Sometimes you just need to eat raw fish and drink beer. It's not a fancy or a pretentious thing. And it need not be expensive. It just needs to happen.Thank god for this little counter. For $10.95, the congenial chef, Michio, will fix you up with a tray of the old standards (octopus, salmon, tuna, shrimp, etc.). Another three bucks… More >>
In 1997, two new things came to South Miami: a great restaurant (Two Chefs) and Danish people (Jan Jorgensen and Soren Bredahl (the restaurant's chef/owners). Basic, comfort-style New American cuisine, albeit with European touches and considerable flair, established the restaurant as a South Miami destination for nearby locals and far-away food aficionados. After some years, Bredahl returned to Denmark, but… More >>
Miami's food critics have long neglected this healthful gem. You'd barely notice it, tucked in the rear of a cluttered health food store. Load up on soups, Jamaican patties, and pies prepared fresh by Carlos Schichi, the delightful Japanese-Brazilian chef. The wild-haired Schichi was on track to become a classical musician in Brazil but got struck by the good-food bug.… More >>
From the outside, the place resembles an old Masonic lodge. Although some folks consider Steak & Ale a chain restaurant, this one is a relic. Let's call it the "dinosaur of chain restaurants," since there are not many left. The interior ambiance is elegant and romantic, in a late-Seventies sort of way: dark, with candles burning on every table throughout… More >>
Grass is a veritable Garden of Eatin'. The carpet is a lush lawn. The walls are covered in climbing vines. There is bamboo, bonsai, all manner of bushes, trees, and plants, as well as a beautiful bar, behind which is a wall of illuminated apothecary jars flush with vivid flora. A thatched, tiki-style roof covers most of the tables; stars… More >>
Do not eat the single and singular meatball-size sphere of pan d'bono that gets plunked upon your bread plate at OLA. Oh no. Made with yuca flour, mozzarella cheese, sugar, and milk, this ungodly delicious little ball will cause you to crane your neck to seek the waiter who traipses through the dining room with a basket of it fresh… More >>
Dining alone is one of life's underrated pleasures. Eat quickly; eat slowly. Gawk at other diners; bring a book. Have a glass of wine; have six. Every choice is sweetly your own, including the most important: Which restaurant? Blue Sea works on all sorts of levels. First, the food, an innovative array of sparkling fresh sushi presented with artistic flair… More >>
If great bread is the staff of life, all of us here in South Florida are living on borrowed time, eating mushy, pallid, tasteless loaves made from ultrarefined flour that no self-respecting Parisian or Italian would use for a doorstop. But thankfully, for those special occasions, we have La Provence, where you can get a proper baguette ($2) or crusty… More >>
No flour, butter, or chocolate chips here. The main ingredients are walnuts, egg whites, and rich, deep red cocoa powder. The result is a bargain for $3.50: a giant, dark brown confection that's one inch thick and four inches in diameter. They are chunky, with a crisp exterior and a moist, gooey center. Flawless.… More >>
These buttery, coconut-infused treats are nearly the size of hockey pucks. And they might be as heavy. Browned to perfection on the crisp outside, melt-in-your-mouth tender within, and dense with some sort of coconut-flavored lava, the rich mega-morsels sell for $1.85 each — dirt-cheap considering they are a meal in themselves. Make sure you have a glass of cold water… More >>
The sweet smell of cakes a-bakin' tickles your nose way before you step into Mary Ann Bakery, and you'd have to be subhuman to resist the urge to walk into this unassuming little spot tucked away on 163rd Street. The front window is filled with birthday and bridal cakes, and although they look (and probably are) delicious, the real gems… More >>
The homemade flavors speak for themselves: Sassy Strawberry, Perfect Pistachio, Jack Daniel's Maple Walnut, Cappuccino Chip, Get Down Boogie-Oogie Cookie. The tropical sorbets hold their own too: Tamarindo, Indian Mango, Pear, Guanabana, Pink Grapefruit. Even though the factory has a window that lets spectators watch the ice cream being made, no one has figured out how they get so much… More >>
We know gelato is just a fancy-schmancy Italian word for ice cream. But the frozen goodness at Roma needs — no, requires — a term of its own. The stuff is smooth, rich, and flavorful, bordering on manna from the Arctic Circle. It's a tad expensive (one scoop costs $4, two scoops $5, three scoops $6), but it's an acceptable… More >>
A magical nanny once said, "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down," but if she were our wet nurse, we'd have to ask what we could eat a spoonful of to make our weight go down. Or maybe we'd inquire about a dessert that's tasty without wreaking havoc on our teeth and vital organs — because that's what… More >>
Think of flan as the more feminine version of crème brûlée. Whereas crème brûlée is dense and custardy, flan is light and eggy. Whereas crème brûlée sports a thick, brittle crust of caramelized sugar, flan sits in a shimmering, golden pool of liquid caramel. And when you think of flan, think of Miami's only tapas bar in a gas station,… More >>
Remember that trip to Buenos Aires? There was supposed to be tango dancing until dawn and a smoky-eyed lover. Instead you tripped over your own feet and got fat eating alfajores. Now that you're back in Miami, the porteños are gone, but there are still alfajores. Buenos Aires Bakery offers three kinds of the cookie and dulce de leche sandwich… More >>
Deep in the heart of darkest Aventura, the intrepid explorer can find a treasure so sublime that many people have ... gasp ... thrown caution to the wind to seek it. Yes, it always has to do with cocoa. Krön Chocolatier has long been the favorite of the area's high-end chocolate lovers. The place not only sells your typical treats… More >>
As much as we love the simple Tuscan cuisine on Cioppino's menu, we never seem able to finish our risotto scampi or signature mare e fetunta. Why? Because we gorged ourselves on the restaurant's savory bread basket, which brims with ciabatta and grissini flown in from Italy. It's even harder to stop picking at the Parmesan and rosemary lavash, baked… More >>
