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Apr 23, 2014 10:49 AM

Looking for 'Locals' Restos with Good Food


Visiting Sobe for the month of May as I contemplate a move from San Diego to Miami.

Looking for places where I am more likely to run into locals (not tourists) that serve good food and I can eat at the bar (if they have a TV great, if not no worries) so I can get a better idea of the area and people from a resident standpoint....I think I have the Italian fare and steak places scoped out....from my research, I think I have come up with Semilla, Barceloneta, Yardbird, and Olivers as good places in SoBe and I will definitely concentrate on the Sunset Harbour area. Prefer to interact with more of a professional crowd (age can vary from 30-50), if that exists in SoBe.

Any other places in SoBe or other areas outside Sobe, as I may rent a car a few days and explore...i.e. any can't miss places in Coral Gables, Coconut Grove (Lokal?), Brickell (been to Il Gabbiano), and downtown/midtown (Oak Tavern)??

I understand I might not be able to escape tourists if I am looking to hit a good happy hour in SoBe (i.e. Smith & Wollensky, Prime One Twelve, etc--but I have been told these places are worth it)....looking for any and all suggestions for local bars after dinner as well ( 1826?....Cavalli??...Monty's...the speak easy next door to Lucali?)

Many thanks

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  1. Bar- The Broken Shaker

    Bars to eat at/locals (South Beach)
    Lucali (bar attached)
    PB Steak *5-7 daily they're doin a PB Fish
    Tongue & Cheek (good happy hour food deals)
    Joe's Take Away

    Off the Beach but convenient

    Michael's Genuine Food & Drink
    Oak Tavern
    Blue Collar

    3 Replies
      1. re: The Chowfather

        Add the following:
        Pubbelly Sushi

        Smith & Wollensky has a good Friday happy hour. The food is not fantastic, but the happy hour is worth going to.

        Prime 112 is not my favorite but the lounge next door is a bit lower key. I would not eat there though.

        If you are going to spend a lot in that area, eat at Milos (very very expensive - except lunch which is a bargain).

        I would recommend the Dutch. Not a lot of local traffic but nice place with great food, particularly the oysters and steak (both of which are the best in Miami).

        I also recommend, you get take out/delivery at My Ceviche.

        You can also hang out a panther coffee on lower key days.

        If you want Chinese food Blackbrick is the place to go -- unfortunately it is not in sobe but is just across the bay.

        1. re: tpigeon

          thanks....yes, need my fix for Chinese.

      2. If you want to dive a bit deeper in Miami restaurant research, you can do much worse than continuing on with these three sites:

        Then, if you want to stay up to the minute, there's lots going on on twitter and instagram.

        1. Sunset Harbour is ground zero for good eating on South Beach these days - the Pubbelly places are solid (my favorites are Pubbelly and PB Steak, but I enjoy Pubbelly Sushi too when in the right frame of mind) and are geared toward locals not tourists. Sardinia is also very good, and there's a new Panther Coffee there too. Burger & Beer Joint is OK.

          I just went to Oliver's Bistro for the first time recently (not my choice) and it was not as bad as I expected for a place whose menu ranges includes escargot, satay chicken, hummus, shrimp tacos, lasagna, madras chicken curry & beef bourguignone. I would not choose to go back but it does seem to have a local following (especially for brunch).

          A bit more upmarket on South Beach, and not so much locals' haunts (but still very good), I like Bazaar and the Dutch; Milos has good food but is phenomenally expensive.

          Outside South Beach, your best dining destination is probably Design District / Midtown: Michael's Genuine (a place with a national reputation but still very much a local following), Harry's Pizzeria, Oak Tavern, MC Kitchen, Sugarcane, BlackBrick, Salumeria 104, Bocce Bar; also just north of the Design District is Mandolin Aegean Bistro. Most of these places are places where you can very comfortably eat at the bar.

          Further up Biscayne Boulevard there's Blue Collar, The Federal, and Michy's (more upscale but one of the best restaurants in town), I also like Bar Meli around the corner on 79th St. (same owner as the now closed Anise Taverna and Ouzo).

          1. As an update....thanks everyone who recommended the Pubbelly and Joes Takeaway restos.

            I have eaten at Barceloneta, PB Steak (steak tartare sliders amazing), Sardinia, Semelia, and Joes Takeaway--all great and relative values in an area (SoBe) where I have felt violated--Ceasar salad, shrimp cocktail and 2 Heinekens with tip for $70 at Red's felt as though I had a colonoscopy without the sedation.

            Joes Takeaway for breakfast is also great--best nova eggs with onions and oatmeal I have ever had.

            Panizza for pastries and coffee not bad. Meat Market, not cheap, but very have to pick and choose where you eat in SoBe or else you get raped....have not had a chance to leave the area but have 2 weeks left.....

            15 Replies
            1. re: El Chevere

              Thanks for the report. Just as an FYI, you need to go to NYC pronto to Barney Greengrass if you think Joe's is the best ELO you've had. In Miami, I think Josh's Deli beats Joes for ELO.

