-bar-miami.html
Whisk - I've not been. I don't know anyone who has been and doesn't love it. I need to go.
River Oyster Bar - I've always liked this place. Their oysters are some of the best I've had in town, good quality and good variety. The happy hour 4:30 - 7:00 is a great deal with 1/2 off oysters. I also like their roasted oysters w chorizo & manchego and their crab cakes. They used to do a pasta with sea urchin, not sure they still do it.
Fratelli Lyon - never made much of an impression, haven't been in some time. I'd sooner go to Sardinia if you want Italian, also had a good meal recently at Salumeria 104.
Red Light - love it, you can read my thoughts on it here ->
Just have to bear in mind that Red Light is a sort of unique experience, service and ambience wise. It's in a still somewhat dodge neighborhood, the space is hot in the warmer months (though the a/c was much improved my last visit), and it's a small operation, service is not exactly white tablecloth and food can be slow coming out sometimes. But as far as I'm concerned it's all worth it - the food's great, and very fairly priced.
Ortanique - It's been awhile since I've been but I found the dishes there to be over sauced and sweet on my previous visits. It's been at least 2 years so things may be different now.
Yardbird - I've been a few times. Food is good, not great. Unique spot on Miami Beach though.
Whisk - This is one of the hidden gems in Miami. Clean, simple food with bright flavors and a bit of a South Carolina influence where the chef trained. Highly recommend the BBQ Chicken salad, skirt steak salad, skirt steak entree, burrito, and my favorite - the fried green tomato sandwich. Their burger (only served on Friday) also just won Judge's Choice at the SBWFF Burger Bash.
The River Oyster Bar - a great spot in Miami. Food is consistently good, not mind blowing, but good. Nice bar too. Gets pretty busy most nights.
Fratelli Lyon - as tpigeon said, you can do better than this spot. I'd go around the corner to Michael's Genuine instead. That's my top spot in Miami.
Red Light Little River - frodnesor covered this best. Food is great. Prepare for a long meal, relax, and have a couple cold ones by the river.