Abraham's Bakery has an oversize snack cake that puts the d in decadent. Called a Yodek, it's rather like a Ho Ho that's bigger than your head. For $8.50, you get one of these meatloaf-size logs of supermoist chocolate wonderfulness. Stare in wonder at the thick squirt of sweet white buttercream dancing down the center of the cake from end… More >>
Emeril Lagasse actually hails from Fall River, Massachusetts, but he's an honorary Southerner because of his heavy ties to New Orleans, where he's been opening restaurants since 1990. And nobody makes a good homemade pie better than a Southerner. So check out the selection at his eponymous place at the St. Moritz Hotel in Miami Beach, where desserts go for… More >>
"Thinking of Miami, the first thing that comes to mind is summer/beach and of course a great body figure." So says the website of this family-run Middle Eastern café, and if your priority is indeed a great figure, the signature Lemon Fizz (made with oranges, bananas, pineapples, mangos, apples, strawberries, other seasonal berries ... everything except lemons) is the nothing-but-fruit… More >>
Fries come fat, skinny, lightly colored, darkly colored, curlicued, shoestringed, Texas-cut, crinkle-cut, spiced, spicy, and salted to vastly varying degrees. So in the past, our pick for finest might have been influenced by a personal bias toward one style or another. But when Bourbon Steak arrived in 2007 at Turnberry Isle with acclaimed West Coast chef Michael Mina's signature duck-fat… More >>
Grease, library paste, and pencil erasers. Yum! Well, these seem to be the ingredients in most conch fritters around here. But not at this cute little eatery that channels the funky Keys next door to haughty Coral Gables. The golf-ball-size beauties (costing eight bucks for six) boast remarkably light interiors and crisp, greaseless, fetchingly bronze exteriors. Subtly flavored with scallions… More >>
"I've been doing this a long time," Julien Cesar says about frying chicken. "Since 1991." For its first 16 years, this eatery, which specializes in Haitian-style seafood dishes, was situated at NE 72nd Street and Biscayne Boulevard. Near the end of 2007, Cesar moved to nicer digs in North Miami. "The fried chicken is the same as it's always been,"… More >>
It's one of the great culinary success stories of our time — how the useless appendages of a bird about as capable of flying as an anvil became this incredibly popular thing to eat. Chicken wings are mostly skin, bone, and gristle, but their little meat is tender and succulent. They fry up nicely and take well to virtually any… More >>
Only the French could think of deep-frying meat and béchamel and giving it a cute little name like croquette. Only the Cubans, however, could make it a mainstay of every gas station and coffee shop in a town of two million people.
Sadly the Miami croqueta is generally paltry: stale, artery-clogging torpedoes comprising boiled ham or dry chicken.
Thankfully Gilbert's Bakery, which… More >>
This restaurant is owned by superstar rap artist Rick Ross, and he don't play. He hired a team of graduates of Miami's Johnson & Wales School of Culinary Arts to create some of the best fried food platters in town. The hot chicken wings are to die for, but you gotta try the Lil Wayne fish and chips ($7.49). Named… More >>
There's something about crêpes that's unspeakably chic, like watching a Godard movie in some funky little art house in the Fifth Arrondissement while sipping a rough red wine and chain-smoking Gauloises. Well, a shopping mall on Key Biscayne is a long way from Paris, but the crêpes at Crêpe Lounge are still plenty chic. These little discs of milk, flour,… More >>
Let's say that for some reason you get the munchies while you're cruising through Little Haiti. You need a place to chill and enjoy some authentic home-cooked Jamaican vegan food. Garden Eatin is a hidden gem. Pull into the parking lot of this establishment behind a convenience store, and prepare to get high on not only the food but also… More >>
It takes practice to achieve perfection, particularly with regard to gnocchi. It's an easy recipe — usually just potatoes, eggs, water, and flour. But making it is somehow quite difficult. Add too much water and you need more flour; add too much flour and you get a dumpy mess.
Luckily for gnocchi lovers, George Tavares has been practicing his craft for… More >>
One might feel intimidated upon inspecting the overwhelming, 12-page bilingual menu at this family-operated Vietnamese restaurant. But fear not. Little Saigon has the best pho you'll ever wave a chopstick at. Pho (pronounced fuh) is a traditional Vietnamese rice noodle soup that is often served in a clear beef broth and garnished with bean sprouts, scallions, and fresh herbs such… More >>
The history of the won ton dates to ancient Chinese times, and since then, people have had to choose their soup: egg drop or won ton? Well, maybe it hasn't been that long — but it is a problem. Do you order the rich, thick egg drop or the savory won ton? If you go to Chef Chen's, you won't… More >>
Although you won't find lou mei — a dish made from animals' internal organs and entrails — at China Steak House, the eatery could hold its own in the Guangdong Province of Southern China. But the restaurant is located just a few blocks east of the NW 122nd Street exit off the Palmetto Expressway, tucked between a Rent-A-Center and Solid… More >>
All right, we all know Miami isn't renowned for high-quality Chinese food. Sometimes when you order in, the most you can hope for is a clearly understandable English speaker on the other line and an edible lukewarm meal when the delivery man eventually arrives. But hey, there's Lotus House. The Kendall strip-mall staple never disappoints. The honey chicken is par… More >>
Like your fish fresh off the boat? Get it, quite literally, at Katana Restaurant on Normandy Isle. Walk through the glass front door, lit red with neon lights, and take a seat at the river.
Yes, the river. Instead of what Western tourists in Japan call a sushi-go-round, where sashimi and rolls ride a conveyor belt that winds by every seat… More >>
Host: Welcome to The Dating Game. Tonight Sally will choose her dream match from among our three charming and eager contestants. Go ahead, Sally, ask your first question.
Sally: Number one, if you were a sandwich, what type would you be?
Number one: A falafel.
Sally: And why is that?
Number one: It's ethnic and hot, just like me, baby.
