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ciao_hound's Profile

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Key West for 2 Moms and 2 Eleven Year Old Boys

BLUE HEAVEN

Oct 31, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida

Miami- What is the best Tapas bar?

Casa Panza on 8th Street. Catch a flamenco show, and drift away to Spain.

Oct 29, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida

Vietnamese food in Miami for Family

Go to Hy Vong, go early, and you won't be disappointed (take 836 to Douglas Road exit, go left, go to 8th Street, go left, it's on the right a few hundred yards.) Other places of interest are Miss Yip Chinese Cafe on Lincoln Road, with pretty authentic Chinese. Best Thai in town, I have no idea.

Oct 20, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida

Best mussels in Miami

Mussels on menus are really commonplace these days, and we're constantly surprised by the various sizes of the mussels, and the quality and components of the various broths and sauces. Some are cream based, some tomato, some wine based. I think we've had every mussel in town, but we'd love to hear some surprise choices! Any nominees for The Best Mussels In Miami? Here's where we've been, our faves marked * :

Nemo
Michaels *
Carpaccio / Vivi *
Opa South Beach
DeVito
Oliver's
Perricone's *
Clarke's *
Mandarin Oriental
Ouzo
Le Bon
Soyka

On the downside, we've had every mussel variety at Le Bon, and we've never, ever had a very good broth there, I'm shocked to report.

Oct 20, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida

Best steakhouse in Miami/Miami Beach?

Smith & Wollensky has the best view and solid steaks. Prime 112 has better steaks and far more innovative menu, but you'll be treated literally like cattle - it's a South Beach scene. Tuscan Steak has very good food, but it's not a traditional steakhouse, and the food is very rich, very heavy. Capital Grille on Brickell has very good steaks, but little ambiance, very traditional. Expect steaks all all these places to START in the $40 range.
http://www.capitalgrille.com/Location...
http://www.smithandwollensky.com/miam...
http://www.prime112.com
http://www.chinagrillmgt.com/tuscanMI...

Oct 20, 2007
ciao_hound in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Clarke's South Beach - a thank you and short review

Clarke's has surprisingly solid food.

Oct 18, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida

Seafood & some atmosphere in South Beach?

Oh, boy, "mid-range seafood" doesn't exist on Miami Beach. On the lower end, Monty's is at the Miami Beach Marina and they have a raw bar, conch fritters, mahi sandwiches, and conch salad. Moving up would be Grillfish on Espanola, which is a true seafood restaurant, but it's not outside and the ambiance isn't super duper. Moving up from that would be Nemo on 1st St (inside or outside), which has an amazing 5 spice tuna tartare and awesome Giant Crispy Prawns (among other things). Moving up from there would be Prime 112 on Ocean (inside or outside), which has all sorts of great seafood (prawns, tuna tartare, etc), but the Chilean Sea Bass literally melts in your mouth - it's insane. Good luck!

Oct 18, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida

Miami and/or Beach recommendation needed

The "fun Friday Happy Hour" is the hard part - for some reason, Miami's not really a Happy Hour kind of place. But my vote is you go to Smith & Wollensky for burgers, salads and some seafood apps, then walk three blocks along the marina promenade over to Monty's around 6:30, which will be packed. Happy Hour there is until 8pm, you're on the marina, hang out at the downstairs bar, watch the sunset and have fun.

Oct 18, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida

Girlfriends Birthday, Romantic, Intimate Dinner in Miami?

Mike, I live in South Beach and while Baleen et al are all very nice, if you really want to do something extraordinary, something to really talk about for years to come, consider this: my girlfriend's birthday was a few months ago, and I hired a car to drive us to Islamorada (1 1/2 hours) and we ate at Pierre's, right near The Moorings. I'm telling you - and I'll stake my Chow reputation on this - that the food was absolutely fantastic, they have a beautiful lounge downstairs, the upstairs candle lit dining room was super romantic, and you're overlooking the water with the moonlight. From your restaurant choices above, you have the taste and resources to do this. Bring some bubbly for the ride, snuggle in the back, and just relax. The anticipation not knowing where you're going will kill her! If you want to spend the night, The Moorings, Casa Morada, Cheeca Lodge. http://www.pierres-restaurant.com/ http://www.casamorada.com.

