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Miami/SoBe: any don't-miss NOT fine dining but great food?

I fully expected them to laugh at my comment about discussing it online, I realize Joe's IS Miami and I'm a peon. I don't care.

Insofar as the implication I was somehow conducting a shakedown or expected something over and above what I was due...that's just wrong and I will blame my imperfect writing skills and inability to better explain the circumstances. But I assure you, I was in no way improper or rude...or entitled.

I'll stick to other sites in the future.

Mar 19, 2014
SueFH in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Foodie Spots in Orlando

I second Ravenous Pig. Went for lunch 2 weeks ago and the SALAD had me raving. I swooned over the shrimp and grits, the dessert, and the waiter even brought me some gruyere biscuit ends from dinner. I LOVED it, cannot recommend it highly enough.

Another place I enjoyed was White Wolf Cafe. Here's what I wrote on another site:
Brunch In downtown Orlando it was about 20 minutes from Sea World (we stayed in that area), just blocks off I-4. While the service wasn't great (didn't get setups until well after our food came )their cinnamon rolls were excellent and the grits, eggs, bacon and pancakes were really good. Plus on Sundays they have $3 mimosas and bloodies, we sat at the bar waiting for a table and the people just never stopped coming.

Hostess said it is frequented mostly by locals, she was surprised we were from Chicago, and I'd definitely go back if I was in Orlando again.
www.whitewolfcafe.com

Mar 19, 2014
SueFH in Florida

Drive MIA to Orlando--anything "don't-miss" close to main highways?

No problem at all, was literally a minute of our day. Just wanted to share in case anyone was following.

Mar 11, 2014
SueFH in Florida

Miami/SoBe: any don't-miss NOT fine dining but great food?

So I wanted to thank you all again for taking the time to offer your suggestions and comments. Turns out my daughter isn't quite the foodie companion I'd hoped she would be but we still had a great time.

I wanted to share a bit of our experience at Joe's on Friday night:
In the spirit of not hitting a dive (my kid's request) we went to Joe's Stone Crab for dinner and had a fine meal. I was surprised to find it almost exactly like the Joe's here at home in Chicago, not sure why I was surprised but it almost felt chain-y, which I did not expect. Service felt a little (lot) rushed--I know they want to move people through but it was really fast! I do wish they would display the different sizes of claws so you know what to expect. We ordered large ($59.95) and they didn't seem all the large, though my frame of reference is limited. The waiter suggested that one order might not be enough so we should add an extra half order. We did, and I was surprised to find the charge on the bill for that half order was $36.95, not the $30 I expected. I have no problem with them charging a premium for a half order if that's all you order, but seeing as we were supplementing a larger order I thought it was a tacky up-charge. Waiter never mentioned that.

Had a weird experience with a nearby diner (75-ish, nicely dressed so not automatically assuming a tacky tourist) having a sneezing attack and not leaving the table to spare the people behind him (that would be us). Seriously 25-30 LOUD energetic sneezes--putting his hand up to notify his dining partners he wasn't done yet-- and he didn't make any effort to stand up or leave the table. It was gross to be honest. The waiter and staff observed and commented on our discomfort with the grossness factor and when I mentioned I'd probably be talking about it online, the somewhat ruined $200 dinner. And then the waiter said it wasn't their fault--and hey it wasn't even $200! (It was $160, my kid is too young to drink.) True the sneezer wasn't Joe's fault but sometimes you make a gesture. A comped piece of pie might've gone a ways to assuage the icky factor. Key lime pie felt frozen. Overall, just sort of unpleasant, the sneezing guy put a damper on the meal for us. And for that kind of money I was disappointed.

We elected to have dinner Saturday in Hollywood near our hotel, at Perrone's downtown. We found it unremarkable but tasty. The lasagna was actually really good, small portion but worked out fine. The service, however, was atrocious. We waited quite some time for a table, the they set us up in a back room next to along table set for 22 people. Never a good sign. Our waiter was nice but way over his head with the large group that began to arrive, need drinks and wine and appetizers...plus he had other tables besides ours! Manager never stopped by, we bolted ASAP and sadly wouldn't recommend based on service.

Mar 11, 2014
SueFH in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Miami/SoBe: any don't-miss NOT fine dining but great food?

We enjoyed Puerto Sagua, liked the medianoche better than the rope vieja. Loved the rice and plantains. I'd go back and try other stuff but just confess some of the sanitation issues bother me a bit. I know, I know, it's not touristy and gonna have a few quirks in exchange for authenticity. But a gallon of milk was sitting on the counter when we walked in and didn't move the entire time we were there. Nor when we left.

Anyway, we are in coral gables right now, my girl visiting a HS friend at U of M, then we will brave the traffic and head back. Thinking Maybe we will do Joes, she's a little less psyched about the dicey places than I am!

Thanks to all for your input.

Mar 07, 2014
SueFH in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Drive MIA to Orlando--anything "don't-miss" close to main highways?