Sally: Oh great. Number two,… More >>
This Middle Eastern restaurant in Kendall is not a mirage. It was once a gas station next to the railroad tracks but has been transformed into an outdoor café that serves as an oasis for locals. There is live music almost every night and a vast assortment of ice-cold Middle Eastern beers. The large-screen TV sets are all tuned to… More >>
If there is one thing for which we have to thank the French, it's the croissant. Every breakfast aficionado knows the flaky pastry is the étoile de petit déjeuner. If you commute around downtown, you have probably missed Croissant D'or, which is nestled among a multitude of other shops. At first glance, the place seems like a normal, everyday bakery… More >>
Scene: A distraught man is sitting in a psychiatrist's office.
Doctor: Sometimes a hot dog is just a hot dog.
Patient: No, you don't understand. It isn't just that this hot dog is Colombian-style, which means fatter and juicier than those little wieners they hand out at those cruddy chains. And it isn't that La Perrada's dogs are addictive, nestled in those… More >>
Named for legendary Dolphins running back Larry Csonka, the Zonker transforms the average hoagie into a monumental wrecking ball of salami, ham, Provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, oil, and mayo jammed into a sub roll. And for $3.89, it's too good a delicacy to pass up. So go ahead and score one inside Football Sandwich Shops, a storied eatery located… More >>
Last night some reckless gentlemen by the names of Johnny Walker, Jim Beam, and Jack Daniel took a crowbar to your liver and beat the bejesus out of your gastrointestinal tract. Or at least that's how you feel this morning. Like a steaming pile of turd smacked you in the face. Like a small, filthy animal curled up and died… More >>
Brazilian historians including Luis da Camara Cascudo trace feijoada's origins to stews from southern European countries such as France, Spain, Italy, and, of course, Portugal. Unofficial theories credit African slaves on Brazilian colonial farms for creating the national dish; after all, the meaty broth is prepared with the cheapest ingredients. Feijoada is a smorgasbord of black turtle beans, chorizo, salted… More >>
Bigoli is a pasta from the Veneto region. Shaped like thick spaghetti and coarsely textured, it is made by pushing dough through an instrument called a bigolaro. The Sicilian paccheri looks like a thick snippet of garden hose and in the early 1600s was used to smuggle banned garlic cloves from Italy into Austria. At the elegant La Marea in… More >>
On a busy strip off 441 in Miami Gardens sits a strip mall devoted to all things Caribbean. While trying to hustle for a hard-to-come-by parking space in this tiny lot, you barely notice the plain-Jane storefront located in the middle of the complex. Patty Place is a walk-through, 300-square-foot take-out joint where you can find some of the best… More >>
Okay, there's no air conditioning, and random dancehall concert posters adorn the walls. But LC's Roti is the spot for the softest, freshest, and yummiest roti in North Dade. Located in a Caribbean strip mall off Stage Road 441 in Miami Gardens (see Best Jamaican Patty), the place regularly boasts a line come dinnertime. From homemade chickpeas and potatoes to… More >>
The treatment an American customer will receive in a typical Trinidadian restaurant in Miami is quite similar to that on the island. Trinis don't make a fuss over strangers. The oil-rich island doesn't need your tourist money, and the natives aren't falling all over themselves to lick your toenails. You'll notice that vibe at Caribbean Delite. It's friendly indifference. Nobody's… More >>
When it comes to café cubano, it's all speed — getting the black life-giving nectar from can to cup to belly fast enough to fuel you through that booooring meeting. Under the Metromover, across from the Miami-Dade County Courthouse, and steps from Miami Art Museum, Caciques Corner is situated to please.
The café, which is shaded by blue awnings, has three… More >>
There's no Brie, quail eggs, or diced jalapeños baked into the dough of the bagels at this Kendall joint. Nor is there any caviar-infused shmear or exotic fruit toppings shipped from some remote village in the heart of the Amazon. That's because The Bagel Express, a non-descript delicatessen squeezed into a small, suburban strip mall, simply makes great bagels. There's… More >>
You don't have to be a real estate mogul or a reality TV star to get everything you desire in a cocktail. Nor is notoriety or a vicious comb-over a prerequisite. You can walk into Neomi's Grill at the chic Trump International Beach Resort and order a Trumptini, and the bartender will serve you a buzz, a jolt of energy,… More >>
Goldie's easily has the best conch salad in South Florida. It's the way they prepare it. They take diced raw conch, combine it with sweet and hot peppers, onions, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, and freshly squeezed juices from limes, lemons, and oranges. A guy cuts it all up while he stands outside at a table, and no matter how many… More >>
"The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese," wrote author G.K. Chesterton. If only one of our literary laureates had visited Laurenzo's market, no doubt they'd have been inspired to describe curd and whey in verse. They might have boldly strutted through the door, pen in hand — which would be easy because the place is open… More >>
That "fresh" mozzarella you buy at Publix or gourmet markets is unquestionably worlds better than the standard rubbery, flavor-free stuff. But it's nothing compared to the cheese made by Vito Volpe, from Puglia (Italy's muzz capital), an importer of Italian artisan products who began selling his own totally homemade — and made fresh daily — mozzarella when he moved to… More >>
It's as American as apple pie,
Find it at picnics, in your fridge, and probably contributing to the fat in your thigh.
Because the fact of the matter is, whether you're poor or rich,
Almost everyone can afford a can of tuna fish.
You can spread it on a Ritz,
Or hide it between slices of bread if you wish.
