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Italian restaurants in Miami

I also much prefer Macchialina to Il Gabbiano. Mike Pirolo's pastas are excellent, his polenta with sausage ragu may be one of the best dishes in Miami, he's got a really nice touch on his salads too (I like the broccoli al cesare and the escarole with preserved lemon especially).

If you're in Brickell, Il Gabbiano is certainly more convenient, but at some point you're presumably going to want to go to South Beach anyway. Toscana Divino is also much closer and does some very good things too, though I've not eaten there as frequently.

I will also put in a good word for Proof, a new place in Midtown. It's a short menu primarily focused on pizzas (many with somewhat unorthodox toppings like braised oxtail with black garlic or n'duja sausage and broccoli rabe) but the pizzas are excellent and the house-made pastas are even better. Fairly low prices, and fairly small portions on the pasta but that means you can split a pizza and get some pasta and not feel like a complete pig.

Edited to add: chef at Proof, Justin Flit, used to be a sous chef at Bourbon Steak in Aventura.

You can see some pictures from Proof here:

Wynwood Recs, Please

Brad Kilgore (formerly J&G Grill, soon to be Alter) is doing a series of pop-ups at Miami Cafe. I've been a couple of times and have really enjoyed it. The pop-ups have been 4-course, fixed price menus for ~$60 with an optional wine pairing.

More info on the Alter website:

You can see my pics from 2 dinners here:

Wood Tavern is a very casual bar - more of a place to have a beer than a cocktail (I got a G&T before going to the Alter dinner one night, because I didn't want to fill up on beer, and it came in a Solo cup) - with a very relaxed vibe and a little taco stand out back (I didn't try).

This thread doesn't mention Shikany, which is a fancier place than much of the rest of Wynwood, with a "modernist" bent. Some pics here:

Also might be a good option for someone looking for a place to have a cocktail.

Single diner in Miami

That's a great report. To fill in a few gaps:

- PB Steak is indeed gone.
- The former chef at Yardbird you're thinking of is Jeff McInnis, who is now at Root & Bone in New York.
- The chicken biscuits (with pickles & pepper jelly) are still on the menu at Yardbird, they've just moved: I think they used to be listed in apps, there's now a section on the menu for "The Bird".

[UPDATE] Vote for your favorite restaurants in Miami - Fort Lauderdale for "Best of 2014."


[UPDATE] Vote for your favorite restaurants in Miami - Fort Lauderdale for "Best of 2014."

Agree that all of those are worthy of nomination. If you're looking for nominees to add to that list I'd also include:


Eating House

(albeit closing next month


Hiro's Yakko San

La Mar

Single diner in Miami

Yes, North Beach is loaded:
Sazon for Cuban
Moises Bakery for Venezuelan empanadas, tequeños, cachitos, etc.
Buenos Aires Bakery for Argentinian empanadas and sweets (good churros, much better than Manolo down the street which is supposed to be famous for them)
Chivitoteca for Uruguayan chivito sandwiches (used to be called El Rey del Chivito, I haven't been back since the name change)
La Perrada de Edgar for Colombian hot dogs
Cholo's Grill for Peruvian
Las Vacas Gordas for Agentinian parrillada
I haven't been, but Carina Ost from New Times swears by Mi Colombia.
Not fitting the Latin American theme, but very solid, is Dolci di Sicilia, a Sicilian bakery.

All of these are within a couple blocks of the intersection of Collins Ave. and 71st Street.

Single diner in Miami

That's funny - I've never even noticed it.

Hakkasan Miami. Very good even by LA standards.

Where were you sitting? I've never even seen a hint of the kitchen much less heard it.

Website is confusing as to when & how they're offering dim sum these days. They don't even show daytime hours, but they have "Dim Sum Prix Fixe" and "Yum Cha Prix Fixe" menus for Saturday and Sunday lunch. Were they also doing a la carte dim sum?

Ironside Pizza

Very Neapolitan in style - thin, chewy crust that's almost paper-thin and watery in the center. Spot is really hidden away if you don't know the neighborhood - on NE 4th Court (a couple blocks west of Biscayne Blvd.) around 75th Street.

Where can I get Stone crabs in Miami Beach besides Joe's (who served me frozen claws twice)?

Yes, the freezing temperature of water is 32°F, but frozen foods are kept at a much lower ambient temperature - 0°F or lower. When you see fresh fish kept on ice at the fish market, the ambient temperature of the fish case will be (should be) right around 32-34°F, but the fish is not frozen. Go check your home freezer: the temperature should be 0°F or lower, not 32°F.

Where can I get Stone crabs in Miami Beach besides Joe's (who served me frozen claws twice)?

