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Need Expert/Local Help for Miami Beach Wedding Dinners

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The Miami food scene changes so fast even keeping up on Chowhound is a challenge, particularly for those of us living abroad. I'm looking for a couple of restaurants in the South Beach area to host 20-25 person dinners around my wedding in late December 2014. Half the guests will be foodies from LA and NY. First night I'd like to be fun with a great food, good cocktails and a reasonable wine list (we drink a lot!) and hopefully a full-on Miami vibe. I'd prefer to be "in the restaurant" and be able to order freely (vs a limited choice group menu), but I understand with 20-25 we may be limited on both fronts. Budget's not really an issue and I'm generally looking for a higher end place. A spot like Ola sounds great but reviews lately have been quite mixed; I hope that's wrong since I love D. Rodriquez from his spots in NYC and Philly. For the wedding night (Saturday) I'd like to find a private room for 25-ish. Thinking something like Scarpetta? The fiance's request is no steakhouse, no seafood-only and no Asian. I'm tempted by The Forge, but I just can't get a good read on the latest iteration from recent reviews on CH or elsewhere.

I'd also love any thoughts for a great Brunch spot for the same big group on Sunday. The Dutch looks good as does Hakkasan for dim sum, though I'm told Hakkasan in Miami isn't half as cool as the ones here in London that I love.

I appreciate all your help!

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  1. We recently found OLA to be underwhelming. Sorry I can't add anything positive.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gblcsw

      Too bad! It's rare when that type of big, corporate restaurant can keep it fresh for 10 years...

    2. Micheal's Genuine never disappoints.

      2 Replies
      1. re: BlueHerons

        Sounds great, the reviews are universally solid. How is the scene on a Friday night? Or maybe it would be better for a Sunday Brunch?

        1. re: burglover

          Please be aware MGFD may not be considered "in the South Beach area", as you requested in your original post. It's in mainland Miami. Not far... but definitely not SoBe.

      2. The Dutch
        Macchialina (could be tough with large group)
        The Bazaar
        Tongue & Cheek
        Restaurant Michael Schwartz (outside brunch)
        Milos

        3 Replies
        1. re: The Chowfather

          Tongue & Cheek looks amazing! This is why I love CH: in my many hours of research T&C never popped up. Have you been for the Sunday Brunch? And thanks for clarifying as I thought Michael Schwartz was the same as Michael's Genuine. Both look great.

          1. re: burglover

            Chef DeRosa takes brunch seriously at T&C and I'm sure his team will take care of your group. It should be noted that they offer $20 bottomless Bloody Mary's, Mimosas and Bellinis during brunch.

            1. re: The Chowfather

              That's perfect! Thank you for the recommendation. Have you been to Scarpetta recently? You think good choice for a fancy-ish post-wedding dinner?