It's also good on top of… More >>
Downtown Miami might not be the number one place for healthful vegetarian eating, but newly opened Fresh Café is a glimmer of hope. Upon entering this cute, quaint modernly designed dine-in chomp-shop, one can't help but admire the grand menu selections, especially the elaborate vegetarian wraps. There's the Mediterranean vegetarian, which is a white wheat wrap stuffed with homemade hummus,… More >>
Many folks visit this Calle Ocho landmark for its fresh produce and flowers, or for the frothy mango, guanabana, and mamey batidos that are the open-air market's specialty. But the place also serves lunch daily — heaping out huge portions at a pocket-friendly $4 a pop. The only catch is that the menu is limited to one item. Don't worry… More >>
Ana Rabel and Laura Alfonso, proprietors of this health-oriented breakfast and lunch spot in Coral Gables, are a mother and daughter team. That's uncommon in the restaurant world, and so is their dedication to serving organic fruits and vegetables in eco-friendly containers. Green Gables Café is mostly a take-out/delivery joint (open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays only), but… More >>
Let's face it: Whole Foods is a hassle. It's always crowded, the aisles are tiny, and the atmosphere is more annoyance than ommmm. Enter Delicious Organics. It's a virtual store — locally owned by Jack and Annie Malka — that delivers produce and healthful groceries right to your home or office. There are 4,000 items available — from a giant,… More >>
In the subtropics, most of the places called farmers' markets sell tchotchkes to tourists. But this new neighborhood-generated venture peddles the real thing: fresh produce and good, edible regional products. Although vendors vary somewhat, roughly 20 show up each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The selection has been impressive enough to lure shoppers such as chefs Michael Schwartz… More >>
Long ago, nutritionists ruined breakfast by telling us muffins have as much fat as double cheeseburgers. So head to Taste Bakery Café, where they don't steal any muff-a-licious joy by posting diet information. All you need to know is that their muffins are as big as two fists and baked daily. Selling for $2.89, varieties include pistachio, carrot-raisin, banana-nut, orange-cranberry,… More >>
Bay Harbor Fine Foods has been spruced up just in time to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Half a century of catering to a fussy, upscale clientele is just the right sort of experience for a gourmet market. That's plenty of time to fine-tune a selection of artisanal cheeses and fine chocolates from Europe, to make sure the array of imported… More >>
They spell it cebiche at this Japanese-Pan Latin newcomer. And the renditions served here are distinctive in other ways as well. For one thing, they're prettier than others — the seafoods steeped in flavor without being seeped in a puddle of lime juice and buried in cilantro and red onions. The garnishes and marinades are more creative than most: Lobster… More >>
There is no counter with rickety stools nor any apron-clad dude shucking clams. Kobe Club, Jeffrey Chodorow's Wagyu steak house adjacent to China Grill, is too swank for that. The intimate 52-seat room is darkly, richly swathed in rich woods, leather, and stone; 2,000 swords dangle from the ceiling. And the raw bar is only a menu category. Stone crabs,… More >>
It is a fillet of snapper. Not just any snapper, but a shiny, pristine snapper. The first step is to snatch it from local waters and give it a brief respite on a bed of crushed ice in a display case at Bahamas Fish Market. Next, the fish is transferred from ice to kitchen, lightly floured, crisply fried, and plunked… More >>
The caesar salad at Prime One Twelve is bigger than life itself. Or maybe not. Would you believe bigger than a breadbox? How about bigger than any other caesar salad in Miami? And better, too, not because of any trendy twists such as cotton candy croutons (the ones here are born of buttery brioche) or a sprinkling of fennel dust… More >>
On Fridays and Saturdays, a dirt parking lot behind a South Miami church comes alive with folks in search of Levi Kelly's succulent ribs. For $8 he'll give you a quarter rack of the crispiest, slow-roasted pork ribs anyone's ever tasted. If you like, he'll lay them on top of two pieces of white bread and slather them with delicious… More >>
You won't need a fork; your hand in claw formation will do just fine. And it's a good idea to bring a partner to this Biscayne corridor hotspot, because who else will tell you that you have a trail of amazingly spicy and perfect salsa verde sprinting down your chin? Table manners aside, the only way to enjoy Ver Daddy's… More >>
Empanadas can be such a good thing. What could be better than an easy-to-carry pouch full of spiced meat? Sadly, more often then not, they are little pockets of disappointment: ancient, dry things that sit under heat lamps in gas stations. In the old-old country (Spain, not Cuba), they were heavenly. The tradition continues at this market, which churns out… More >>
Sometimes you have to venture into the hood to find true treasures in the Magic City. Mark Los Tres Amigos on your map. Located across the street from the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's Office, in the heart of Allapattah's produce warehouse district, this authentic Mexican restaurant has been serving up scrumptious food for more than 20 years. Just look for the… More >>
Got milk? They didn't have much of it in the Keys prior to the railroad opening in 1912, so when Gail Borden created sweetened condensed milk in 1859, the isolated residents rejoiced — they could finally invent key lime pie! They didn't even need to bake the pies, for the acidity of the limes curdled the condensed milk and egg… More >>
Sometimes it's annoying to pay for something you could easily make yourself. But Mari-Nalli takes a bit of the edge off. At this place, you can get steak, chicken, vegetarian, and shrimp quesadillas. They cost between $3.25 and $4.60. There are also salads for $6.95. Order yourself a meal and then try some of the microbrewed beer. You'll forget you… More >>
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night hankering for a good Cuban sandwich, one with tender ham and pork, melted Swiss cheese, crisp dill pickles, tangy mustard, and crunchy-soft Cuban bread? It's a horrible dilemma for two reasons: First, odds are you don't have the grill and fixings to make one. And second, most Cuban restaurants… More >>
Girl: The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.
Girl: Octopus in vinaigrette never leaves one with regret.
Girl: I eat chorizo in apple sidra and pork sausage frita whenever I read the Bhagavidad Gita with Rita.
Professor: Let's take it from the top.
