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Casual South Beach near south of 5th

While FLB has many locations, 90% of them are in Italian towns and cities, and the one in MB (With DC, the only ones in the US) I think replicates fairly well the feel of a neighborhood place. We know the waiters here and they know us: some have been there since the opening.
I agree with you on Shoji, the quality is down and they aren't even that friendly, but it is a neighborhood place; regulars hang out on a Tuesday in August. Maybe Akashi (1st floor on 5th and Ocean) will do better?

May 13, 2009
viscalbarsa in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Asia de Cuba does not honor reservations?

OK, my bad. There seems to be unanimity on this one, so next time I'll just switch to decaf...Still, I can't quite see why later reservations should equate longer waits: the restaurant is half-empty by the time we arrive at 10:45 and the reason they won't seat us is ... oh, wait, they DIDN't give us a reason. Anyway, when we have an 11pm reservation at Michy's, arguably the best restaurant in Miami, they will seat us immediately at any time from 10:30 to 11:30, whenever the concert ends and we happen to get there. I have waited for a 9pm table, but never for an 11pm one.

May 11, 2009
viscalbarsa in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Dinner on Lincoln Road

I have eaten twice at each of Miss Yip and Philippe's, and, while my oriental wife will eat, and even praise, anything that comes with a bowl of rice, I have to say that none of these four meals will make it to my top 20,000. I go to China twice a year and I am hopelessly spoiled for hyphenated Chinese food.

Why is nobody recommending Quattro, and there are even posters advising to keep away? I can't think of another place with as consistently good food in or around Lincoln Road, or, for that matter, anywhere in Miami Beach. The original post talks about "date night". I assume they can splurge a little, Quattro CAN be expensive, but there is nothing quite like their whole branzino al sale, their polenta al tartuffo bianco, in season, and their rotating regional specialties. What's not to like? The service can be diffident, and the wine list is puzzling; but the food, I always find to be great...

May 11, 2009
viscalbarsa in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Tazin on South Beach (Miami)

I actually enjoyed my Tazin food. Went there a while ago, and they had only been open for days or maybe a week, and the host and service were all out of shape, but we thought the kitchen kept pumping out very edible stuff. It was only two of us, so the belly dancing and pumping music was not necessarily what we wanted, yet we had a good dinner and agreed we'd be back with a large group next time...

May 11, 2009
viscalbarsa in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Casual South Beach near south of 5th

Nothing quite like Fratelli la Buffala, a neighbourhood pizzeria that also has some pasta dishes and always great antipasti. 5th and Collins.
We also go to the Soji sushi place, Collins between 1 and 2, but this is more glamor-tourist
Puerto Saguas for greasy cuban breakfasts is perfect, if you like that kind of thing. It's probably in the guides because there are many tourists, but there is still enough local in it.
Ta-zin (5th and michigan?)is a new moroccan place, and it is inland, so is the Irish place, Clarks (2nd and alton), and it is a good rule of thumb that as you go towards the bay, the places are more local and less fancy/touristy

May 11, 2009
viscalbarsa in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Asia de Cuba does not honor reservations?

It's just me, or does a 25 minute delay in sitting a table qualify as a restaurant-no-show? Twice in one month AdC has done this to me (don't ask why I went there a second time) and both times the hosts reacted to my increasingly vocal recriminations as if I were a drone of an old uncle on T-giving day. They offered not a smile, not an apology, nor an explanation: the usnpoken message was that they were too cool to sit tables at the appointed time, and that there ALWAYS was a wait, and I should be happy mine was ONLY 25 minutes.

It's been a long time since something like that had happened to me (Pacific Time in Lincoln Road did it once around 1995 or so, and I didn't go back there for the next ten years; just in time to see it close)

Back to AdC: once we were seated, we ate food that was redolent of another time and another place, the 90's and China Grill, namely, and it actually managed to bring some good memories, while not quite erasing the sourness of the recption.

