Miami restaurants - opinions?

Oct 9th, 2003, 02:45 PM
  #1  
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Miami restaurants - opinions?

Hi all....

I'll be in Miami (really, mostly just South Beach, since I won't have a car) the first week in November, and I'm plotting out my restaurant schedule (my favorite part of any trip). Any opinions on the following?:

Norman's - thinking of this one for my big splurge

Wish -I'm staying at the Hotel, so this is a given

Puerto Saguro/Yuca - I love ethnic food, and I have to try authentic Cuban **I've heard Little Havana is fairly seedy - true? Should I make an effort to explore this neighborhood?

Balan's

Joe Allen

11th Street Diner- sounds like a good breakfast, casual lunch place

Any Italian recommendations? I can get Italian any time in NY, but Spiga, Osteria del Teatro and Escopazzo sound good.

What restaurants (fancy or otherwise) am I missing? I love good food, so I don't care if it's white tablecloths or paper tablecloths. Any good seafood restaurants to look out for?

Thanks!

Betsy
Betsyp is offline  
Oct 9th, 2003, 02:50 PM
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Our favorite is Grill Fish. Simple well done seafood.
RobertoB is offline  
Oct 9th, 2003, 03:00 PM
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Not a bad list, although one goes to 11th Street Diner for the late-night bite-- not specifically the quality of the food (I was disappointed). Here are some others:

-- 1220, at the Tides, is very pricey but incredibly good.

-- Front Porch Café, in the Penguin Hotel (Ocean north of 14th), has the best breakfasts going, and lunch and dinner are good too. Reasonable prices as well.

-- A Fish Called Avalon, in the Avalon Hotel, is another reasonably-priced joint with excellent fish.

-- Cardozo Café, in the Cardozo Hotel, has a new chef this year, and the food is better than ever.

I can tell you that Puerto Sagua is wonderfully authentic (I lived in Puerto Rico as a child). It is an unreconstituted Cuban diner, make no mistake. No décor, servers who won't make much small talk (either in English or Spanish), mostly Cuban-American clientèle. For a nicer ambience, you can go to Lario's on the Beach (owned by Gloria Estefan); the food is still Cuban, unfussy, not gussied-up or "haute-cuisine'd". Puerto Sagua is better, however. Little Havana isn't terrible, but if you're a gringo (what in California might be called huero or "güero" in cal&oacute you will feel a bit out of place. Versailles is the famous eatery, and it's touristy but still good. Yuca's fine, but a bit overpriced.

There are a bunch of good Italian joints on Lincoln Road, so you'll have your pick. The ones you name are all fine.
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Oct 9th, 2003, 03:07 PM
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We really enjoyed Barton G's. I've lived in Miami and now visit family there yearly. This was the place we chose to celebrate my mother's birthday. It's very unusual with great food and ambiance. Has a beautiful outdoor patio. You can always look to chowhound.com for more restaruant specific information.
welch is offline  
Oct 9th, 2003, 03:33 PM
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Thanks for all of your help!

I definitely want to make the Front Porch Cafe a habit, and it sounds like Puerto Saguro is more my taste (though I speak no Spanish whatsoever), as opposed to Lario's. I like ungussied ambience, especially in places where I'm getting more comfort food than gourmet. LOL I am definitely a gringo, so I think I'll avoid Little Havana.

Nemo's seems to be a hot restaurant - worth the try?

Is Norman's any better or worse than Chef Allen's or Mark's South Beach? If you had to recommend a splurge, which would you choose?

I should mention that I will be solo; I have no problem dining alone, as I do it all the time....I won't avoid places that are fancy, but if there is any place that is not particularly friendly to solo diners, please let me know. Otherwise, I'll enjoy my meal and read a good book at the same time.

Is Joe Allen's a good, comfortable place for a casual night out?

Thanks again!
Betsy
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Oct 9th, 2003, 07:27 PM
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I've eaten at the three you mention. Although I love Mark's Las Olas in Lauderdale, I found the place in South Beach underwhelming. Chef Allen's is good. But Norman's is way out in front!!!
Patrick is offline  
Oct 9th, 2003, 07:34 PM
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You can make Wish your "splurge" dinner, you know. Absolutely an event restaurant, sublime food, wonderful service, very accomodating to solo diners, and expensive. I ate there twice with my significant other on my last trip to South Beach-- each meal, $180 all in for both of us (wine, first course, main course, coffee, dessert). Good karma kind of place as well.
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Oct 10th, 2003, 04:07 AM
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Thanks Patrick, and RJW - I'm going to have a tough time narrowing the list down. I may do both since I'm getting a free night at the Hotel.

Betsyp is offline  
Oct 10th, 2003, 04:18 AM
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If you are there on a weekend, definitely do Nemos for brunch. It is sort of a very couple-y place at night but Sunday Brunch is wonderful and I usually hate brunch buffets.

There will be wonderful people watching at Brunch. Sit outside on the Patio.

Also for people watching: NikKiBeach: their champagne bar is fun and this is truly a scene. I'd take a cab there. It is at the southernmost end of Ocean Drive.

Best restaurant: Normans (although quite removed from South Beach). You'll be fine there as a single. I wouldn't think Baleen would be good for you for dinner but if you spent a day in the Coconut Grove/Coral Gables area I would highly recommend lunch in the stunning place. LMF
LilMsFoodie is offline  
Oct 10th, 2003, 04:43 AM
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Good Advise on Normans. Not to be missed - one of Florida's finest/freshest/funnest!

I grossed around $900/day while working there for a month in March during part of my U.S. tour. You know it's gonna' be good.

*tHe hApPy wAiTeR*

(Only had to Visine one iced tea! - She was trash though.)
_tHe_hApPy_wAiTeR_ is offline  
Oct 10th, 2003, 09:22 AM
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LilM, I will only be in Miami from Monday through Saturday, so I'll miss the brunch (and I'm sorry about that). Is it worth the $$ for dinner?

I won't have a car in South Beach; are Coral Gables/Coconut Grove within reasonable taxi distance (that is, close enough that I won't be spending an arm and a leg)? I saw a pic of the Venetian Pool - wow. Is it as spectacular in person? I would like to spend some time checking out either/both of these places, especially if the weather doesn't hold up. Would I need a car?

Thanks again for all the help!
Betsyp is offline  
Oct 10th, 2003, 09:23 AM
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News Cafe is a great place to people watch.

 

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