Miami/Keys 4 day trip eats - ideas???
I'm off to Miami from the UK for a long weekend (this weekend!) and am trying to finalise lunch/brunch dinners for my and my friend (2 girls, 20s), we're staying downtown and have a car. I have the following plan so far:
Thursday - arrive in the evening, freshen up and have dinner somewhere casual, tasty and pretty cheap (no particular cuisine in mind, maybe a burger?)
Friday - we'll be shopping in Aventura so breakfast at iHop, snacking lunch and then dinner I was thinking YardBird, but it looks booked on their online reservations and doesn't seem tooooo popular on here. Any suggestions for either smart southern food or American, ideally somewhere that has a bar attached and plays a little music (might be asking for too much!) Price range about $50-70 without drinks
Saturday - heading to south beach, no particular breakfast in mind but lunch/dinner at Puerto Sagua.
Sunday - going to drive down the keys, light breakfast (suggest a bakery?) before we set off, but really want some good seafood for a light lunch like shrimp or fish tacos/sandwiches. For dinner we planned to stop off for BBQ at shivers on the way back to miami.
Monday - Our flight is in the afternoon so looking at Jackson Soul food between the hotel and the airport.
Any input would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks for the feedback everyone!
We ended up eating at The Filing Station on Thursday night, BEST wings ever!!! Their pulled pork sandwich (one with fried pickles and crumbled bacon and cheese) was amazing. I was full but I kept needing one. more. bite.
Friday we went to iHop (can't get that at home!), we missed dinner because we weren't hungry but were REALLY tired.
On Saturday we had a late lunch at Puerto Sagua, very very tasty, I really liked yuca, even though I've never tried it before. I had pork shoulder there as a main.
Sunday we went to Sparkys Roadside BBQ downtown. It was just okay, I've never had "Barbecue" so I wasn't sure what to expect. The ribs were bleh (I think I've made tastier ones at home) but the beef brisket sandwich was delightful, soft and melty and the kaiser roll... surely we must be able to make them here!
Monday we had Jackson's Soul Food for brunch, again, very nice, just a regular place but loads of different types of people there - business lunches, people stopping by etc.
The best food from the trip was definitely at the Filling Station. They had great service too, I'd definitely go back. In fact I have another trip planned in a month or so, I hope I can try out Shorty's BBQ as I'll be staying North of Miami in Broward instead. So perhaps that'll be a better experience.
Around Aventura I'd suggest doing like the locals do and hitting up a Jewish deli for breakfast rather than Ihop, which you can find anywhere. My favorite is Sage Deli in Hallandale for their bagels, if you want something closer to Aventura there's Mo's (very close to Aventura Mall) or Bagel Cove.
Speaking to your Friday plans --
I'd suggest you stay at the mall, and dine at Bella Luna, in the Aventura Mall. The food's good, and the opportunity to sit down after a hard day of shopping would be more than welcome. Plus, it gives you the chance to shop until you literally drop in the mall space.
Speaking to your Sunday plans --
How far down into the keys do you plan to go? With your plan to stop at Shivers on the way back North, you might make it all the way to Key West, and back to the restaurant, but you don't really want to spend the day sitting in your rented Toyota Corolla. Head for Islamorada, spend some lunch time at the Lore-Lei, Lazy Days, Morada Bay, Ma's Fish Camp -- then back to Shivers.
You can drive when you're back home!
Keep in mind - the uppermost keys are unimpressive from the main road. It's almost literally nothing but strip malls on the Overseas Highway until you get down below Islamorada.
The stretch from FL city to Upper Key Largo goes through the Everglades and that's all nature - but the view is mostly mangroves and the bay, not really that interesting.
To liven up this overall appx 1.5 hour trip, many folks take the alternate "Card Sound Road" route, and stop at the outdoor Keys-dive type bar Alabama Jacks, for one drink and maybe even a snack of conch fritters etc. Some consider this a mandatory right of passage for the start of any Keys adventure.
But once you get to Upper KL you've got to turn off, and go to one of the waterfront restaurants, before you'll see any more of the beautiful views.
Upstairs at Lazy Days is hard to beat for the East-looking ocean view. Lorelei and Morada Bay faces the gulf side.
For lunch (not sunset), I'd take the ocean view.
Unless you are staying out on south beach friday, it does not make sense for you to go to yardbird or any place on south beach for that matter.
If I were you, I would look into:
River Oyster Bar
Edge Steak Bar
River Oyster Bar is right next to tobacco road. So you can eat there and go to live music at tobacco road and you will be really close to home base when you are done.
Sunscreen. Nothing more pitiful than tourists hurting for lack of sunscreen. Use spf 30 or greater. I don't care if your hue is ebony or cream, our sun is still intense. Waterproof. And don't miss the intimate bits under the suit. Trust me on this.
Start very early for the Keys and have great patience driving. A wreck can stop traffic for quite a while. You are three to four hours from Key West. With Alabama Jack's on Card Sound Road and Marathon fish Company near 7 mile bridge, you might not even get that far. There is a wonderful beach on the ocean side of Marathon.
Some of the best places are full of sand, bugs, and plastic Solo cups. With a parking lot with plenty of pickup trucks. Have fun and relax.
And trust me on the sunscreen.