Small Bites

9118 Bird Rd, Westchester; 305-221-0221. Open Tuesday through Thursday noon to 10:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday noon to 11:00 p.m., Sunday noon to 10:00 p.m. Closed Monday. There are bare-bones restaurants and there are no-bones restaurants. Then there's Frankie's. Parking lots have more ambiance than this square, spare room decorated with a worn Formica counter, faded sports posters, and a rattling cooler full of soft drinks. No booze, no seats (except a couple of benches to park butt until your order is ready). Who cares? Frankie's is the best goddamn pizza from which you could hope to dribble tomato sauce on your shirt. It's all in the crust, a round of culinary alchemy that's crisp on the bottom, airy and slightly chewy, and tasting of fresh-baked bread. You could put motor oil on it and it would still be delicious, though it's better with the standard array of toppings, judiciously applied so you can taste what Frankie's pizza is all about.

1744 SW 3rd Ave, Miami; 305-858-0608. Open Monday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., 5:00 to 10:30 p.m.; Friday 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., 5:00 to 11:00 p.m.; Saturday noon to 11:00 p.m. Closed Sunday. You know a restaurant has tapped into those wacky Californians when you can eat Mexican-style chicken eggrolls, caesar salad, herb-marinated and grilled skirt steak, spinach-sausage lasagna, and chocolate soufflé all in the same meal. Throw in a mostly California wine list, affable servers without a shred of Miami's infamous 'tude, and an ambiance so relaxed that half the diners seem to have gone limp, and you've got Fresco California Bistro, a modest (and modestly priced) little eatery a sundried-tomato's throw from Biscayne Boulevard. Even if the food isn't all that special -- more like good home-cooking than high-wire, big-city restaurant fare -- it's such a pleasant place to dine that you can make like a wacky Californian and just kick back and enjoy the show.

11 Washington Ave, Miami Beach; 305-673-4611. Open mid-October through mid-May, Sunday through Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Love Joe's stone crabs but aren't in love with two-hour waits to dine amid hordes of crustacean-rutting tourists in a warehouse-size room that vibrates with the decibel levels of an Ozzy Osbourne concert? Take it away. Joe's next-door to-go eatery offers the same exquisitely fresh (and breathtakingly expensive) stone crab claws as its full-service older brother, along with a few other dishes you won't find on Big Joe's menu -- tasty wild mushroom lasagna, fresh but bland ceviche, lobster Reuben with dessert-sweet sauce. Skip the supermarket-quality barbecued chicken and sloppy, gloppy chopped salad, but don't miss the crusty hash browns, crispy-creamy fried oysters, and tangy key-lime pie. If you want the authentic Joe's restaurant experience, invite all your neighbors over and wait two hours to eat.

Location Info

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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

Cacao

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

13712 SW 84th St, South Miami-Dade; 305-382-6200. 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 noon to 10:00 p.m. Since 1980 Mike's has been proving that you can get good pizza in Kendall. The New York-style pie is excellent with fresh garlic, tomatoes, and onions. Mike's has traditional toppings such as pepperoni and Italian sausage, but for variety try the Special White Pizza with ricotta cheese, basil, garlic, and mozzarella. The pasta at this place is also tasty. Choices range from ziti to fettuccine covered in anything from marinara to mushroom sauce to mussels marinara. The gnocchi is some of the best in Kendall. Ask for a combination of Alfredo and meat sauce for a rich pink cream. Cannoli, tiramisu, or profiteroles will be calling when you're finished mopping the sauce with Mike's ultra-garlicky rolls.

5920 S Dixie Hwy, South Miami; 305-668-8205. Open Sunday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to midnight. It's a measure of how good the food is at this South Miami Thai eatery that the bleating New Age CD that plays over and over until you want to rip somebody's face off doesn't send patrons screaming from the room with their hair in flames. Aural indignities aside, Origin is a lovely place, albeit next to a tittie bar -- ahem, gentlemen's club -- on perpetually traffic-clogged U.S. 1. Chef-owner Joe Sinevang has a precise and refined touch in the kitchen, turning out dishes like chunks of succulent scallop in an ethereal custard aromatic of Thai basil, kaffir lime, and lemongrass; brittle-skinned whole fried snapper with ginger and garlic-infused tamarind sauce; and beignet-like Thai doughnuts that dissolve in your mouth like puffs of sweetened air. Just bring earplugs.

8888 SW 136th St (The Falls shopping center), South Miami-Dade; 305-234-2338. Open Monday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to midnight. Yeah, it's in a shopping mall. Yeah, it's a chain. Yeah, it does the kind of business that would make your average big-city McBurger franchise go vegetarian with envy (up to 2000 covers on a typical weekend evening). Thing is, the food at this always jam-packed restaurant is pretty damn good, and the service -- despite the constant crush and hammer and din -- is efficient and relentlessly cheery. Starters like salt-and-pepper fried calamari, potstickers, and braised spareribs don't break any new ground but are robustly flavorful and consistently well done. Same goes for chili-fired Szechuan scallops, wok-seared lamb, and quite creditable Cantonese roasted duck. Oh, yeah.

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