First, an apology. We know the place looks as if it has been attacked by sea breezes and salt water for the past couple of decades. We know it's not much to look at. We know if you're not in the know you'd drive right on by. That's because of what you don't know: the genteel atmosphere. The unobtrusive service. And the creamiest, richest peanut sauce in the industry. We like ours over the "swimming angels" -- chicken, shrimp, steamed broccoli, and tomatoes. But we also can't resist items like the honey beef, the squid with mushrooms, or the duck curry with pineapple, cashews, and peas. As an added bonus, Siam Bayshore also features a sushi bar, which hardly is an afterthought given the quality of the raw goods -- and it's certainly less fattening than the Thai fare. But when it comes to the blue ribbon, to be honest we're just not all that concerned about the ol' scale, unless it's the one we use to weigh quality. In this case that's off the scale.
In 1994, back when Lincoln Road was just emerging from its rutted, nearly abandoned phase, Alfredo Gonzalez and his sons Alex and Adrian opened David's Café II. Their original David's Café had been up and running on Collins Avenue since 1977, offering Cuban fare in a diner setting. But the family was looking toward the future, and it looked to be on the Road. They were right. Their business has only grown since then, expanding to add a café to David's II in 1999. But the Gonzalezes never strayed from their roots serving simple, tasteful Cuban dishes -- such as tostones stuffed with seafood, and churrasco steak -- even as all manner of hip restaurants (drag-queen waiters) and celebrity-owned bistros have opened and closed around them. Perhaps their biggest challenge came a year ago, when the weedlike Starbucks set up shop across the street selling $1.50 espressos. Despite it all David's has thrived. Thank God there's still a place on the Road where locals can buy 50-cent cafecitos. The café is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The restaurant is open from 7:00 a.m. to midnight, Sunday through Thursday.

Best Wine Selection In A Restaurant

Bice

With 222 wines on hand, ranging in price from moderate to expensive, oenophiles and novices alike can enjoy Bice. In fact when it comes to vino, the restaurant walks confidently between egalitarianism and elitism. There is no wine steward, an old-school vestige that had more to do with pomp than practicality, according to restaurant manager Jason Bruce. Instead the entire waitstaff takes part in weekly wine tastings by experts in a continuous training exercise, where they are taught how to isolate the components of taste in a wine. "We'd rather have the whole staff know about the wines rather than just one specialist," says Bruce. Management is as proud to offer a $780 bottle of Chateau Margot, or a $295 of Gaja Barbaresco, as it is to offer a $26 bottle of Roggiano super Tuscan (meaning all the grapes come from the Italian region of Tuscany). The wine "cellar" actually is part of the dining room, where, with reservations, up to eighteen diners can enjoy their meal surrounded by racks of wine.
We'll tell you straight off the bat -- or fishing line, if you prefer: This seafood market and restaurant has absolutely no charm. Bare (fish) bones to the extreme, the market features only a few kitchenette-style tables, plastic and paper tableware, and a powerful aroma of freshly scaled fish. So why does it win? Easy. In order: Captain Jim's fresh garlic crabs, a three-and-a-half-pound bucket of which will run you only $16.95. A pile of fried Key West shrimp for $7.95. (Captain Jim does a lot of fishing in the Keys.) Cracked Caicos conch, which comes with hush puppies or beans and rice for the same amount of dead presidents. And "extras" like fried clams, conch chowder, smoked fish dip, and smoked marlin. Get the picture? Good. Now go get the seafood before Captain Jim runs out of those garlic crabs -- at his prices, the eats go as fast as his reel.
Jamba Juice
As a rule, perkiness is annoying. But politeness, freshness, brightness? All good. And in the morning hours, even better. That's what you'll get when you stop in at Jamba Juice for a healthful taste sensation. Left Coast influences (the California-based Juice Club became Jamba Juice in 1995) have obviously infiltrated Jamba Juice's Kendall outpost, which features a tremendous menu of fruit- and soy-based smoothies plus a fresh-juice bar (even wheatgrass grows in patches behind the counter). Ask your upbeat server to toss in a free Jamba Boost (select vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids) for immunity, women's health, or energy, and you'll be treated to a pick-me-up that packs more of wallop than anything you'll get at that gloomy Starbucks next door. Creamy smooth drinks are filled with the fuel your body needs any time of day: Combinations of berries, bananas, peanut butter, peaches, mangos, and more mingle endlessly with nonfat yogurt, sorbet, and ice. Nothing artificial here -- even the shiny happy people who man the blenders and make sure every last drop finds its way into your jumbo cup are genuine. So if they want to be perky, we'll just go ahead and let them.

