Small Bites

236 NE First Ave, Miami; 305-381-9254. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Air Jamaica posters on bright-pink walls beckon you to the islands via beautifully lush landscapes, but the food at Errol and Carol Whyte's cheery downtown restaurant lets you know you don't have to get on a plane to enjoy authentic Caribbean cooking. We mean the real deal: oxtail, cow foot, curry goat -- this place ain't for timid nibblers. Jerk pork and chicken are spicy, not fiery, and juicy within; chicken in yellow curry sauce and fish stewed and splashed with brown sauce are worthwhile as well. Lunch and dinner entrées, nearly all under $8, come with iceberg-tomato salad, a side of coconut-infused rice, and a couple of slices of fried green plantain. Some of the same meals are available for only $5 during a lunchtime special running from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The service is friendly, not fast, so take slow sips of refreshing homemade island juices like soursop, fruit punch, Irish moss, or the most famous island juice -- Red Stripe.

78 Canal St, Miami Springs; 305-882-0511. Open daily 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Set against a tributary of the Miami River, this elegant restaurant offers freshly made, flavorful, healthy food; smart décor; and crisp service. The spacious dining room is high-ceilinged and immaculate. Tablecloths and napkins are snow-white linen, flatware heavy and shiny, and chopsticks not the disposable type found at Americanized Chinese restaurants, which Chanlowe certainly isn't. Chef-owner Joe Lowe emphasizes authenticity, although for his Gobi dishes he must substitute cream for yak milk. The limited menu (just seventeen entrées) features three styles: Cantonese, Szechuan, and the curry-flavored Gobi items, true to the fare found beyond the Great Wall in the desert region. ("We have curry in China too," Lowe notes.) The creamy curry sauce applied to shrimp, pork, lamb, chicken, and vegetables is delightful, as are the Szechuan dishes, which Lowe prepares to order, adjusting the heat to diners' requests with spices and, if asked, with whole chili peppers. For a special treat, dig into the steamed whole sole ($14.95), or go on a Saturday and indulge in a whole or half Peking duck ($19 and $9.50). Almost all the other dishes cost less than $10.

3409 Main Hwy, Coconut Grove; 305-446-8800. Open Monday through Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. In Europe, where people work to live instead of live to work, kicking back at a sidewalk café with a glass of wine, a slab of bread, a little cheese, and charcuterie is considered a very civilized way to dine. Here, anyone hanging out too long on the sidewalk is either homeless or trying to spare-change tourists. Perhaps a few more places like Massimo Cannavo's Cheese Market will change all of that; until then, this is what we've got. It's a cute place, very Euro, walls lined with shelves spilling over with gourmet items -- caviar and truffles and oils and vinegars, an impressive selection of wines from around the planet and, of course, cheese. Order a platter of cured meats and mixed cheeses and a bottle of wine you've never heard of and pretend Coconut Grove is really some charming little Parisian alley.

Location Info


Aromas Del Peru

13823 N. Kendall Drive
Kendall, FL 33186

Category: Restaurant > International

Region: South Dade

Bonefish Grill

12520 SW 120th St.
Kendall, FL 33186

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: South Dade

The Brick

100 Southeast 4th St.
Miami, FL 33131

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Downtown/Overtown


141 Giralda Ave.
Coral Gables, FL 33134

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Coral Gables/South Miami

Chanlowe Chinese Restaurant

78 Canal St.
Doral, FL 33166

Category: Restaurant > Cantonese

Region: Doral

Siam Oishi

3409 Main Highway
Miami, FL 33133-5915

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Coconut Grove

Epicure Gourmet Market & Cafe

1656 Alton Road, Ste 300
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: South Beach

Frankie's Pizza

9118 Bird Road
Miami, FL 33165

Category: Restaurant > Pizza

Region: Central Dade

Fresco California Bistro

1744 SW 3rd Ave.
Miami, FL 33129

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Downtown/Overtown

Joe's Takeaway

11 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant > Seafood

Region: South Beach

2475 Douglas Rd, Miami; 305-444-5804. Open Monday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Sunday 1:00 to 9:00 p.m. Home-style cooking in a homely restaurant with the easygoing, no-hassles ambiance of home -- that's as good a way as any to describe Don Mamerto. Pull up to the ramshackle building on the fringe of Coral Gables and you'll see a clot of middle-age men relaxing and kibitzing out front, sipping café Cubano. Inside, the restaurant looks like somebody's home given a colorful paint job and boisterous bar, complete with a piano that customers of varying musical abilities are invited to play. The food is simple and hearty and generously portioned; prices are moderate. Appetizers are pretty rustic. Entrées -- fluffy Cuban tamale with creole-spiced seafood stew and bronze-colored chunks of roasted pork with garbanzo beans -- handle that rusticity better. Pudín de guayaba is a filling and very sweet conclusion.

1656 Alton Rd, Miami Beach; 305-672-1861. Open Monday through Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Yes, the café does indeed open two hours before the store, and they do share the same space. No, you can't sneak in to do your grocery shopping early. But fuel up on one of Epi's five coffee blends (including French roast, plus Lavazza decaf, one of the few decaffeinated brews with guts) plus a good croissant or a flaky, sticky almond Danish, and you'll be perky enough to push ahead of the hordes at 10 a.m. From the small but quality selection in the prepared-foods case you can find pints of the town's best fresh-squeezed OJ and grapefruit juice for $2.99, fresh fruit salads, and sandwiches. Ham and cheese on croissant is only $3.25, but the big prime-roast-beef sandwich with slaw and Russian dressing on pumpernickel, $7.95, is worth every cent. You can buy a morning paper to read with breakfast, including the always eye-opening New York Post. Or inspire the rest of your workday with one of the novelty housewares on the shelves surrounding the café, like a pack of napkins reading, "All I Want Is an Umbrella in My Drink."

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