While Fifi's Place was voted Best Under the Radar Restaurant by the Miami New Times in 2009, this seafood joint in mid-Beach is still a hidden gem. Clearly, success has not gone to owners Nelson and Mayneth "Fifi" Sanchez's heads. The winning formula for this casual Collins Avenue spot is their focus on fresh fish, great service and strong flavors.
What really sets Fifi's Place apart, though, is the fact that diners can select their fish straight from a cooler. The catch of the day can be hog snapper or grouper, and they are huge specimens. Our waitress allowed us to inspect the cooler full of freshly caught hog snapper until we chose the right one. We felt like we were in the Keys or the Bahamas with this abundance, instead of on a grimy corner next to an IHOP. (Don't worry, the dining room is spotless.)
We ordered the hog snapper
grilled, although you can also get it fried. Hog snapper was also the
star of a ceviche dish, with thin pieces of the raw white fish marinated
in a ponzu citrus sauce and topped with garlic chips. Their signature
appetizer is clearly a riff on Nobu's rock shrimp tempura. Nevertheless,
it was tasty and as light as fried food can be. Another can't miss
starter is their fried soft shell crab, which was served with a savory
Asian dipping sauce.
Although the prices
aren't cheap here considering the neighborhood, entrees come with
unlimited baskets of fluffy bread and hearty salads. Our waitress also
kept an eagle eye on our wine glasses, pouring just enough vino to the
middle, but not topping us off in a mad rush to sell more bottles.
the grilled hog snapper did arrive, it was filleted succinctly,
yielding several meaty pieces of pristine fish. The fried fish carcass
in the middle of the plate also had some hidden goodness around the
neck. No one was brave enough to try the eyeballs, though, which some
consider a delicacy.
Fifi's also has a wide
selection of mixed seafood platters, such as paella, parrilada and
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frutti di mare over pasta. There are several steak and chicken entrees,
too, but why bother. At Fifi's, fish is clearly the way to go.
6934 Collins Ave., Miami Beach