Los Tres Amigos
A little slice of Mexico across the street from the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner. Not that that has any significance, other than Los Tres Amigos certainly has been a welcome addition to the lunch possibilities for all the hard-working medical types in the Jackson Memorial Hospital area. Tres Amigos is the kind of place you virtually never see in Miami: It really looks Mexican inside, Selena plays on the jukebox, and the food really is Mexican/Tex-Mex. You can order the usual varieties of burritos -- chicken, beef, refried beans and cheese -- as well as the superdeluxe burrito Los Tres Amigos, a fat package of beef, pork, and chicken. The best part is ladling on the red or green sauce, or both.

Best Inexpensive Italian Restaurant

Macaluso's

The Big Cheese of Miami
George Martinez
This wonderful little joint answers the question Can man live by meatball alone? with a resounding yes! Of course there's plenty of other fare here, including some really good pizzas, homemade sauces, and a variety of dishes inspired by chef-owner Michael D'Andrea's family. Check out Grandma Lena's soup, Josephina's asparagus purée, or Vito's ricotta cheesecake. Whatever you choose, it's not only namesake; it's guaranteed authentic, made-on-the-premises, primo stuff. Naturally we can't get past the garlic-studded meatballs quickly enough to have any room left for cannoli, but that's why we're repeat customers: We have hope for the future.
Sango Jamaican and Chinese Restaurant
Sango's has won our hearts before as the best Caribbean take-out -- but why stop there? Rosie Hollingshead's jerk is so good, her little counter in Perrine can take on all dining-room challengers. If the huge portions don't fill you up, the Arawak-inspired pepper pot and pumpkin soup will. Or do true honor to Jamaica with the national dish of ackee and codfish. If you're carrying a meal home for a little romance, be sure to order the home-brewed love juice, Sango's planter's punch. If that's not enough to get in the mood, stop in at Aquarius Records next door while you're waiting for your order and pick up some deep luvy dub to listen to back home while you tickle your honey's lips with coconut drops.
There's an old Cuban proverb: "The shrimp that falls asleep is sucked away by the tide." No one is really sure what that means, but this much is clear: If it's seafood you're looking for, go to the source. Situated at the water's edge on soon-to-be-overdeveloped Watson Island, Casablanca features the freshest seafood in the area. Just-caught yellowtail, grouper, dolphin, and snapper, still surprised to find themselves out of the water, stare up from ice-filled trays. Lobster claws and shellfish are piled high next to what appear to have been entire shrimp villages. And goodies from the sea flow in throughout the day, thanks to Casablanca's location. Just don't fall asleep. You'll get sucked away by the tide.

The main body of the White Lion Café is nestled in a converted Twenties-era Florida bungalow-style home. Constructed of Dade County pine, the house is warm and hurricane-sturdy. Placed around the rooms are touchstones of a bygone time: a wooden wall phone, a metal icebox, a Fifties-era Coca-Cola machine. Even the prices, which happily feel a few years behind the times, seem faithful to the antique ambiance. There is no corresponding stuffiness, either. Intermixed among the pieces are whimsical notes that help set a light tone. On the wall of one room is a mounted jackalope (a rabbit with horns, for those who have never seen one). Attached to the side of the house is a covered patio where animal-shape Christmas lights are strung from the rafters, picnic tables stand ready, and cats lounge underfoot. In contrast to the antique theme, the food is prepared with fresh ingredients. Simple fare like fried chicken and grilled snapper is tastily cooked to perfection. Sometimes though, the old ways still are the best. No new-fangled instant mashed potatoes served here. Delightfully seasoned, they are made by hand.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®