We had a good salad, chicory and mache, I believe, with crispy octopii or calamari, nuts of some kind and a lot of orangey-raspberryy dressing (yes, you have had this at China Grill ten years ago), a tuna tartar on nacho-like flaky pastry, only OK, a good codfish, not overcooked, crab croquettes that were strangely naff (more puerto saguas than baleen), and a couple other dishes that I forget. All in all, not terrible, but nothing to kill for. The price, if you don't order too much, which we did the first time but not the second, is about par for the South beach scene.

The service was OK, if a little indifferent. The second night, a 10:45 reservation resulted on getting a table at 11:15 and the appetizers around 11:45, we didn't get our main courses until 30 minutes after finishing appetizers; i.e. 12:30 am. The waiter blamed a group of 24 sitting in the iconic table by the entrance; apparently they have it for show; but when faced with actual patrons for it, the kitchen cannot cope.

The scene includes the hottest people on the planet, which seem to congregate there on Fridays (Saturday seemed much quieter), and maybe the punishment by host indiference, and endless waiting is the price you pay to find yourself in such beautiful company. When you get tired of people-watching, you can always enjoy the night-time Miami skyline, not quite the same as hungry pelican, but still.

I may try again in 2019 (if they are still around)...

May 03, 2009
viscalbarsa in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Miami in March

I am not sure that tapas is a concept that travels very well; and the only good place I can think of in Miami is La Dorada, where you have many appetizers that are usually served in Spain as tapas (navajas, fried smelt, clams, etc.), but the whole concept of tapas includes snails, and callos (veal stomach, anyone?) as well as chorizos and hams that cannot be imported. If you are interested in paella, I hear that now Ideas makes them on Sundays, and I assume they will be good (unlike any others in Miami).

I didn't know about the change of menu at Social. I doesn't sound good.

I enjoy my food every time at Quattro, and I don't even think it's too expensive. I have been there with Italians and they have liked it enough to return. I also like Alta Mar very much.

I forgot, my recommendation on O Asian Grill is to steer clear of it. The menu makes no sense, the food is unremarkable, the lighting is insufficient to see the food, and the service is unfriendly.

My recommendation for Asian food would be Tropical Chinese. Anyone has any better?

By the way, anyone has a recommendation for a good mexican place? (I stand corrected on Taqueria el mexicano)

Jan 11, 2008
viscalbarsa in Florida

Miami in March

Where is OLA now? I lost track since they left Merrick park and the savoy at the Beach...

Jan 09, 2008
viscalbarsa in Florida

Miami in March

I would skip the Boondocks Chispa and Casa Tua, but would not miss Romeo's, Sardinia and Azul. I am from Spain and not crazy about the tapas at Xixon, even though they are unfailingly friendly and sweet, and I often buy my paella ingredients there. If you are looking for Spanish food, try Ideas in the Grove, even though it is cold and uninviting, there is no Spanish food like this anywhere this side of the pond. For Latin-American cuisines, the best comes from Peru, and in Miami you can't do any better than Francesco's. If you really want to try Cuban, go to Versailles and keep pepto-Bismol around. For Mexican, try the taqueria El Mexicano in calle Ocho.
In my view, Michy's and Blue Door are still at the top, and Azul is close. When it comes to South Beach people-watching, instead of getting mugged for unedible food at Casa Tua, why don't you try Quattro, or Social at Sagamore, both more moderate in price, and so much hotter!
I didn't know Bouley had closed. It's a pity, the food was good, but way too expensive.

Jan 09, 2008
viscalbarsa in Florida

TOP MIAMI SPICE

Did any one mention Social at Sagamore? This was our best. Many choices: some old, some new, successful mix. Also Azul, excellent choices always. We developed the rule that we wouldn't ask for the spice menu if not offered: usually, when they hide it, it's for good reason. At DB Evolution we ended up spending rather more than we intended, but it was worth it; we ate very well from the regular menu, while at O oriental cafe, this resulted in an incredibly bad AND expensive meal after which we were asked to leave to make room for a large group!. Either way, in summer I won't go again to places that don't automatically offer you the spice menu: let them spend summer by themselves.

Oct 03, 2007
viscalbarsa in Miami - Fort Lauderdale