Over the next few weeks, Short Order will pair eight Miami-Dade neighborhoods in a "Snackdown". This is the second entry. Today pits downtown Miami against Mid Beach in Miami Beach. Which one is the better neighborhood for dining?
Read our arguments and VOTE! Tweet it. Facebook it. Google+ it. Comment if you don't like it. Comment if you love it. Do whatever it takes to rep your epicurean mecca.
For north of the county line, visit our sister blog, Clean Plate Charlie, and vote for your favorites during its Food Town Throwdown.
Compared to the rest of the nation's cosmopolitan cities, our downtown is something of a toddler -- not quite an infant but too small to be called a big boy. We kind of like that, though.
Downtown might be petite, but it's ours, and it boasts Brickell across the bridge, which for dining's sake we're pairing with downtown.
It's the type of area where busy bankers, lawyers, and everyday office dwellers are too busy answering emails on their iPhone and BlackBerry to really notice you. That's is a mega-plus because the best way to eat is like no one is watching.
For Guido-free Italian food, there's Soya e Pomodoro on NE First Street. Pasta here comes with love -- amore. The owners are Sicilian, so loyal patrons have learned to say things like "ash-petta" instead of "ahs-petta." Nothing like channeling that inner Sicilian for the word "wait" when the waiter walks away before you get to ask something.
Too good to be left out. There are so many options out there for Mid Beach lovers when downtown (and every other area) fails them.
We'll go right for the jugular and say there is only one other neighborhood that can claim it has a Chopped champion cheffin' around, but downtown isn't one of them. At 1500 Degrees, the culinary whiz team of Paula de Silva and her Chopped champ sous chef, Adrienne Grenier, whip up farm-to-table goodness for their guests.
Guests of the Forge on 41st Street like to dress up and make it part of their "night out on the town." Sure, it's pricey, but lucky for everyone, the place accepts all major credit cards. How do smoked salmon croquettes sound? Awesome -- we'll take three (orders, that is).
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For those nights out that we're uninterested in paying off for the next few months (with interest), there are our more modest options. Indomania has been around for nearly six years and is still packing a punch. The tiny Dutch-Indonesian eatery is tucked away off the normal eater-feeder pattern, but that hasn't stopped fans from enjoying authentic Indonesian food in a setting that feels like home.
Mid Beach also hosts the tiny treasure Katana, where diners can sail off toward the Japanese horizon. OK, not really, but their food sails right to them in little wooden boats, and whatever floats downstream on Katana's indoor river is ready for you to grab and enjoy. It's a Mid Beach must-experience.