Oct 18, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida

catering in Miami

What do you mean by innovative? Food wise or are you looking to recreate Cirque du Soleil? Because there are a few caterers in Miami, and a few restaurants that do nice catering too. Can you be more specific?

Oct 18, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida

sushi and seafood in south beach

OK, a sushi update. I took the posts earlier to heart and hit Toni's for the first time in about a year. The bottom line? $235 later (for 2), we had everything from yellowtail, to sea urchin, to giant clam, to scallop, to tuna, to masago, to tamago, to tempura rolls, to yellowtail collar and beyond. Verdict? Sucked. Sucked. Sucked. The edemame came room temperature, unsalted. The tuna tataki was paper thin, nowhere close as good and thick as Doraku's (IMHO the best tataki on the beach; their only standout commodity dish), every roll came with warm rice which bogged down and robbed flavors and sensations, the giant clam was tasteless and tough, the scallop sushi was way too fishy, the tamago omelette had zero sweetness, and the rest of the sushi/sashimi was average quality at best. The only standout was the yellowtail collar, which was large, hot, savory and naturally flavorful. And yes, for $235 we had several different cold sake's, the characteristics about which our server was absolutely 100% clueless. Zero wow factor for $115pp. Maybe it's time to hit Bond Street again! :-)

Oct 08, 2007
ciao_hound in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

sushi and seafood in south beach

Replying to Frodnesor and Miami Danny - being South Beach, we all know that consistently outstanding food of any sort is a difficult task. Regarding Garz, the original poster, I made my recommendations based on more hits than misses; yes, Samba can be a scene, but if you go when it's not slammed, the food and atmosphere are quite solid, the sushi fresh, complemented by interesting menus. I was last at Shoji about 2 months ago. And with all due respect to Danny, Yoko's is disgusting - we were there last month and course after course sucked at any price. It's not even the same ballpark as Shoji. In the end, I stress inconsistencies occur all over town.

Oct 08, 2007
ciao_hound in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Miami & Beach rec's needed for weekend chow

A quick note on the Food Gang: We've eaten there twice in the past month, and the food was absolutely delicious - I think they've made some menu changes, staff changes, etc. We had a total of five dishes on those two trips: the calamari, tuna tartare, the cod, seared scallops and a seafood bouillabaise (sp?). I absolutely stand by my recommendation, but I will say, the wine is quite pricey.

Oct 08, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida

Where are the great downtown Miami lunches?

Try Bin No. 18 for sandwiches/salads just north or Manhattan Cafe. Cafe Bali on 2nd for Longtong Cap Go Meh. Stoupsy's for chicken kabobs. Prime Blue Grill at One Miami for seafood risotto. Northern spareribs or pin rice soup at PF Changs (I know, I know, don't kill me) near Perricones, good burgers at Union Square Cafe (at Wachovia Tower), reasonably priced lunch buffet at Intercontinental Hotel.

Oct 08, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida

Miami & Beach rec's needed for weekend chow

Lunch Friday at The Standard, sunset drinks Friday at Smith & Wollensky, dinner Friday at Michaels or The Food Gang. Saturday breakfast at The Pelican. Saturday lunch Nemo, Saturday afternoon or sunset drinks at Monty's (jump in the pool, it's surprisingly clean). Sunday brunch at The Ritz Carlton.