Girl: Xixón Café serves some two dozen tapas all day, on Coral Way, till 8 p.m. Monday… More >>
When it comes to Latin cafeterias, Miami takes a back seat to no American city. Heck, we probably have more of them than New York has McDonald's restaurants. And we should be thankful for this, especially for the gems of the genre such as El Nuevo Siglo Supermarket in Little Havana. The brightly illuminated, family-owned grocery store contains all the… More >>
Nestled in the cradle of Opa-locka, Ida's Restaurant might be the only joint in the nation to serve Buffalo turkey wings and Buffalo turkey nuggets. "What Hooters done to chicken, we done to turkey," says Steve Barrett, the restaurant's general manager. His wife, a local cop, is the owner. Ida's offers a generous array of seductively rich Southern cakes and… More >>
Early each morning, when most of us are still asleep, the crew of Joanna's Marketplace is in the kitchen, slicing, dicing, grilling, poaching, broiling, and sautéing all manner of fresh comestibles. Little bits of smoked ham hocks are being put aside for split-pea soup; tomatoes are simmering into a bisque — two different soups are offered each day in three… More >>
Gentrification stinks. Prices rise and longtime residents get pushed out. But let's look on the bright side of the hipsters' and artists' presence in Wynwood. Cookies! Big, yummy cookies! Three dollars will buy a chocolate chip, Reese's peanut butter cup, or vanilla macadamia nut cookie at the cozy and creative Lost & Found Saloon on NW 36th Street. Served warm… More >>
"Me want cookie!"
"Okayyy," says the big yellow bird standing in front of the huge glass case. "They have chocolate linzers, vanilla cookies with vanilla cream in the middle and white chocolate on top, black-and-white sandwich cookies draped in white and dark chocolates, lace cookies that will melt in your mouth ..."
"Me want cookie!"
"All right," mumbles the grumpy green trash-can-dweller, breathing… More >>
Monday: "You don't love me anymore!" he says to his wife with a fury, between bites of North One 10's signature pan-seared crabcake with whole-grain mustard aioli and apple-calabaza salad ($16).
"I haven't loved you for a long time," she replies matter-of-factly, before commenting on the earthy notes of her 2006 Erath Pinot Noir ($46), savvily selected by general manager Dale… More >>
Garcia's Seafood Grille is on the waterfront in a very On the Waterfront way. The family-owned venture isn't glitzy, pretentious, or expensive (sandwich with a side is $8, dinner with two sides $12 to $14). The outdoor terrace view is not of yachts and million-dollar marinas, but of weather-beaten docks and warehouses, of old freighters heaped with used bounty. There… More >>
During those uncommon evenings when there's a winter bite in the air, dining outdoors at Con Tutto can still feel like summer. The secret is to nab one of the outdoor tables closest to the grill, which is ensconced in a blazing brick furnace. As traditional parrillada components sizzle on the parrilla (flank and skirt steaks, sweetbreads, sausages, kidneys, and… More >>
"Labor of love" is a cliché, but it's an accurate description of this new neighborhood eatery, owned by a charming May/December married couple: Callie Postel, who runs the front of the house, and her husband Claude (who had several restaurants in Quebec before relocating to Miami), who helms the kitchen, cooking up evocative French comfort food (plus a few Italian… More >>
Phyllis Richman abhors restaurants that provide "service that isn't really a service, such as by pouring your water every time you take a sip." Robert Sietsema bemoans "the frequent difficulty of getting the check," while Gael Greene's main gripe concerns waiters asking, "Are you still picking at that?" Restaurant critics and diners frequently express all kinds of beefs regarding service,… More >>
A big nugget of Parmigiano-Reggiano, spicy slices of fried zucchini, bruschetta, Italian bread, focaccia crisps. Flutes of Prosecco. The menu (voluminous, plus about 30 verbally recited specials). A bowl of pasta e fagioli and a trio of breaded, garlicky shrimp, each the size of a lobster. Endive salad — a palate-cleanser of sorts. A magnum of Barolo. Pillows of porcini… More >>
Though "local" is all the rage now, there's still something to be said for food un-injected with high-fructose corn syrup, a.k.a. "having undergone little or no processing and containing no chemical additives," a.k.a., "natural." There's also a lot to be said for any natural-foods restaurant that features meat in addition to requisite hippie staples such as quinoa and tofu, and… More >>
Vinnie Oreganata is a man of habit, and none as regular as his Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday jaunts to Primo Pizza for dinner. When people ask Vinnie why not Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, he replies, "That would be crazy." Vinnie is a little displaced — you can take the kid out of Brooklyn and so forth. Primo, located on… More >>
Ten reasons why Maison d'Azur is the catch of the year:
1. Whelks and periwinkles, which are so unique in these parts they really should count as two reasons. The former are conchlike in texture, the "winkles" teeny and sweet.
2. It is located in the Anglers Resort, which in the Thirties was one of South Beach's first Mediterranean-revival hotels and today… More >>
Maine lobster, spice-poached prawns, stone crabs, East and West Coast oysters, littleneck clams, and complete caviar service. That's the raw bar. Lobster, crab, foie gras, and American Kobe beef compose some of the appetizers — each luxe item offered three ways. Such as lobster-bacon-and-shiso-wrapped fritters with yuzu crème fraîche, or butter-poached lobster with chanterelles and corn pudding crêpe, or lobster… More >>
For reasons that elude all logic, some foods just taste better when someone else makes them. Tea sandwiches are definitely in that category, possibly because the whole idea of afternoon tea should be supremely relaxed indulgence, not something one has to work for. Who has the patience to cut off all that crust? Frances Brown, chef/owner of this cheery establishment… More >>
Miami's hip-hop fans are quick to identify our city as part of the "Dirty South." Musically, perhaps there's an argument to be made. But when it comes to cuisine, Miami may as well be North Dakota. It's practically impossible to find a decent soul food joint in these parts. We're talking real soul food — not one of those so-called… More >>
There is the burrito of soft, warm tortilla stuffed with succulent shreds of cumin-spiced, chipotle-marinated barbacoa beef. The burrito bursting with slowly simmered pork carnitas. The burrito caressing chunks of chipotle-marinated chicken. Fact is, the burritos here make those you get at other Mexican chains about as alluring as a yapping Chihuahua. The streamlined menu ("2 things. Thousands of ways"),… More >>
This is a lifetime achievement award one can win only once. The first five inductees were Norman Van Aken, Mark Militello, Allen Susser, Pascal Oudin, and Philippe Ruiz. This year's entries into our hallowed hall of fame are two toques who have been wowing Miami diners for more than a decade and who are, at the moment, presiding over the… More >>