Which is why everyone cooks stone crab claws immediately and then cools and holds them on ice. Once the claws are cooked & cooled (which I understand typically happens either on the boat or at the dock) the deterioration process has not been stopped, but has been slowed down (which is why they do it).

But that still doesn't answer the question of whether it's then frozen or sold fresh. Once the fisherman has unloaded his catch and delivered it to a distributor (and been paid), he's no longer at risk of losing his harvest. It's solely a question of whether the distributor can move the product before it deteriorates, and there's a window of at least a few days before cooked, properly chilled stone crab would start to spoil. There's definitely enough time to get the product to a restaurant, retail shop or to ship overnight (as many places do).

LOTS of distributors and retailers and restaurants say they sell fresh, not frozen, stone crab, and I don't see any reason to believe that isn't true.

(I also don't doubt that there are chain restaurants buying frozen stone crab, but that doesn't mean everyone is.)

Just to be clear: putting crabs on ice is NOT the same thing as freezing them. Holding something on ice usually means temps around 32°F-34°F. Frozen is 0°F or below.

Single diner in Miami

TP, when were you going to tell me about the tripe at Macchialina? I feel like you've been holding out on me.

Single diner in Miami

That's a good list of comparisons.

Starting on the beach, you've got Hakkasan, Scarpetta and Michael Mina 74 in the Fontainebleau itself, and all of those are quality, "real" restaurants that aren't doing "resort food" (I know exactly what you mean). Hakkasan's regular menu often seems very pricey for what you get - the best thing they do is dim sum, but it seems to be always changing when they offer it (right now the website confusingly only lists dinner service hours, but they have two prix fixe dim sum lunch menus up as well). I've not been to Scarpetta since chef Nina Compton left. MM74 can be very good, but in my limited experience, somewhat inconsistent. There is a bar at Hakkasan, and I'm sure there's one at Scarpetta too though I can't picture it. MM74's layout, with a big bar, is probably the most conducive to solo dining. The wine list at Hakkasan is a lot more interesting than you'd expect for a Chinese restaurant. I don't recall the other places'.

Speaking of Scarpetta, another former chef there, Michael Pirolo, now has a small Italian place called Macchialina which is one of my favorite places on the beach. It's a little hard to get to because of Alton Road construction, but worth it. Short wine list but well selected. I also like The Dutch (which you may know from NY), Pubbelly, Lucali (another NY place), Sardinia, and Joe's Take-Away (Take-Away better for solo, though I suppose you could go to Joe's and sit at the bar too which is probably a good play to avoid the wait for the dining room). Tongue & Cheek is a place I need to go back to and try again.

Off the beach:

Michael's Genuine recently expanded their bar, which fits the bill perfectly. Their sister restaurant Cypress Room nearby is smaller, fancier, pricier, the food is more classical and the vibe is more "date place," but they've also got a great small bar where I really enjoy having a meal. Eric Larkee does a great job with the wine lists at both places.

Mignonette is a new oyster bar / seafood place with great quality stuff and a nice counter / bar. Beer and wine selection is very interesting as well. BlackBrick in Midtown for Chinese (lots of szechuan flavors) using high quality, often local ingredients. I always sit at the counter, you just have to be ready for occasional waves of chile-infused smoked coming off the wok. Makoto in Bal Harbour has very good sushi (and good cooked stuff as well) and a long sushi bar. Josh's Deli in Surfside for a new school Jewish style deli (but with pork!) with everything house-made is great for breakfast or lunch, and they're starting to do a dinner service a few nights a week too.

Where can I get Stone crabs in Miami Beach besides Joe's (who served me frozen claws twice)?

Captain Jim's in North Miami, another reputable seafood supplier: "#neverfrozen"

Also lying?

In case it's not clear: I highly, highly doubt it.

Where can I get Stone crabs in Miami Beach besides Joe's (who served me frozen claws twice)?

So multiple reputable retailers like George's and Triar are just outright lying, including in easily documented fashion on their websites?


Where can I get Stone crabs in Miami Beach besides Joe's (who served me frozen claws twice)?

George's Stone Crab, which is one of the better known South Florida suppliers, is pretty clear on their website:

"George will ship them to you overnight – never frozen."

"George Stone Crab doesn’t believe in freezing its claws."

Several other retailer websites - including some with their own fleets - also say they sell fresh, never frozen stone crab, e.g.:

(note the description there of them being "ice chilled" after cooking - which is not the same thing as freezing).

Because stone crabs are typically cooked immediately after being harvested, it makes sense that the product doesn't have to be immediately frozen (though of course it does need to be kept cold which is why they are stored on ice).

