Best Restaurant In Coconut Grove 1999 | Bice | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

Best Restaurant In Coconut Grove


The second time's the charm. This high-end restaurant chain failed in its first Miami location in South Beach in the mid-Nineties, but succeeds wildly this time around in its new setting in the Grand Bay Hotel. Gilded mirrors, brightly hued murals, plush banquettes, and striped wood floors create an elegant atmosphere, complemented by the luxurious menu items: baby artichoke salad with shaved pecorino, ricotta and arugula canneloni, sautéed calf liver with onions, and two kinds of polenta. Bice's flagship restaurant opened in Milan in 1926, and in the late Seventies began opening new restaurants in what the proprietors considered to be the most internationally acclaimed cities around the world. Now that Miami's made that A-list again, we can honestly say that this time, we want Bice as much as Bice wants us.
Millennium, schmillennium. You want something to celebrate in Y2K? Revel in People's Bar-B-Que, one of Miami's true culinary treasures. George Lewis, Jr.'s progeny have carried the torch (or, in this case, the oak-burning fire pit) from the original, ten-stool location in George Sr.'s drugstore, to a tidy, peach-hued restaurant right next to I-95. Yet in the shadow of the freeway that crippled Overtown, People's is thriving, serving up piles of pork, flocks of chicken, and rack upon rack of succulent ribs, all smothered in that distinctively tart sauce whose recipe remains a closely guarded family secret. The expanded menu also features winners like oxtail and turkey wings (Thursday or Friday), and 24 tremendous side dishes (though the candied yams should count as a dessert). Want barbecue that's all about the food, and not about ersatz cowboy décor? Pull up a chair at People's.
The name "Cocky Bob" sounds as though it should describe the guy that does those obnoxious FPL commercials, but it's actually the name of the tastiest fried chicken dish, glazed with garlic and honey, that's available here. And that's not the only evocative nomenclature: "Lost in the Garden," your choice of meat, chicken, or shrimp sautéed with ginger and fresh vegetables, brings Eden to mind. "Tani's Angels," shrimp and scallops sautéed with ginger, onion, and mushrooms, couldn't be improved even if it were served with a healthy portion of winged creatures. As for curry "Gang Dang," well, it's a veritable big bang of coconut milk, bamboo shoots, and peppers. All these silly little appellations might make you think Tani Thai doesn't take its customers seriously, but that's not the case. Not only is the fare distinctively delicious, the décor is contemporary and sophisticated and the service professional and friendly. When you're this good, a dish called "Cocky Bob" sounds perfectly justified.
There once was a chef named NcNish/Who had a Panamanian way with raw fish/She squeezed on it some lime/Let it marinate for a time/And added shrimp and onions to the dish/Delish!

There are two ways a world-class, James Beard award-winning chef with a signature restaurant can go. Open another restaurant in a different city, train an executive chef to cook your food, and hope your reputation will suffice to attract customers. But then you take the chance of compromising the standing of not only the new restaurant, but your original eatery as well. Or you can do what Allen Susser, a.k.a. Chef Allen, has done. He's opened a gourmet market in the same shopping center as Chef Allen's, his namesake eatery, where he sells his homemade line of products such as marinades, salad dressings, and sauces. He also offers cooking lessons in the store the second Wednesday of every month ($45 per session), and provides an extensive take-out menu of New World items. It's a snap for Susser to keep his eye on both places, which hardly compete with each other, because Chef Allen's is closed for lunch. And it's doubly pleasurable for us to monitor the progress of one of our most loyal hometown pride and joys.
An umpteen-year veteran on the North Miami dining scene, this place is simply not what it seems. The outside is steel and chrome, a typical New Jersey or Philadelphia diner look. But while the outside says "Yo," the inside says "Bonjour." It shouts it with the homemade vinaigrette that dresses the steamed artichoke, the tuna-pasta, and the hearts of palm salads. It yells it with the superior sauces: Béchamel, beurre blanc, Provençale. And it positively roars it with the sautéed frog legs, the garlicky calf's liver, the veal chop garnished with mushrooms, and the grilled lamb chops. Desserts such as chocolate mousse are a subtler, quieter approach to your palate, but then, we should never underestimate the power of a whisper.
The true excellence of Laurenzo's is confirmed by the out-of-towner's test. A New Yorker, spoiled by that city's abundance, visits for the first time. His excitement begins at the door where he spies the extensive wine selection. Soon he is exclaiming at the low cost compared with pricey Gotham. He moves on to the sauces, a collection that embraces an array of ethnic flavors. Italian sausages inspire rhapsodies as do multitudinous cheeses and numerous olive oils. And then his attention is caught by the pastries and homemade pasta. Praise has turned to exaltation. At the door, the out-of-towner is mentally checking the space in his luggage: How many delicacies can he take, and how soon must he return?
The many Brazilian tourists who choose Miami as a shopping destination know a good deal when they see it. That's why at lunchtime they head to Camila's. There are fancier local Brazilian eateries with more sophisticated food, but the dishes at this unassuming self-service restaurant probably bear more resemblance to what the Brazilians eat in their hometowns. Camila's "super buffet" offers a daily selection of fortifying main dishes, which can include the traditional feijoada, beef stew, pounded seasoned steak, and chicken in spicy sauce. The meal starts at the salad bar, with an array of fresh vegetables and prepared salads. For dessert try the sweet coconut flan or homemade rice pudding, and top it off with strong Brazilian espresso. The atmosphere at Camila's is informal and friendly; there's a mix of casually dressed patrons chatting in Portuguese and young, suited employees from nearby office buildings. The restaurant is immaculate, and the staff is attentive, happy to list the ingredients of unfamiliar dishes or arm you with fresh plates for another round at the buffet. Go ahead and taste everything; the all-you-can-eat meal costs $6.95 at lunch and $7.95 at dinner. Now that's a bargain.

If you took a poll across the nation, you'd find that Miamians rank among the most dehydrated citizens in the country, right behind Texans, New Mexicans, and Salt Lake City denizens (it's not the air there that's dry). That's because it's not just the heat, it's the heat and the humidity that drains our bodies of life-supporting nutrients. So it only stands to reason that we also have some of the best smoothie-producing spots in the country, as demonstrated by Sun Juice. Their freshly blended fruit smoothies, which are made with fresh fruit, nonfat yogurt or sherbet, and optional protein supplements, aren't too thick (so you don't waste more precious energy sucking fruitlessly -- pun intended -- on the straw) but hardly too thin (so you don't confuse these healthy milkshakes with juice). Just the right consistency to satisfy that powerful thirst. 'Cause what the sun takes away, the Sun makes sure to give back.
Biga's hearty loaves, irresistible to the eye as well as to the palate, have become quite popular in South Florida since the first store opened on Alton Road in Miami Beach in 1993. A year and a half ago, Biga was bought out by a giant Mexican bakery. But that didn't change Biga's name and it doesn't seem to have altered the quality or taste; in fact, under the direction of new owner Eduardo Laposse, Biga has expanded and Latinized its repertoire. The three La Biga Bakery & Café spots in Kendall, Key Biscayne, and Coral Gables, feature delights such as yuca bread (¡el maximo!), quesipan and pan de bono (different types of cheese breads), Cuban bread, and Colombian bread. Of course there is no way to live for long without the classic Biga creations: focaccia, rosemary reggiano, sourdough, muesli, olive walnut, sun-dried tomato and garlic, raisin nut -- too many to list here, but you probably already have your favorite.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®