So you're tired of all those Little Havana joints where the tourists go? Try Molina's, with branches in West Dade and Hialeah — the real Cuban Miami. This place feels like old Havana with a touch of Miami cool. The day we were there recently, nobody — including the waitress — spoke English. It was ungodly clean and perfect. The… More >>
Short of having a Haitian grandmère up to her apron strings in pigs' feet at home, you aren't likely to find better-tasting and less-expensive Haitian comfort food than this. The griot (fried pork) is tender and the stewed goat heavenly. The menu is short and sweet, so just pick the type of meat or fish you want (you can also… More >>
So Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Shilpa Shetty, and Ravi Shankar Jr. are marooned on a desert island. No wait, sorry — they are in Coral Gables, and the three of them walk into the new Mint Leaf restaurant. After being seated and starting off with freshly squeezed fruit juices and a basket of traditional tandoor-baked breads, the prime minister taps… More >>
Hialeah has a small but bustling Nicaraguan community that finds the comforts of its homeland at Rincón Nica, a homey restaurant just minutes away from the Palmetto Expressway's NW 103rd Street exit. The place is not overly decorated with Nicaraguan artifacts and knickknacks, like other Nica eateries throughout Miami-Dade, except for the oil painting of national poet Rubén Darío that… More >>
Argentine steaks are revered not because of how they're cooked, but because the meat is incredible. The cattle roam the fertile pastures of the pampas and are never forced to exert themselves (because exercise makes the meat tougher). They are carted around the country in train cars. This special treatment produces beef that melts when it hits your tongue and… More >>
For more than nine years, Aziza Yuself has made Varanda's a place where Brazilians can savor authentic cuisine. That's why the low-key eatery draws so many of the Brazilian expatriates residing in North Beach, who can watch Brazilian television and have long conversations in Portuguese while dining on exceptionally good food, especially the muqueca de peixe, fish perfectly simmered in… More >>
It would be wrong to say Portuguese cuisine rests solely on its treatment of salt cod, or bacalhau, but it's hard not to admire the culinary alchemy that transforms something resembling salted drywall into one of the tastiest things you can put in your mouth. Which is one reason it's hard not to admire Coimbra, where a clientele ranging from… More >>
Ten Reasons why Delicias is better than the rest:
10. Quaint, low-key tearoom setting.
9. Spanish-style breakfasts are served, as well as lunch, dinner, and chocolate con churros for merienda (afternoon snack).
8. Dining room leads to Delicias's Spanish import market (both opened in 1997 and seem to expand every few years), which sells thousands of items such as hams, cheeses, sausages, wines,… More >>
Bistros are like antiques: They are supposed to be old. That's why even new ones often look as though they've been around for years. It's easy to find aged bistros in Paris, not so easy in South Florida. Le Bouchon du Grove has been sating patrons with its rustic French fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner since 1994 — which… More >>
Did you know jaja is an Indonesian word for "fishing net," but jaja jaja indicates an AC electrical outlet? Didn't think so. Indonesia isn't the world's highest-profile country, nor is its cuisine globally embraced like that of China, Italy, or Mexico. So it isn't surprising that Indomania hasn't stirred a mania among the masses. The location on 26th Street off… More >>
When the Chinese chain P.F. Chang's, a frozen meal delivery service, and a complex computer program all use the word bistro to describe themselves, you know just how far the word has strayed from its origins, on virtually every urban street corner in France. Bistros are supposed to be everyday eateries affordable enough that neighborhood regulars can go every day… More >>
Opera sung to the tune of "Maria," from West Side Story:
Fat Man One:
We line up to get into Ragazzi,
But once we are inside
Hospitality and pride
Fat Man Two:
No glitz here and no paparazzi,
It's mostly local folk
Who don't like to go broke
Pasta e fagioli and salad Caprese
(Whisper:) Thin-crust pizza and veal Bolognese
We'll never stop eating their meatballs,
Fat… More >>
If you're taking a health-conscious person to Escopazzo, by all means trumpet the rustic 90-seat restaurant's use of local, all-organic fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Definitely mention the beef is grass-fed as well as hormone-and-antibiotic-free, and point out raw selections on the menu such as golden flaxseed pappardelle with mushrooms and pine nut "Parmigiano." Order a bottle of organic wine.
But… More >>
Chinese food is probably one of the most amateur-attempted cuisines around; we've all tasted some variation of a beef Szechuan gone wrong. In addition to all of those wokky catastrophes you can create on your own, there are more take-out joints in town than bottles of soy sauce in Publix. Makes you wonder: Could that rumor about there not being… More >>
Adventures in high-ticket parking and sunburned tourists are just a part of a trip to South Beach. Steps from the din of vacationers is an oasis of amazing Thai cuisine. Once you've removed your shoes and are comfortably perched at a low table inside Thai House, the aromas of curries and peanutty sauces just whisper that what you're preparing to… More >>
The Noodle Shop is a restaurant within a restaurant, located in the foyer leading to O Asian Grill. Its small but exceptional menu of quick-to-prepare Asian favorites gives shoppers and bar hoppers a much-needed carb recharge in the middle of their activities. Sit at the counter and watch the chef prepare your meal — much like at a sushi bar.… More >>
A makimono roll of scallop, cucumber, and salt-cured plum capped with tobiko fish roe served with ume plum paste pooled in white truffle oil. A box-style roll with squares of pressed sushi rice dotted with pickled vegetables and colorfully covered in flattened fuchsia-hued gomoko flower, green minty shiso leaf, and a thin, opaque sheath of kombu (seaweed). Berkshire pork, slices… More >>
At the crossroads of Asia and Africa, Ethiopia took the best of what the old spice routes from the East had to offer and applied it to the local foodstuffs. The result was a hearty array of meats, legumes, and vegetables suffused with complex but delicate flavorings. And the unique injera bread doubles as a utensil, making dinner as fun… More >>
Have you been looking for a fresh, fast Persian for lunch? Well, you'll have to provide your own exotic date here, but if you're craving delicious food at attractive prices, Rice House of Kabob is a much shorter hop than a nonstop flight to Tehran. This unassuming little chain dishes out assorted Persian favorites in a sparse, relaxed atmosphere. Kebabs… More >>
Hy vong in Vietnamese means "hope," which pretty much sums up the emotional state of the nightly crowd that lingers outside this 36-seat hole-in-the-wall in the heart of Calle Ocho.
