BEST CHAIN RESTAURANT Miami 2004 - Baja Fresh Mexican Grill
230 Miracle Mile
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Readers' Choice: Cheesecake Factory
So-called quick-casual restaurants are popping up all across America. The concept combines fast-food speed and service with higher-quality food, which is supposedly healthier and fresher. Baja Fresh, a Mexican-inspired operation (owned since 2002 by Wendy's), advertises that it has no freezers on its premises. It also has something most other chains don't: food that tastes good. As expected from the name, seafood items are particularly notable. The cabbage-and-salsa-topped Baja fish taco is succulent (the fillets are battered and fried), and the creamy white sauce kicks the flavor up many notches. Baja's charbroiled wild Gulf shrimp taco is just as tasty. Shell out a modest amount of cash for the nicely blackened, fire-roasted cebollitas (green onions), one order of which will spice up four tacos. Complete your creation with some chunky pico de gallo from the salsa bar in back. Then witness your taste buds get happy -- quickly.