It's become cliché to describe a Latin restaurant in Miami as "reminiscent of an old-time Havana supper club," but that is in fact the case at Samba Room in the recently renovated Bancroft Hotel on South Beach. Not too ritzy a club, mind you, the stylishly spare décor defined by Deco curves, dark woods, cream-color walls, tall ceilings, conga drums, potted palms, and white-linened tables. At night fluorescent bulbs over outdoor patio tables cast a blue-green glow through the windowed front walls of the dining room; if you're seated toward the interior, however, the otherwise low-level lighting and tabletop candles offer barely enough illumination to read the menu. Afro-Cuban jazz rhythms bounce through the space and into the next room, a loungelike area with a teak bar and colorful artwork on the walls. The ambiance is just right for a self-billed "Cuban bar and Latin café," but that's not surprising. The Samba team should know a thing or two about providing thematic restaurant environments: They're owned by the same corporate entity that runs T.G.I. Friday's. They've even got specific Samba experience, having opened the first one about a year ago on... More >>>