Miami Journals

Miami: Lesser-Known Fun in the Sun

A January 2008 trip to Miami by Michael Green

Quote: Miami is home to a wide range of foods, from ex-pat Cuban to upscale fusion and even a great Jewish deli

Miami: Lesser-Known Fun in the Sun

Overview

Quote:
Known more for food-starved, bikini-clad models and clubbing than fulfilling dining experiences, Miami is nevertheless home to a wide range of foods, from expat-Cuban restaurants to upscale fusion and even a great Jewish deli. As a vacation destination for New Yorkers and second home for many first-generation immigrants, Miami has something for every taste. Here’s the short list for a great meal.

Quick Tips:

Best Way To Get Around:

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Best Upscale Dinner
Many people thought the departure of legendary chef Michelle Bernstein would be the end of this Miami mainstay. But to everyone’s surprise, Azul has bounced back, and the food is better than ever. Chef Clay Conley, a veteran of Todd English’s Olives, serves inventive dishes incorporating Mediterranean, Asian, and African flavors, with a heavy focus on the amazing seafood coming from the Miami coastline that Mandarin Oriental overlooks.
www.mandarinoriental.com/miami

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 8, 2008

Azul at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel
500 Brickell Key Drive
Miami, Florida 33131
(305) 913-8288

Prime One Twelve

Restaurant

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Best Steakhouse with a Scene
Prime 112 succeeds at serving up delicious, classic steaks—albeit within the bustling, tight quarters of a clubby restaurant. To go along with your steak (of which there are a dozen to choose from), eight different flavored butters are available, from foie gras to Cabernet and goat cheese. Be ready to battle for a reservation (and to struggle to balance your checkbook should you score one), but it’s truly worth it if you’re in need of a great cut of meat. To enjoy this “modern steakhouse,” you’d better be up for a scene; this is not the place for a quiet evening.
www.prime112.com

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 8, 2008

Prime One Twelve
The Browns Hotel
Miami, Florida 33139
+1 305 532 8112

Casa Tua

Restaurant

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Worth a Splurge
Part private club, part restaurant, this beautiful restaurant is designed to make you feel comfortable (hence the name “your home,” in Italian): The menu is laid out to look like a family scrapbook; the tables are communal; and each room of this converted home is welcoming. Expensive is an understatement, especially for Italian. A meal can easily run $100-plus just for food. But if you want to splurge, impress, or have some homemade pasta in an atmosphere you’ll never forget, Casa Tua is one of the best.
www.casatualifestyle.com

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 8, 2008

Casa Tua
1700 James Ave.
Miami, Florida 33139
(305) 673-1010

Villa Habana

Restaurant

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Best Cuban
For $5.95, Villa Habana Restaurant will give you one of the most authentic Cuban lunches in the city, provided that you are willing to eat meat. There are vegetarian options available, however few and far between. Yucca with garlic sauce is deliciously filling, while shrimp in garlic sauce is savory but leaves you wanting. Cuban sandwiches are always a surefire bet, and a cup of café con leche tops off an affordable midday feast.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 8, 2008

Villa Habana
3398 S.W. 22nd St.
Miami, Florida 33145

Sam's Deli

Restaurant

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Best Jewish Deli
Seasonal-expats from New York know not to expect Zabar’s or Carnegie Deli when they come to warm themselves over the summer months, but that doesn’t mean the demand for pastrami on rye, corned beef, and knishes isn’t strong enough to warrant a good Jewish Deli. For those craving mayonnaise-based salads (macaroni and potato), pickles, and kosher cured meats, Sam’s is just the place.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 8, 2008

Sam's Deli
740 41st St.
Miami, Florida 33140
(305) 538-1616

Tapas y Tintos

Attraction

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Best Latin Dancing and Dining
This tapas joint offers a select menu and a carefully chosen wine list of Spanish wines. Its real attraction, however, are the nightly shows—from DJs until 5a.m. on the weekends to tango and salsa classes. Also, Española Way is one of the nicest blocks to wander down South Beach, a small alley covered with local color (literally, murals line the blocks), sidewalk vendors, and outdoor cafés. Take a stroll, avoid the mega-clubs, and enjoy some Latin flavors.
www.tapasytintos.com
(305) 538-8272

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 8, 2008

Tapas y Tintos
448 Española Way
Miami, Florida 33139