So clearly - not all commercial fishermen are freezing stone crabs, and if any chain restaurant is buying thousands of pounds of frozen stone crab per season, that's on them, not because it's all that is available in the market.

Tasting village at Cushman School Saturday 10/25

Cushman has done the "Halloween Howl" for years as an event for the students and families. Our kids used to go there (any moral opposition caved in the face of inadequate public school options) and it's always been a really nice event for the little ones. It's been years since they were there, and the food lineup would seem to be a new thing - as is opening the event up to the public. That is a pretty good lineup, good to know all that tuition money is good for something.

Best Thai in south florida?

There's no reason to go to Thai House 2 when you can go to Panya, just a bit west on 163rd St., or Ricky Thai Bistro, a couple miles south on 125th St. I think both are genuinely good - not just by Miami standards.

simple, delicious, local Miami fare

Thanks for the report, always great when folks follow up like this.

ETA - Ortanique many years ago was one of my favorite places. I think over the years the food has trended away from spice and towards sweetness and as a result is much less interesting to me.

Mandolin Aegean Bistro - Design District/Wynwood

Among the meze, all the dips are great, it's a tough choice between the "Greek Sampler" and the "Turkish Sampler"; Their grilled octopus is excellent; I also liked the stuffed zucchini, despite not being a huge zucchini fan. Their salads are always very nice - they have their own garden though it's probably too early in the season for it to be supplying the restaurant yet. We usually load up on meze, if I get a main it will usually be the whole grilled fish.

As for reservations - you might have to do it old school style and pick up the phone! (I'm pretty sure they do take reservations - no ticketing system though!). Note that I've been told they do not have a very accommodating wine corkage policy - but their list has lots of good choices in the $50 and under range.

Best Thai in south florida?

I don't know how this thread suddenly came back to life, but I'm relieved to see I already rescinded my recommendation of Siam Bayshore from several years ago and substituted Panya. I've now tried Ricky Thai Bistro a few times as well, and while I prefer Panya, Ricky Thai is very good too.

Tamarind Thai, which had been my standby just because of geographical proximity, appears to have recently changed hands and my last take-out order from there was a hot mess, apparently made by people who have no clue what Thai food is, even compared to the incredibly low bar set by most garden variety local Thai places.

Bachelorette party in Miami - where to eat dinner?

If you want to stay at the Fontainebleau, Michael Mina 74 downstairs has good food and a sort of clubby vibe that would fit the occasion. Hakkasan is good as well, Scarpetta was great while Nina Compton was in the kitchen (haven't been back since she's been gone); atmosphere is a little more staid than MM74 or Hakkasan. All are pricey but $100pp ought to be manageable (depending on how much you're drinking, which can quickly escalate things).

If you're looking to get out of the Fontainebleau, my first choice would probably be Bazaar in the SLS. The food at 1826 Restaurant & Lounge across the street is excellent too.

Where to eat besides Michael's Genuine

Panther Coffee in Wynwood (and now South Beach as well, in Sunset Harbour) for your coffee fix. If you go to Wynwood, also pay a visit to Zak the Baker nearby for a nice simple breakfast or lunch.

My favorite new place these days is Mignonette, an oyster bar & seafood place in Edgewater just north of downtown. Very good, simple, straightforward food, done right & with good products (their oysters are excellent). Open for lunch too.

In your follow up post you mention a few of my favorite places. I actually haven't been to Bazaar for a while but have never had a bad meal there - and if you're into Spanish wines their list is strong on that front. Macchialina is excellent as well, and the food at 1826 is very good. Those three are probably at the top of my list for South Beach, along with Pubbelly.

Oolite, a new place from Kris Wessel (formerly of the late, lamented Red Light) is also doing good things, particularly since you mention interest in local / organic sustainable: lots of local products on the menu, and the preparations are very health-focused (and entirely gluten free, which doesn't matter to me but might to some).

Cypress Room is great for a "fancy" dinner - or lunch, which is a better deal (their dinner prices can be steep). Miami Spice is over, but I think they still run a 3-course, $33 prix fixe lunch which is a great deal.

If you're off the beach, BlackBrick in Midtown is another one to consider, also a lunch option. Modern Chinese with lots of Sichuan flavors, and also some very good dim sum when they're running it (not sure if the full dim sum menu is available every day, or only Sundays, but there's usually at least a "Dim Sum Lunch Set" available if not).

Panther Coffee, Macchialina and BlackBrick all have outdoor seating.

simple, delicious, local Miami fare

I have not - will have to check it out.

simple, delicious, local Miami fare

I've always been troubled by how to spell "ungepatchked" (not sure that's right, but I know exactly what you mean).

