Solo Dining- 3 dinners, 2 lunches, 1 breakfast
I am traveiing solo to Miami next week-- first time! I am staying downtown at the Intercontinental. I am looking for 3 dinners anywhere within cab distance of the hotel and 2 lunches and a breakfast within walking distance of the hotel.
Solo dinners (likely at the bar)-- I'm considering Michy's, Michael's Genuine, Tudor House, Azul, and Area 31. I love fresh, nouveau cuisine, but also love Latin and Asian (which I can't get where I currently live). Which would you choose? What am I missing?
Lunches- I have no idea what's nearby. FYI-- these are weekday lunches (thurs. and Fri.)
Breakfast/Brunch- Saturday morning before taking a shuttle to the airport. Near hotel is good, but conceivably I could just grab my luggage and go, if there's a place that can't be beat. (Flying out of Fort Lauderdale).
Nix tudor house. You should go to zuma, db bistro and naoe -- and I have heard great things about nemesis and tuyo - but I am not sure about soloing there...
for lunch I heard great things about sparkys roadside bbq, fratelli milano, little lotus, and ceviche 105. You should serioulsly look into these. River oyster bar is great too but is a bit further from you.
If I was choosing 3 dinners from your list they'd be Michael's, Michy's and Azul. And that would be a very solid list and a great taste of Miami. Michael's makes great use of local ingredients, and Michy's will give you some refined takes here and there on Latin flavors. Michael's is ideal for a solo diner with a busy bar where you can order the full menu (or you can try to score a seat at the kitchen bar). Michy's is good too, it's not a big bar but it's also not too busy (only beer and wine) so you can eat in peace there or grab a table.
If you have a seafood hankering maybe swap in Area 31 - it's good but I don't think it's at the same level as the others. Folks are crazy for Zuma (Japanese) in the Epic Hotel (same as Area 31) - it's good but I don't understand why the place is as popular as it is. Naoe, if you are a sushi fanatic, is very special, but is a 3+ hour commitment and it seems like they may have stopped taking solo reservations (which would be a real bummer).
Nemesis and Tuyo both have great food. Nemesis is a lot more casual and quirky, Tuyo more high end. I just had a fantastic meal at Tuyo. Unfortunately it doesn't have any bar to eat at as a solo, if you feel awkward about sitting down at a table by yourself (not that I think you should).
DB Bistro Moderne in the JW Marriott is very good but won't give you much of a taste of Miami.
I'm no longer in downtown enough to know all the breakfast options - but New York Bagel Deli on Flagler is OK, Grunberg's in the ground floor of One Biscayne Tower is OK. Sakaya Kitchen recently opened a spot downtown and has some baked goods for breakfast (and would be a great call for a casual lunch).
TP probably has other good calls for lunch, I can certainly vouch for Sparky's Roadside BBQ. River Oyster Bar is about a mile away on the other side of the Miami River but is very good - also has a great happy hour with 1/2 price oysters. I also like Stoupsy's (Greek) downtown for another casual (order at the counter) lunch.
My choices were based on location and desire for Nouveau and Asian food. Not because I thought Zuma or DB Bistro were better than Michaels or Michy's. They are not (As an aside, I like DB Bistro's food more than Zuma's but Zuma has a very nice space, has a very diverse menu and the food is still very good -- this makes zuma an attractive option to one who wants asian food). I probably should have said I would consider going to, as opposed to just saying go to in my original post.
Edit: one more issue -- not sure if I would take a cab to michy's from downtown. Getting back may be inconvenient. I don't think many cabs pass the area but I could be wrong -- I always drive there. Michaels should be ok though. I also forgot Sakaya kitchen is now downtown too.
I would not rely on finding a taxi on Biscayne Blvd. around Michy's after dinner, but I'm sure if you ask your waiter 15 minutes before you finish, they will call one for you.
I should have added as well that Azul's food is the most contemporary in style of all those places (though none are particularly stodgy by any means).
Disagree with Frod's inclusion of Michy's. I dine solo all over Miami most nights and that bar there is not somewhere I'd want to dine alone. Too quiet in my opinion. That says nothing of the food which is fantastic, just not somewhere I'd go (nor have gone) solo. It'd be more likely that you'd be the only person sitting at the bar.
I'd go with Michael's Genuine, Azul, and NAOE for dinner. Genuine is the best for solo dining at the bar. Food kicks ass, drinks are good too, and vibe is the best. If NAOE isnt taking solo reservations, go with Zuma for your Asian fix. Maybe sub Edge for Azul or nix Asian and sub Edge for Zuma. Food is great at Edge and lots of fresh ingredients. Azul more modern but also fantastic food. Zuma good but not somewhere I find myself ever really wanting to go but bar is good for dinner solo that's for sure. You can't go wrong with any of these suggestions, food wise.
You could also take a short cab to Edge for lunch where they have a fantastic $19 specials that are focused on getting you in/out in short time. I also liked Stoupsy when I worked in the area for a quick Greek fix at lunch and have heard good things about Sparky's Roadside BBQ. I haven't been able to confirm but someone told me Fratelli Milano closed.
River Oyster Bar happy hour is a must do for 1/2 price oysters and a great crowd. Always busy at the bar there. You could hit before dinner at Edge/Azul/Zuma.
Grunbergs makes a kickass bacon, egg, & cheese breakfast sandwich. Other than that, I couldn't tell you a good spot for breakfast outside of maybe your hotel?
re: Blind Mind
I went to Michy's yesterday and there were a bunch of people at the bar. Could have been dumb luck. I don't like the bar there because the seats don't have backs though too uncomfortable for me...did not think of that until my meal last night, but you could always do a table.
To the OP. I'd say if you are not feeling like going too far, Zuma is in your hotel and DB Bistro is across the street. If you feel like venturing forth, Michael's Genuine is a good suggestion. As far as Azul goes, the chef recently left and although the sous chef is the same, and the food is probably just as good, there is a degree of risk there as it is quite expensive.
I have not eaten at Edge proper, but have heard many good things both here and from others I know and would recommend it based on that much the same as my lunch suggestions. I did eat their food at the Couchon 555 event and was very impressed. It is on my todo list.
Miami frankly sucks for breakfast. You are probably best off eating at your hotel like BM said.
re: Blind Mind
Love Stoupsy's for quick Greek and Fratelli Milano is also a quick walk from your hotel 4 lunch or dinner. Inexpensive Italian, mom & pop operation, twin brother chefs do all fresh entrees & Italian bread/pastry. There is a filled pasta with pear that's pretty great... They deliver too! www.ristorantefratellimilano.com
All of the rest of the info on this thread is spot on! You may need to stay longer to fit it all in.
+1 to BlindMind's River Oyster Bar suggestion and afterward hit Tobacco Road next door for live music and a non-threatening atmosphere for solo visitors. Also great for lunch on the back deck or happy hour Fridays at 6pm
Thanks again, everyone. I had a great stay in Miami. Made it to Michael's Genuine (with some friends of friends!) and had a great meal. We ate pretty lightly (warm night) and everything was fresh and delicious. Had lunch at Zuma which seemed very overpriced for what it delivered ($6 iced tea?!), but fish was fresh. Dinner at the Fratelli milano bar was lovely. Very nice service, nice seafood pasta.