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Miami, Florida Dining Guide

Miami.Boulevards.com is pleased to present this selective restaurant guide for the city of Miami, Florida, featuring dining reviews by the staff of the Miami New Times. Try our online reservations and receive Dining Bonus Points redeemable at thousands of restaurants nationwide.

Miami Restaurants

1220 at the Tides
1220 Ocean Drive Miami Beach FL 33139; Tel. 305.604.5130
Sleek, elegant dining with muted decor, low lighting and a menu providing progressive American cuisine. This type of cuisine centers on a lighter style of cooking, relying on fresh, clear and distinctive flavors with innovated combinations. The menu items reveal influences from European, North American, South American and Asian cuisines. (Description provided by opentable.com)
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Blue Door at the Delano
1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach FL 33139; Tel. 305.672.2000
With award-winning chef Claude Troisgros overseeing and the managing team from China Grill behind the scenes, the Blue Door presents a diner-friendly face to the public. Tropical, Asian, and Latin influences spark up classic French cookery: ravioli stuffed with taro root mousseline with white truffle oil; cold chayote soup with pan-seared scallops, soy, and garlic; sea bass with brown butter, cashews, and roasted heart of palm; and ragout of Maine lobster in a coconut milk broth. Pricey desserts are visual stunners but, like the setting, are eye candy and not much else. Outdoor seating. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
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Cacao
141 Giralda Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33134
Situated on the Coral Gable's "Restaurant Row", Cacao boasts a sleek modern decor. Chef Edgar Leal brings to life ancient South American cuisine and modernizes it with his special touch. Chocolate reigns on the dessert menu, providing a fitting end to a special dining experience. (Description provided by Opentable.com)
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Capital Grille - Miami
444 Brickell Ave., Miami FL 33131
This high-end steak house for the high-powered adds some carnivorous class to the downtown riverside scene. A meat locker in the middle of the dining room, where the beef is dry-aged, gives you a good idea of what's on the menu; a 400-plus selection of wine gives you a lot of ideas about what to drink with it. Porterhouses, Delmonicos, and sirloins are all gargantuan, as is the shrimp scampi. Great onion soup and meaty crab-lobster cakes for starters. Cottage fries, onion "strings," and super creamed spinach, scented with garlic, work powerfully well as side dishes. Lunch and dinner.
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Caramelo Restaurant
264 Giralda Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33134
Caramelo Restaurant offers a unique style of cuisine best described as Italian and a Caribbean fusion. Chef Willie Hernandez dazzles with Pasta and risotto specials, daily fresh fish and a fine selection of wines. (Description provided by Opentable.com)
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Graziano's Coral Gables
394 Giralda Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33131
Grazianos Parilla Argentina offers fresh, authentic and innovate Argentine Cuisine. (Description provided by Opentable.com)
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Graziano's Miami
9227 Bird Road, Miami, FL 33165
Grazianos Parilla Argentina offers fresh, authentic and innovate Argentine Cuisine. (Description provided by Opentable.com)
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Madiba Miami
1766 Bay Road, Maimi Beach, FL 33139
Madiba Restaurants offer a unique South African experience. Madiba Miami is located in a bi-level, deco style building. The upstairs restaurant seats 100, including the private chef's table/wine cellar that seats 30 people. The downstairs lounge includes 2 separate bars and dancing till 5am; bar menu served. (Description provided by Opentable.com)
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Mendoza Miami Restaurant
1155 Brickell Bay Drive, Miami, FL 33131
Mediterranean.
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Pearl
1 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach FL 33139; Tel. 305.538.1111
Nestled away in the Penrod’s Beach Club Complex, Pearl Restaurant and Champagne Lounge is a unique dining experience. The innovative menu, décor, and atmosphere tantalize all your senses for an evening you won’t soon forget. (Description provided by opentable.com)
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SUSHISAMBA - Miami Beach
600 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL 33135
A sexy crowd works itself into a frenzy at this trendy flatiron hot spot with a new spin on fusion cooking. Japan meets South America, look for the city's first Sushi-Serviche bar, sakes and sambatinis. (Description provided by Opentable.com)
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The Crustacean at The Setai
Miami Beach, FL 33139
This cozy venue at The Setai, South Beach, boasts an impressive floor-to-ceiling wine library with an extensive collection of Prestige Cuvee Champagnes and fine wines. To compliment is a selection of fresh crustacean premier caviar and other delicacies. The Crustacean, Champagne and Caviar Bar serves as a preamble to dinner at The Restaurant or an ideal setting for aperitif's, cocktails and light entrees. (Description provided by Opentable.com)
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The Restaurant at The Setai
Miami Beach, FL 33139
An Asian and classically French-influenced menu prepared with the finest and freshest ingredients. Showcased in The Restaurant — the Setai's tribute to trans-ethnic cuisine. With indoor and outdoor seating areas, an exhibition kitchen, the sunken pod amid quiet ponds and beautiful pergolas, guests can expect an exquisite dining experience. (Description provided by Opentable.com)
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More Miami Restaurants