"We're running on Cuban time tonight," says Kathy Manning, co-owner of Hy Vong, who placates the hungry mob with fistfuls of imported beer including China's Tsing Tao ($3.50), Belgium's Kriek Framboise… More >>
Admit it: When you first heard about B.E.D.'s concept of high-end dining on oversize mattresses, you figured it would last about as long as the first shipment of sheets. That was more than 10 years ago. Yet after a recent resprucing, the restaurant is still attracting those who enjoy pillow talk over small-plate selections of global-fusion cuisine. The new menu… More >>
Tired of pretentious Pan-Everywhere eateries where fusion equals confusion and deconstruction means some sadistic chef screwing with your mind? Try this nonconfusing fusion place, where deconstruction is done for fun — as in congenial, creative chef Edgar Leal's marinated shrimp/mussels/calamari Argentine-style empanada ($14) — and all lunch specials are $11.99. Leal's childhood years — spent swinging back and forth between… More >>
TRUE OR FALSE:
1. Matsuri looks like a dive.
False. Used to be true, but last year the place was renovated. Now it is swathed in soothing woods and exudes a rather upscale appearance.
2. The menu is written entirely in Japanese so non-Japanese diners have no idea what they are ordering.
True. But there is a different, somewhat similar menu written in English.
3.… More >>
We could start by making a joke at the expense of Coconut Grove's grim dining scene — such as how choosing the best restaurant in this area is like selecting the best Jewish football star. But that would be needlessly snarky. Besides, since Ideas Restaurant opened here in late 2006, the Grove has itself a star establishment to build upon.… More >>
Ever since Norman Van Aken copped our award for Best Restaurant in Coral Gables for 10 years straight, there has been an aversion to repeating winners in the same category. It's so lazy. So boring. So predictable. But when an establishment is as singularly rewarding as Sardinia, there really isn't much choice in the matter. Few restaurants re-create the ambiance… More >>
Houdini would have been hard-pressed to match the magical act of Marseille-born, Paris-trained chef Philippe Jaccquet, who somehow produces a full menu worth of authentic Southern French bistro cuisine from a kitchen smaller than Richard Simmons' wardrobe closet. The cramped dining room is barely larger, but brightened with Gallic knickknacks and posters hanging from vibrantly colored walls. A favorite is… More >>
In the walls are actual holes that are bigger than this tiny, French-ified Biscayne Boulevard café, but Le Glacier makes up for its lack of size and spiffy ambiance with simple, honest, well-prepared food at blessedly modest prices, with a big helping of neighborhoody charm thrown in for good measure. Onion soup, chicken with Dijon mustard sauce, lamb Provençale —… More >>
You can walk around this food court, eating free samples of international culinary treats, until you are just about full. Once you have finished making the rounds and have purchased some food, have a seat near Enrique's Café, where beer is served all day. This food court is not just about taking a free piece of chicken and sipping an… More >>
Scott Fredel opened this stylish contemporary American bistro in Aventura's sprawling Promenade Shops to show that white-tablecloth dining didn't have to come at white-knuckle prices. Four years later, he's made his point and then some. Sophisticated dishes such as slow-roasted salmon with truffled red potato salad and coarse-grained mustard sauce come in at a fistful of dollars less than at… More >>
The door of the S&S Diner opened and two men walked in. They sat down at the counter. There were no tables.
"What's yours?" the waitress asked them.
"I don't know," one of the men said. "What do you want to eat, Al?"
"I don't know," said Al. "I don't know what I want to eat."
Outside it was getting hot. The traffic slowed… More >>
Opened in 2006, Cafetto is a French-style coffee shop with a local flavor. On any given morning, owners Anne-Marie and Oliver can be found behind the counter serving freshly roasted java while chatting up the mostly local clientele. There are eight coffee flavors to choose from, including Jamaican rum, tiramisu, and cinnamon. There's also an ample selection of teas and… More >>
This newcomer to the Miami dining scene is located on South Miami Avenue near downtown, but you can call it the old Firehouse Four building. The two-level restaurant is stylishly decorated, but you can call it duplex chic. For a prix-fixe charge of either $18 or $23, diners begin with a choice among some 15 soups, salads, and appetizers, plus… More >>
The chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano that gets plunked upon your plate is complimentary. So are toasts piled with bright bruschetta, a plate of garlic-fried zucchini slices, and sourdough bread with olive oil. At the end of the meal, glasses of limoncello are poured — free of charge. Everything else at Il Gabbiano is priced sky-high, which also describes the quality of… More >>
If you want to see how the other half lives, or at least eats, what place could be better than a restaurant owned by a genuine celebrity in the most celebrity-obsessed burg in the nation? Michael Caine, Andy Garcia, Pat Riley, and Eva Longoria are just a few of the A-listers who've slipped into Danny DeVito's over-the-top, Murano-glass-chandelier-and-white-leather-banquette-pimped space, located… More >>
This old-fashioned family seafood restaurant boasts large aquariums, filled with live exotic fish, that surround the restaurant's eating area. We recommend going on Tuesdays for two-for-one Maine lobster (market price). And what better way to wash down some fresh lobster than with a bottle of fine wine? There is no wine list here; it's more like a telephone book-size tome.… More >>
No more eating at the restaurant and then drinkin' in the alley for you, oh no. Have your dinner and drink, too, at Sawaddee on Normandy Isle. The menu, which comprises a great selection of Thai food along with the apparently mandatory assortment of sushi, is reasonably priced enough to justify a visit on its own. A basic pad thai… More >>