              1. re: tpigeon

                will do re: Barney G...BTW, the sirloin burger at Joe's Takeaway was very, very good as well.

                Should add the following--ate at Macchialina, not bad. Disappointed with Tequiztlan (salsa with the chips relatively flavorless, like out of jar purchased at a supermarket and the soft shell tacos tore apart with not much flavor either--I like the ones at HuaHua much more.)

                Still need to hit Lucali--if I do not find anyone to join me I will take the plunge by myself and box up what I cannot finish.

                Was disappointed with the pizza at Fratelli la Buffala--maybe it's me, but Neapolitan style pizza is always hit or the version at Sardinia, did not like it here. ...La Locanda was pretty good, not spectacular.

                1. re: El Chevere

                  Do the calzone at Lucali - it's more budget friendly, it's a good portion for one person, and it's possibly better than the pizza.

                  1. re: Frodnesor

                    will have to try the calzone....tried the pizza last night with a fellow ex NY'er (from Brooklyn) and we both agreed the pizza was good but not great....neither of us were wowed by it and I know of a dozen or so spots in NY that blow this place away. not saying I won't return but it was not 'must have' pizza....actually, I prefer the pizza at Sardinia.

                    1. re: El Chevere

                      While the pizza at Sardinia is good. It is not in the same league as lucali in my opinion. The cheese is on par but the sauce and crust are lacking.

                      1. re: tpigeon

                        actually, I preferred the crust at Sardinia....and I have a kinky fetish where I love to dip my pizza in olive oil--they have great EVOO at Sardinia.

                      2. re: El Chevere

                        El C, you seem to know what you're talking about, for sure.


                        You know "a dozen or so spots in NY that blow Lucali away"?

                        Hmmm. (Lucali, Photo 1, albeit not a great shot).

                        Some in NYC may be better, for sure.

                        For example, I'm a huge Roberta's fan (photo 2).

                        But "blow it away", i.e. "not even close"?

                        I don't know about that... A little hyperbole there, perhaps?

                        PS: You need to try #3 at some point, from an undisclosed South Florida location.

                        1. re: CFByrne

                          I judge a pizza by the sauce and cheese--as in the case of a hamburger, if I have to add 3-4 ingredients to give it flavor it's not pizza--at least not in my book...the one I had at Lucali was good but did not blow me away....not saying I wouldn't return, but I somehow expected better and know I will get better pizza when I stop off in NY in 2 weeks...did not see the oil dripping off the Lucali pizza--maybe I'll need to add garlic to my pie next time, after I try their to NY, I've easily got 3-4 places on Long Island that I prefer and in NY, I favor Di Fara, Paulie G's and Grimaldi's over Lucali.

                          I've had similar discussions on the San Diego board where I was even less impressed with Pizzeria Mozza--the third outlet in a pizza mini-chain started by Mario Batali. I had many people telling me that the pizza in the new San Diego location HAD to be good (which it wasn't at all) because they had friends who would drive 2 hours north to the LA location. Different style altogether...all I know a meatball app, 12 inch pie (not 20 as at Lucali), and 2 glasses of wine came to $80 for what I felt was mediocre product that took 35 minutes to arrive...want bread and EVOO?--add $4. No thanks, pass.

                          1. re: El Chevere

                            Notice the proper balance of sauce (let alone the sweet taste) and cheese on these slices from a local (NY) favorite of mine...

                            1. re: El Chevere

                              If you like sweet sauce, you'll want to check out Steve's Pizza in North Miami Beach.

                              It's good stuff...

                              But some find the sauce even TOO sweet. But it might be right up your alley.



                              - Former Freeporter.

                      3. re: Frodnesor

                        The calzone is better than the pizza at lucali. It is the best calzone in the universe.

                        1. re: tpigeon

                          In the universe? I respect your opinion so I'll have to try it! I always laugh when NYrs are so high on the NYC pizza and that no where else can compare. I've eaten Pizza at many of the famous places in both NYC and Chicago and while they're great - - - there are several pizza places here in South Florida that compare and favorably. Same could be said for the bagels too.

                          Pizza is very subjective. I have a friend from Tennessee that tells me "Water tastes best where you first drunk it" and I think that principle applies to pizza and bagels.

                          I've been eating pizza at Richard Accursio's Capri Restaurant in Florida City since the mid 60s and for me that's the best pizza on earth. Same crappy Florida City water, same ovens, same ingredients and same consistent taste for nearly 50 years. That's where I first ate pizza and that's where I like it best! (LOL!).

                          I'm sure your favorite places in NY have missed you!

                          Ft. Pierce, FL

                          1. re: LargeLife

                            Get it with pepperoni and mushrooms.

                      4. re: El Chevere

                        BTW, the sliders off the bar menu at Smith & Wollensky were great....most places, they rarely get the temperature right as I Iike it (medium rare...not medium... not well done) and they come out tasting like meatballs--not could taste the quality of meat and it was cooked to perfection.