Hey just wanted to report that Desert Inn appears to be under renovation. The tollbooth guy told us it was shut down for code violations. He recommended the Subway at the gas station. Anyway, we went over and had a look. And there were no lights on. But we can still say we were in Yeehaw Junction, which is noteworthy in itself.

Mar 06, 2014
SueFH in Florida

Miami/SoBe: any don't-miss NOT fine dining but great food?

Puerto Saguo is universally recommended so it is a for-sure. I genuinely appreciate the tips and will probably do the drive then stop, she is less interested in architecture than I am! Will report back. Thanks.

Mar 06, 2014
SueFH in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Staying at Westin North shore

Nothing stays open late around here! We actually really like the pistachio whitefish at Saranellos.

Feb 26, 2014
SueFH in Chicago Area

Breakfast in the North Suburbs

Second for Rise & Dine.

Feb 26, 2014
SueFH in Chicago Area

Miami/SoBe: any don't-miss NOT fine dining but great food?

Haven't been to Miami as an adult! I'll be in Hollywood (Westin) for 3 nights with my 20-year old daughter. Want her to see the SoBe scene a little, the deco buildings, have a great meal or two. I prefer to park the car once if possible though am willing to move if necessary. We are happy to walk anywhere. She isn't tremendously adventurous but will go along with anything. Definitely would like one really good Cuban meal.

Not looking for fine dining, will go off the beaten path for something truly delish. There's SOOOO many recs and threads, I've done some searching but it's super hard to sift through the high end places, especially because I don't know the geography at all. So if you will pardon my laziness, I promise I'll report back on wherever we end up.

Oh, and will take suggestions for Hollywood-ish as well. Thanks.

Feb 26, 2014
SueFH in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Staying at Westin Diplomat on Hollywood Beach. Any great restaurants in the area?

Going to be at the Westin Diplomat in a few weeks, just wondering if there's any updates for this thread? Thanks!

Jan 28, 2014
SueFH in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Drive MIA to Orlando--anything "don't-miss" close to main highways?

Looks, um, interesting. But CH folks haven't ever steered me wrong, so it is on the itinerary! Thanks!

Jan 27, 2014
SueFH in Florida

Drive MIA to Orlando--anything "don't-miss" close to main highways?

Not looking for true "off the beaten path" experience, but will be with my daughter for a few days and if there's anything unusual or unique (no chains!) along the way, we'd love to check it out. Doing both a dinner and a breakfast time frame so let the ideas fly!

Jan 20, 2014
SueFH in Florida

One lunch in Ft Lauderdale

So my dinner plans shifted to really late, and its supposed to rain, so I thought I'd treat myself to a nice lunch from FLL en route to the hotel, the W Fort Lauderdale.

Dinner to be stone crabs hopefully, so just about anything would interest me. Suggestions? Thanks.

Nov 19, 2013
SueFH in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Don't miss on the beach/ Sunday Brunch buffet Ft Lauderdale?

Thank you both!

Nov 19, 2013
SueFH in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Don't miss on the beach/ Sunday Brunch buffet Ft Lauderdale?

Staying at the W (with points), maybe a dinner rec for good value (can be pricey, just has to be worth it!). Less pricey and good is even better!

As far as brunch, not finding anything on CH with the search function. A few places come up on yelp/trip advisor, but none of those names appear here. Also would love reasonable/good value for brunch, don't need $40+ for this one!

Thanks.

Nov 16, 2013
SueFH in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Great seafood (with vegetarian options) in Fort Myers, Sanibel, or Captiva

Home from our too-short visit to SW Florida and wanted to report in with my results since so many here were kind enough to share their thoughts in response to requests.

Thursday: Fresh Catch Bistro was terrific, I loved that pecan/cranberry crusted grouper! My husband had a sea bass that he enjoyed, it didnt make an impression on me though and I couldn't describe it, sorry. Our only complaint was the chocolate mousse cake dessert was incredibly dense; the mousse was heavier than cheesecake and not mousse-like at all. Good flavor but definitely not what he wanted.

Friday we ended up at Mucky Duck. Got there in time to grab the last chairs on the beach for sunset and after hearing parking was terrible everywhere, we decided to stay for dinner. My fish was fine but my husband didnt care for his food at all. The chowder tasted like it had a cream of chicken base, not clammy at all. He found the offerings on his combo platter to be underwhelming. And the noise level was unbearable. Our least favorite meal of the weekend.

Saturday we ended up going to Pinchers for lunch. I really wanted stone crabs and they just were nowhere else to be found. Luckily, they were nicely done at Pinchers. The shrimp was good as predicted, and while not exactly a mind blowing meal we felt it was a reasonable value. Dinner was at The Prawnbroker. We were surprised at how good it was. Their crab-crusted grouper was fantastic and a huge portion. Not a lot of atmosphere and definitely an older "not-hip" crowd, but our best meal of the weekend.

Ice cream at Love Boat was good. Only wish we had time to get to Heavenly Biscuit....next time.

Thanks to all for your guidance.