You should check out:
- Oolite (South Beach)
- Mignonette (Edgewater, near downtown)
- Garcia's (on Miami River)
- La Camaronera (on Flagler close to Coral Gables)

I've not been, but I also hear good things about FiFi's on North Beach for a simple seafood place.

South beach this week! Need lounge dinner lounge ideals 40th B-day

The Dutch and 1826 are both very good calls. I actually prefer the bar in the Dutch to the W hotel bar but both are nice. 1826 has a bar/lounge area upstairs from the restaurant too. Regent Cocktail Club in the Gale is a very good classic cocktail bar. Bar Centro on the patio behind Bazaar is also fun. As a plus, all of these are fairly close to each other (The Dutch is a few blocks north but the others are all within about a block of each other).

Kosher restaurant near Miami airport

Your best option may be to head to Zak the Baker in Wynwood, which will be about 15 minutes away. It is a simple place, both food (menu basically consists of a about a half-dozen open face toasts on their excellent bread, a salad and soup of the day, and maybe a few other things) and format (order at the counter, eat at some rustic home-made tables) but everything is really delicious and satisfying.

There are also several places congregated around 41st Street in Miami Beach, which is a pretty straight shot east on the causeway from the airport.

Best Burger Miami-Ft. Lauderdale

I can't even begin to explain it. In a bowl, kind of balanced on top of some french fries.

Best Burger Miami-Ft. Lauderdale

Michael Mina 74 burger gets a serious deduct for being served in a bowl.

Montreal / Quebec City - 5 days - several questions


Quebec City (1): We had a very nice dinner at Legende par la Taniere. Exactly what I was looking for: very local and seasonal focus to the ingredients, done in a contemporary, creative style. With a few exceptions, almost all the menu is available in either 1/2 or full portions so you have a chance to sample a number of dishes. Standout items included a "from the fisherman" platter with about a dozen small samples of various cold seafood items, an elk carpaccio topped with tofu and seabuckthorn ice cream (sounds like a car wreck but it worked), and lamb fries (look it up if you don't know) with fiddlehead ferns and Jerusalem artichokes.

Quebec City (2): We also visited Aux Anciens Canadiens for something more old school. It felt a wee bit hokey, but we weren't completely surrounded by tourists (at least a few tables were speaking French, anyway). I suspect this isn't the best rendition of tourtiere and Quebec meat pie you'll find, but at least now I've tried them (and Quebecois pea soup, and pig knuckle, and meatballs, and salt pork grillades, and baked beans).

We took a brief drive out to Ile d'Orleans and I wished we'd given ourselves more time to spend out there, the area was very charming. As it was, we just let the kids pick strawberries for half an hour and then took off for Montreal.

Montreal (1): We chose Lemeac over L'Express as it was walking distance from where we were staying. Very solid classic French bistro. Smoked herring with potato salad, boudin with apples and celery root puree were both very satisfying. The only sort of miss, surprisingly, was the salmon tartare, which was somewhat bland (there's an option to get it with truffle oil, which we declined, as I usually find most uses of truffle oil sort of overpowering & cloying). Desserts were all very classic and very good (chocolate mousse, creme brulee, rum baba).

Montreal (2): Au Pied de Cochon. Sadly we'd missed the seafood season, which apparently finishes up very early in August, so no plateaus for us this visit. Too bad. I'm sure much has been said on this board about APDC, so I will just add a few hopefully new observations: (1) I don't hear many folks talk about the marinated herring dish there, but we thought it was excellent (I know, who goes to APDC for herring? We were missing the seafood platters desperately). (2) the APDC salad now includes sauteed duck hearts, livers and gizzards, in addition to the brick of pork trotter on top. (3) The $9 smoked meat sandwich "appetizer" special was delicious, and (perhaps needless to say given this is APDC) substantial enough to be a meal itself.

The kids ran out of steam one night and so I did not get to try to fill that "like 400 Coups" slot I'd asked about (we ordered in from Omnivore instead, which was some perfectly serviceable Lebanese food). I was very intrigued by the menu at Le Serpent, though, and would be curious to hear thoughts on it.

As for Portuguese, we didn't get to it this time either, but I did notice that people were lining up at Rotisserie Serrano in Mile End pretty much from the moment it opened, and by the smell emanating from the open door, I could guess why.

As for Portland -> Quebec City, we did not discover much worth eating along that stretch either.

Thanks for the suggestions and insights.

You can see pictures of these meals here:
Legende par la Taniere
Aux Anciens Canadiens
Au Pied de Cochon