Abbey Dining Room
300 21st St., South Beach FL 33139; Tel. 305.531.0033
This dapper, Deco, 52-seat restaurant (with half as many chairs on an outdoor patio) combines the ambiance of an understatedly sophisticated supper club with a concise, enticing, and sensibly priced Mediterranean menu created by chef Phillipe Baguette, formerly of Café Tabac. Start strong with scintillating grilled octopus salad or crackly potato pancake topped by fresh anchovies and oregano, but leave room for the seafood entrées--fish is flown in fresh from Spain, making these the most desirable dishes from which to choose. Two sparkling imports: striped bass grilled and served whole with herb-roasted potatoes, and turbot in blood orange sauce with thick sticks of fried polenta. Clean your plate without concern--there's always room for puffy, cleanly fried fig beignets delicately dusted in powdered sugar. Abbey offers tasty food, fair prices, congenial service, and a civilized environment--a combination almost unheard of in these parts.
Full review available from the Miami New Times.

B.E.D.
929 Washington Ave., Miami Beach FL 33139; Tel. 305.532.9070
This is one hard place to get a seat: Beds take up waaay more room than tables. And then there's B.E.D.'s reservation system. There are exactly two seatings per night, one 8:00 to 8:30 p.m., the other 10:30 to 11:00 (same-day reservations only). But once one is seated (or gets laid, whatever), then comes the surprise: a standout crabcake appetizer and terrific crayfish tapenade. Main courses include the roasted rack of Australian lamb, which features a full-bodied mustard-tarragon sauce, and pan-seared Chilean sea bass sauced with a rich but light herbed vermouth cream. Desserts like the "Go Deep" cappuccino crème brûlée are more outrageous than original and the only food items that seemed to pander to B.E.D.'s gimmick aspect.

Benny's
2500 SW 107th Ave #1, Miami FL 33165; Tel. 305.227.1232
Puerto Rico has never been so close. Family-run and family-oriented, this restaurant across from the Youth Fair grounds serves traditional island seafood specialties. Shrimp asopao (rice-based stew) is superior, as is a "sandwich" of breaded snapper fillets encasing an assortment of conch, shrimp, and octopus. Seafood empanadillas or fried tostones filled with ground beef are crunchy starters, coconut custard a smooth and creamy finale. Take-out; lunch and dinner.

Café Pastis
7310 Red Rd., South Miami FL 33143; Tel. 305.665.3322
Marseilles has its say in this bright and charming café situated around the corner from the Shops at Sunset Place. The 32-seat room is snug, the open kitchen even snugger, but they manage to pump out some mighty tasty French Provençal food from that little space. Offerings include homemade duck and black peppercorn pâté with fig tapenade, homemade ravioli plumped with herbed goat cheese, main courses of braised duck legs in black currant sauce and honey-baked rack of lamb, and homemade desserts -- the tarte tatin is a classic. Naturally they serve bouillabaisse, too; it's the pride of Marseilles. Café Pastis is so good that it may just become the pride of South Miami.

Café Sambal
500 Brickell Key Dr. (in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel), Miami FL 33131 ; Tel. 305.913.8251
Whether your perspective be from one of 70 indoor seats, or 90 outdoors on a partially covered terrace overlooking Biscayne Bay and the downtown skyline, and whether the plate in front of you contains breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Café Sambal provides a lovely, reposeful setting. Most starters are composed of fresh shellfish served chilled: stone crabs, oysters, Gulf shrimp, lobster, and combinations thereof. As such they're pricey, but main courses are unexpectedly reasonable: Rotisserie chicken with grainy mustard sauce, macadamia-crusted sea bass in red curry sauce, and a succulent square of salmon, roasted and served on a cedar plank with ginger-saki glaze and port-merlot syrup, are all under $20 and come with wok-fried vegetables and starch. The upper end of the price scale, hovering around the $30 range, includes goat cheese-crusted lamb chops with garlic-mint barbecue sauce, Maine lobster with Szechuan black-bean sauce, and a surf-and-turf of filet mignon and shrimp tempura.

Casa Juancho
2436 SW 8th St., Miami FL 33135 ; Tel. 305.642.2452
Juancho was the Brillat-Savarin of Spain, an old-time dude who loved a good meal. You can feast like him at this well-known eatery. The snapper browned with butter and topped with mushrooms, ham, and shrimp is super; roast suckling pig is an immense portion worth every caloric bite, as are the famed desserts crema catalana and syrup-soaked torrijas. Lunch and dinner.

Covadonga
6480 SW 8th St. Miami FL 33144; Tel. 305.261.2406
Rigged out in shipboard gear, this fine seafood restaurant has earned its spars and stripes. You almost expect the creaking of the hull and the tang of salt air; instead, you get the horns and exhaust from Eighth Street and one of the best Cuban meals in the city. For starters: clams in green sauce or shrimp in garlic sauce, kingfish escabeche or fish soup. Then whole baby squid stuffed with ham in brown sauce, shellfish galore in rich buttery tomato sauce, or paella Covadonga for two.