Oct 08, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida

sushi and seafood in south beach

I agree with tpigeon on Bond Street at The Townhouse Hotel, but the dungeon-like atmosphere is bit of a turnoff. I think the best sushi is at Shoji at 1st & Collins, and Sushi Samba on Lincoln Road at Pennsylvania - both have consistently outstanding sushi and sashimi, with Shoji having extraordinary specials and rare finds. They also both have extensive sake lists. Pricey, no doubt. For other seafood dishes, the clams at Sardinia, the fish & chips at Clarke's, the mussels at Oliver's, the salmon at China Grill, the crispy prawns at Nemo, the sea bass at Prime 112, and the seared scallops at The Food Gang on 94th.

Oct 08, 2007
ciao_hound in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Alternative to Taverna Opa?

A few years ago, my friends had an engagement party at Tap Tap on 5th & Meridian and it was a blast. They hired the Haitian house band, the murals are really cool, the back left hand rooms are perfectly compartmentalized, the mojitos and Barbancourt rum drinks are really good. The downside - no hot guys, the food will be tasty but not spectacular, and the service will be "island charming" as they say. If your friends are fun, bring the party with you, then walk across the street to Love/Hate for some rock & roll, or China Grill for something swankier. Just a thought.

Oct 07, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida

An Issue with Hofbrau on Lincoln Road

Hoffbrau is disgusting. The beer isn't cold, the service sucks, and the food just plain sucks. Even our waiter thought and acknowledged that our food looked sketchy, but did nothing except smile and wander off. To make matters worse, schnitzel aside, when it comes to bar food basics, How do you screw up chicken wings? Is it possible? Yes, at Hoffbrau. Yuck.

Oct 07, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida

Sardinia for the first time...

We're Sardinia regulars and besides sometimes ignorant or sloppy service, the atmosphere, decor and food selection is really authentic and refreshing. The food is solid - we usually start with meat/cheese boards with Ripassa wine (deep, luscious red), then move onto braised quail and clams with giant couscous-type pasta - completely delicious. We've also had the rabbit and some pastas with lobster - really impressive.

Oct 05, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida

Food Gang- Surfside

We had dinner at Food Gang last week and got the tuna tartar, calamari, cod with mashed potatoes, and scallops - seriously awesome. Delicious, delicious, delicious. The wines are a bit pricey, but the decor is straight out of scandanavia via New York - great atmosphere.

Oct 05, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida

I hope I am not breaking etiquette... Italian subs

For the first time in years, I ate an Italian-style panini last week at Fresh Market in Coconut Grove. Rustic, simple and absolutely delicious, super toasted hearth bread, with salami's, pepperoni and capicola topped with melted provolone over tomato slices. I think it was like $7. They have them stacked up, pre-made, in the deli section, waiting to be thrown on the panini press. Definitely not American "sub-style", more European style, but go check it out. I did a quick check and there are Fresh Market's in Plantation and Coral Springs and their website is thefreshmarket.com.

Sep 30, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida

Pizza in Miami

Pizza Prima behind Nemo on 1st. The slices are great, but order an entire custom fresh pie for the freshest tastes. It is, hands down, 100% the best NY style pizza on South Beach. The crust is amazing, the sauce is perfectly sweet. Prima is the absolute antithesis of Pizza Rustica, which in my opinion, is disgusting slabs of 1 inch dough with little sauce and cheap ingredients designed to stuff you, not satisfy you (maybe with the exception of the BBQ chicken if you're wasted at 3am.)

Sep 24, 2007
ciao_hound in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Best Cheap Food in Miami?

Shorty's BBQ on South Dixie by Dadeland Mall. Rositas Mexican in Florida City. Oneburger on Alhambra in Coral Gables. Stoupsy's Greek downtown on SE 1st. Churchill's Hideaway Wed. curry night in Little Haiti. Cafe Bali indonesian downtown on 2nd Ave (weekdays only). You don't have to spend more than $10 in any of these places to get tasty treats.

Sep 24, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida

Best Cheap Food in Miami?

San Loco is on 14th between Washington & Collins. Except for the fact that they charge for chips and salsa (which in my opinion should be free), San Loco has solid tacos and burritos, yep.

Sep 24, 2007
ciao_hound in Florida