Most wine bars could just as easily be called whine bars, as in: "How come there's nothing decent to eat here to go along with all the great wine?" Well, your sniveling pleas have been answered at this cozy, comfy Coral Gables wine shop/tapas bar. To go along with more than 100 bottles of (all Spanish) wine are wickedly flavorful… More >>
The kids can be snotty, the dog smelly, and weekends sexless, but there's still a lot of love to celebrate. The Village Chalet is a charming spot to remember the day you got hitched, kissed, or whatever fell between. Tucked into historic Cauley Square off South Dixie Highway, the restaurant feels like an Old Florida getaway and is surrounded by… More >>
David Bouley Evolution. Johnny V South Beach. Mark's South Beach. Restaurant Brana. Afterglo. Cafeteria. Duo. Frankie's Big City Grill. Karu & Y. The list of this past year's local restaurant victims is as lengthy as a dessert menu at The Cheesecake Factory. The closings that shocked this town most, though, were clearly Norman's and Pacific Time — two of only… More >>
More than a decade ago, the Hotel Astor in South Beach was renowned for its Sunday brunch. The food was good, but it was gospel queen Maryel Epps who brought the crowds in. Well, Ms. Epps has once again been belting out soulful tunes at the Astor's "Inspirational Brunch," but this time she is doing so in the new Joley… More >>
When Orson Welles described style as being "unique for yourself yet identifiable to others," he could have been talking about Ortanique. Chef Cindy Hutson's Caribbean-based "cuisine of the sun" is bright enough to delight in a coal mine, but achieves optimum taste when in harmony with the warm and vivid sunset colors, flowing gauze curtains, mahogany woods, and hand-painted motifs… More >>
Three years ago, Gabriele Marewski of Paradise Farms joined chef Michael Schwartz to stage a series of organic dinners forged from products grown in South Florida. The setting is outdoors amid Paradise Farms' five acres of avocados, microgreens, heirloom tomatoes, and tropical fruits. Dinners are limited to 60 guests and encompass a cocktail reception, farm tour, and six courses —… More >>
Fergus Henderson's last meal would consist of sea urchins, goat cheese, and dark butter chocolate ice cream (with Muscadet). Nobu Matsuhisa's not-surprising pick for a final feast includes a number of sushi selections capped by a cucumber roll. Daniel Boulud says he'd eat whatever Alain Ducasse would cook for him, and Gordon Ramsay would preface his eternity in Hell with… More >>
Since opening almost a year ago, Prime Blue Grille has attracted a steady stream of clientele hungry for veal chops, short ribs, rack of lamb, and seven cuts of steak seared upon an 1,800-degree hickory-burning grill. Even more types of seafood are available, from yellowfin tuna to whole branzino to wild Alaskan king salmon — also freshly grilled. Eighteen side… More >>
Admittedly, Miami is a bit behind the cupcake craze that swept New York and Los Angeles, oh, six or seven years ago. The market was ripe for a clever cupcake entrepreneur to step forward and put the city on the miniature dessert map. That person was Misha Kuryla-Gomez, purveyor of Misha's Cupcakes. Offering ooey-gooey deliciousness in bite-size portions, the stay-at-home… More >>
God promised a land flowing with milk and honey, but maybe people would have paid more attention if He had offered a land flowing with lobster bisque from Barrio Latino. Cream is much more heavenly than milk anyway, and this bisque is loaded. It's a buttery, rich bowl of joy. Sweet lobster meat floats serenely, grateful it was never canned.… More >>
A corn tortilla folded over meat — the taco is so simple a concept, yet it used to be nearly impossible to find one made properly around here. That changed three years ago when Orale — a red, white, and green-striped taqueria-on-wheels — pulled into its now-customary parking spot on the SW 28th Street side of Douglas Park. Every weekend,… More >>
Hunks of meat wood-smoked slowly at low temperatures, so the fatty juiciness doesn't cook out, with enough natural smoky flavor cooked in that sauces are an enjoyable extra rather than a necessity: that's real barbecue. And that's hard to find in Miami, though our town is geographically about as Deep South as you can get. Though it seems especially unlikely… More >>
Rosa Mexicano brought upscale and authentic south-of-the-border fare to New York City in 1984. It is still thriving there, and in recent times has expanded to new territories; this past year it moved into Mary Brickell Village. A new Rosa Mexicano tribute CD has just been released, in which mostly long-in-the-tooth rockers do covers of their past hits but with… More >>
The name "Sam's Kosher Restaurant" would make sense. "Moishe's on 41st" I wouldn't have a problem with.
Here we go with the names.
I'm sorry, Mr. I've-heard-it-all-before, but I still say "Prime Sushi" doesn't sound right for a kosher restaurant.
They serve sushi — what else should they call it? Would Prime Kosher Raw Fish maybe be better for you? Their special roll… More >>
This stylish Peruvian/Mediterranean restaurant excels in everything a dining establishment can. The room is modern and elegant, imbued with warm walnut notes and a sky-high ceiling. Service summons a professionalism not seen often in these parts. The wine list (and for that matter, the artisanal cheese selections) are extensive and smart. And co-owner Jean Paul Desmaison, one of Lima's rising… More >>
Bacon? Check. Overly strong coffee? Check. Overly sweaty line cook? Check. Eggs served in multiple forms, including breakfast sandwiches? Check. Paper plates and plastic cutlery? Check. Setting of sublime urban decline punctuated by traffic jams and rusted fences? Check. A place, like a pizza shop, that no one would expect to serve breakfast and therefore must lower prices to attract… More >>
Choose the number that matches the letter:
a. Ocean Drive restaurants
b. 168 people were killed in the Oklahoma City bombing, O.J. Simpson was found not guilty, and Pelican Restaurant opened in the Pelican Hotel
c. $7; $18; $15
d. Gliding by are rollerbladers, skateboarders, bicyclists, baby strollers, beautiful people, and wide-eyed tourists
e. A great place for lunch in any neighborhood, but a downright… More >>