Fico Key West Seafood

Fico Key West Seafood
3757 W Flager St., Miami FL and 1248 Washington Ave., Miami Beach FL; Tel. 305.446.4040 and 305.534.0065
Once you've tried Fico nothing else is as rico. Even if you're one of those purists who used to have to put up with the total lack of seating at the original location on Flagler, it's worth it! (The patience of so many loyal customers, eating while standing up at those narrow counters, has been rewarded with a new section at the Flagler restaurant where you can actually sit at tables and chairs.) Of course the newer South Beach Fico lacks the quirky character of its predecessor, but the seafood hasn't suffered. Fico's always-perfect broiled fish fillets remain the seafood standard, but every variety of fresh seafood -- fried, grilled, or broiled to order -- is consistently scrumptious. Excellent soups too. A special salute to the tostones de platanos Hawaianos, fried green plantains stuffed with little crawfish. Now they're expanding the menu to include chicken and pasta, but who needs that?
Full review available from the Miami New Times.

Pascal's on Ponce
2611 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables FL; Tel. 305.444.2024
Chef Oudin has crafted a contemporary French menu that's exciting but accessible, leaving the steak frites and escargots to neighbor Les Halles (which prepares those dishes simply and beautifully). Pascal's offerings aren't extensive, but with captivating choices like tenderloin of beef with snails, wild mushrooms, and garlic with Bordelaise sauce; magret duck breast with savoy cabbage; and sautéed yellowfin tuna au poivre (for those who can't do without peppercorns), diners will still need time to peruse and decide. And when the dessert arrives, warm and lovely after all those other courses, you'll be reminded that it's never too early to plan for the future. The 55-seat restaurant is intimate without seeming cliquish, and the waitstaff is attentive and knowledgeable of the menu and the wine list. Prices are reflective of the fare's essence: not over the top.

Porcão
801 S Bayshore Dr, Miami FL 33131; Tel. 305.373.2777
Pork out at this powerfully good churrascaría. For a fixed price of $26, take advantage of the only option here, the Brazilian rodizio, an ongoing feast of salads and meats. Start at the unlimited gourmet buffet, which includes delicacies such as pickled quail eggs, marinated Spanish onions, fresh watercress, and a whole prosciutto. Then move on to the meats -- everything from lamb to filet mignon to chicken hearts -- grilled, skewered, and sliced tableside onto your plate. Side dishes like fried yuca, manioc (cassava flour), white rice, and black beans complete the prix fixe, but not the meal -- la carte desserts, particularly the flan in caramel sauce, are worth the additional fee. Lunch and dinner.

Romeo's Café
2257 Coral Way, Miami FL 33145; Tel. 305.859.2228
From the outside it looks like your average neighborhood Italian joint, but what goes on inside this dark and intimate 28-seater is quite extraordinary. For one thing there are no menus. Romeo comes by the table, inquires as to your likes and dislikes, and prepares a personalized menu accordingly. Dinners are composed of six courses, each featuring small portions of freshly and deliciously prepared northern Italian cuisine. A sample meal might include salmon carpaccio, Fontina ravioli with truffles and rosemary, grouper sautéed with wine and herbs, risotto with beef tenderloin, lamb chops in barolo wine sauce, and chocolate soufflé for dessert. At $50 it's a steal, and lunch, a four-course feast, goes for an unbelievably low $20. Service is stellar, the ambiance as romantic as it gets. It's a great place to fall in love, and you will -- if not with the person across the table, certainly with Romeo's.

Tobacco Road
626 S Miami Ave, Miami FL 33130; Tel. 305.374.1198
More famous for its gritty sounds and blues-drenched ambiance than for its dishes, the grandfatherly fixture is as easy on the palate as it is on the ears. Hamburgers can be ordered with mushrooms, chili, cheese, and fried egg piled on, while the chili itself is a fire-hydrant fixing. Soups and salads are all good. Leave room for the homemade ice cream. Rough-and-ready, no-frills eating. Lunch and dinner.

Tropical Chinese Restaurant
7991 Bird Rd, Miami FL 33155; Tel. 305.262.7576
An intriguing menu ranges beyond China for spicy masterpieces like black bean chicken and Hong Kong-style steak, succulent from a sake marinade. Clay-pot cooking renders some of the best Asian fare in Miami; flaming pineapple boats certainly make it the most dramatic. Lunch and dinner.

Versailles
3555 SW 8th St, Miami FL 33135; Tel. 305.444.0240
A Cuban monolith, a tradition, a reality. Here's where it all began, or so it seems. These days the menu is longer than the Old Testament. Also a good place for a midnight snack -- expertly prepared medianoches and sandwiches cubanos, for instance. Recently they've expanded the dessert selection to include a few odd choices, such as majarete (corn custard) and dulce de leche, a sour milk confection. Lunch and dinner.


Excerpts from the Miami New Times are ©2002 Miami New Times and republished with publisher's permission.

Best of Miami 2001 The Best Of Miami 2001 Best of Miami 2002 The Best Of Miami 2002


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