BEST FRENCH RESTAURANT IN A STRIP MALL Miami 2004 - Cafe Pastis
Since August 1999, when French native Philippe Jacquet joined with Miami native Scott Price to open this cozy little café, the place has become a neighborhood favorite, with scores of fiercely loyal customers dining here regularly -- strip mall or no strip mall. It's easy to see why. Aside from the friendly ambiance and charming décor (quite an accomplishment for a storefront operation), the food is consistently excellent across the full range of the menu -- from salads and soups to steaks and seafood. Their steamed mussels are justly famous, and if you like authentic French fries, this is the place. (Winner of Best French Fries, 2002.) The open kitchen is so small you'll wonder how it's possible such wonderful fare can be created in such cramped quarters. Answer: The chefs have perfected a culinary pas de deux that keeps them from crashing into each other. That, too, is a pleasure to behold.