Nov 10, 2013
SueFH in Florida

SW Florida (Lee County/Collier County) 2013 "season" news

I have always preferred discussions to "ratings" and since this is primarily a food site I harbor hopes that reviews and comments will reflect some actual thought. I'm looking forward to trying some of the places recommended here while on my little mini-vacation this weekend.

Nov 07, 2013
SueFH in Florida

Great seafood (with vegetarian options) in Fort Myers, Sanibel, or Captiva

Just want to quickly share that we were at Beach Front Bistro tonight, it was really good, especially the pecan/cranberry crusted grouper, but they did NOT have stone crabs. A place a bit closer to Summerlin did advertise on a sign that they have em.

Nov 07, 2013
SueFH in Florida

Sanibel Traditions on the Beach?

Thanks for the heads up. We will only have three nights total in FL and one is already booked at Fresh Catch Bistro before the island. Views and food, is that too much to ask? Lol

Nov 06, 2013
SueFH in Florida

Sanibel Traditions on the Beach?

Nothing came up Ina search, and I haven't heard anyone talk about it. Is that because it is horrible? Thoughts?

Nov 05, 2013
SueFH in Florida

North Shore recommendations needed, please

Wasn't a fan of Guildhall, just overpriced and underwhelming vs the chatter about it.

I have enjoyed Avli every time I've been there, though it has been awhile. http://www.avli.us/home

We also enjoyed Bobby's in Deerfield. I liked Inovasi too but my non-foodie husband didnt care for it.

know people like Happ Inn in Northfield, broad menu, though I have had ups and downs there. I'd say just go to Barnaby's for their crispy crust pizza!

Nov 04, 2013
SueFH in Chicago Area

Great seafood (with vegetarian options) in Fort Myers, Sanibel, or Captiva

Thanks. I am sort of reluctant to make too many real plans because we do want to have some flexibility and my husband is way less a foodie, but I don't want to end up someplace icky because I'm unprepared!

Sunset Grill can't get the menus to come up, will try again.

Nov 04, 2013
SueFH in Florida

Great seafood (with vegetarian options) in Fort Myers, Sanibel, or Captiva

Thank you so much for responding so thoroughly! Funny about the underwhelming high-end spots. I had thought of Thistle and Mad Hatter as options for our "nice" dinner, appreciate the heads up! I actually have a reservation for Fresh Catch on the night we arrive, your endorsement makes me happy! One of the things I relish is a fried groper sandwich so the Time Out is a great rec also.

Anywhere have stone crabs? I realize it isn't the center of the stone crab world, but as long as we are there, and the husband is a paying!

I too will report back.

Oct 30, 2013
SueFH in Florida

Great seafood (with vegetarian options) in Fort Myers, Sanibel, or Captiva

Laura, we are doing the same thing (Marriott) and I'm counting on you reporting back on your experiences! I'm also interested in some nice views and great food (price not irrelevant, but value---quality for whatever the cost---is most important) and any place withgreatfood AND a great view would be a bonus! Thanks!

Oct 24, 2013
SueFH in Florida

Restaurant reviews Sanibel/Ft. Myers Beach Area - August 2013

Will have a car, got 3 places that'd make a drive worthwhile? Or maybe 2 lunch and 2 dinner options? I'd consider something you think is great! Nice view is a plus, good value too (not cheap, but value for whatever the cost is). Thanks!

Oct 24, 2013
SueFH in Florida

FORT MYERS, CAPE CORAL -- Need recommendations for TOP PICKS

Thanks for all the input...still debating about whether we will stay at the Marriott or Westin. Seems Westin allows pets and that could be an allergy issue. And NO positive comments on the Marriott, yikes.

Pinchers is a local or regional chain? I'm not a chain fan but I've never heard of them so I could pretend I don't know they're a chain! I'm psyched about some stone crabs too, wonder if they cost less in FL than they do in Chicago!

Overall best sunset view at dinner! Any great places that are much less expensive at lunch, for the possible 2-meal days? Killer brunch on Sunday?

Oct 24, 2013
SueFH in Florida

Thanksgiving in Chicago

Hoping for more suggestions as well, my mom just passed away and none of us feels like cooking but we want to be together, doing something different his year. Open table has its list available now, but doesn't give great details IMO.

Oct 20, 2013
SueFH in Chicago Area

Restaurant reviews Sanibel/Ft. Myers Beach Area - August 2013

Thanks, heading there in 3 weeks, never been close so I'm scouring the net for suggestions. We will be staying at that Marriott as well.

Willing to listen to other suggestions reasonable distance from the Marriott....

Oct 18, 2013
SueFH in Florida

FORT MYERS, CAPE CORAL -- Need recommendations for TOP PICKS

Hi, just wondering if there are any updates to this thread. We are deciding between staying at Westin in Cape Coral or Marriott in Ft Myers, and --for me-- food options carry some significant weight, especially if all else is equal. Not sure they are, but anyway, I mostly want great, fresh fish. Will have a car and won't object to some traveling. Thanks!

Oct 17, 2013
SueFH in Florida