BEST OUTDOOR DINING (2005)
1685 Collins Avenue
www.chinagrillmgt.com Most diners hardly notice that the back wall of the Blue Door's outdoor veranda is covered end to end with a collection of wooden tribal masks. How can you not notice such a thing? Easy. Everyone is busy looking outward at the meticulously appointed and eclectically designed garden with quaint tea tables, swinging hammock, Phillippe Starck life-size chessboard, and beyond that, the cool pool. The scene looks so lush and tranquil as to resemble the village in The Prisoner television show, except the people here have more money and appear to be a lot happier. And that's what makes this place so great: premium people-watching, meaning not just the occasional J.Lo or P. Diddy sighting, but all sorts of movers, shakers, and deep-pocketed tourists. Oh, and the food -- the French-tropical menu, composed by Claude Troisgros and orchestrated by chef Stephane Becht, is brashly innovative and smoothly refined, a perfect pairing for the panorama of hip South Beach grandeur.
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