New Yorker looking for a special occassion Miami restaurant
I'll be in Ft. Lauderdale for a few days and was hoping someone could suggest a great restaurant in Miami (jacket not required). I'm going with two friends who are less adventurous, but the right place can accommodate most people. I don't care about price, though I do want quality food that is creative. Must have a good wine list and availability for a week from Friday. My fall back option is always Gotham Steak because I know my friends will love it, but I want to avoid steak houses.
In NY, I would typically go to Le Bernadin or Eleven Madison Park for a special meal like this, which are probably at a higher price point then anywhere in Miami.
I've heard good things about Michael's genuine. Someone recommended Scarpetta, but I never really liked the NY one.
Any suggestions are much appreciated.
I know you are trying to avoid steakhouses but there is a new restaurant that opened in Brickell called Strip, which is a modern style steakhouse that also serves seafood and an interesting twist in their menu with wild game like kangaroo, bison, venison, ostrich, and gator (different I know). They have a nice wine-list and their meats are bought from individual farms. The steak I was explained are purchased from a ranch that only raise free-range, grass-fed beef. I had the ribeye there that was pretty fantastic, could really taste a difference in the quality of the meat. My wife who doesn't like meat order the salmon and lobster mac-n-cheese and really enjoyed her meal. Service was great as well. I think you'd really enjoy it. Fancy, but not over the top where you need to wear a jacket, but you always could. Check out their website http://www.miamistripsteaks.com
Barton G the restaurant is the most creative food presentation I've seen. Lobster Pop Tarts served in a toaster, Nitrogen cocktails, all sorts of whimsical presentations. I had sushi served sno-cone style! Haven't been recently but i heard they've started using iPads for menus.
For high class atmosphere and service (no place in Miami requires a jacket), high quality food, good wine list, I'd start with Bourbon Steak. I know you say you want to avoid steakhouses and I usually share that sentiment as well, but the place is really top notch and not "just" a steakhouse.
Michy's would be high on my list as well. Some people find the "Barbie Dream House" decor off-putting - I think it's charming in a very Miami way. Food is very good and can appeal to both less and more adventurous diners, and there's also a very good wine list (more of the "carefully chosen" variety as compared to Bourbon Steak's more encyclopedic approach).
Michael's Genuine is great food but based on your description of what you're looking for, may be more casual than what you seek. If you don't like Scarpetta in NY, no reason to go to the one here.
Recommendations I second
1500 degrees is a good compromise because their non steak dishes are great. I have not heard amazing things about gotham so I never made it there.
Zuma has very good food and a great ambiance
Great ambiance but not world beating food
Juvia has unbeatable views in south beach - the food was good but overpriced
Casa Tua - has a nice ambiance ditto on overpriced
Given you want creative you might want to do Juvia if you are so inclined.
I have not been to Tuyo but have heard great things. It does qualify as a special occasion place and has creative dishes.
You might enjoy Tuyo in downtown Miami, Norman Van Aiken's newish restaurant. We don't have anything in Miami , IMHO, which compares to the likes of Eleven Madison Park or Le Bernadin. Michael's Genuine is VERY casual, but the food is good and interesting. We were underwhelmed by the Forge.
The Forge might suit your requirements. We vacationed in Miami this January and had a very good meal there. They have excellent steaks for the red meat lovers and many other choices. The green beans w/ chili oil was one of the best veggie dishes I have ever had and the apple pie sundae dessert was great and came w/ a carmel apple on the side, They have a great wine list. 1500 degrees at Eden Roc Hotel was also wonderful. If you can get the group to go for the tasting menu, they will not be sorry. Locally procured foods prepared very well w/ great wine pairings in a lovely but casual venue. We also ate at Hakassan and Scarpetta which were great, but can be found in NYC. The combo of food/service/value made 1500 our top choice, but you could not go wrong with any of these. Enjoy, and I hope you have as great a trip as we did!