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MIAMI
Restaurants:
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  • Local and regional specialties
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  • The dining in Miami is such a multicultural smorgasbord that only a few natives know where you can still get mashed potatoes and gravy. Latin American cuisine is widespread, but Italian and Thai restaurants run a close second in number and there's no shortage of delis. There are still a few good barbecue places, and in Kendall, the yuppie haven, you'll find an occasional steak house. Because there's no nightlife in downtown Miami except for Bayside Marketplace, the restaurants tend to be concentrated in Coconut Grove, Coral Gables (an absolute madness of upscale restaurants for a town its size), Miami Beach and Kendall.

    The dress code for most places is this: Anything goes. Trendier Coral Gables restaurants like men to wear sport coats (ties not necessary, but often worn) and women to wear skirts or slacks. In the Grove, casual is the rule. Kendall is informal, oriented to commuters and families.

    Below is a sampling of restaurants in town. Expect to pay within these general guidelines, based on the cost of a dinner for one, excluding drinks, tax and tip: $ = less than US$10; $$ = US$10-$20; $$$ = US$21-$50; $$$$ = more than US$50.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | American  | Asian  | Continental  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Latin american  | Seafood  | Spanish  | Steak houses

    FAVORITE RESTAURANTS

    Casa Salsa—Puerto Rican superstar Ricky Martin got together with the owners of one of San Juan's renowned restaurants—Ajili Mojili—to open Casa Salsa. It's la isla del encanto with a SoBe twist. Try the mofongo (plantains filled with lobster, beef or chicken and laden with salsa). Lunch daily noon-4 pm. Dinner Monday-Thursday 6 pm-midnight, Friday and Saturday 6 pm-2 am. $$$. Most major credit cards. 524 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach. Phone 305-604-5959.

    China Grill—Celebrity watching is a common occurrence at almost any time. The excellent food is served up in large, family-style portions and sharing is encouraged. Monday-Friday 11:45 am-midnight, Saturday 6 pm-1 am, Sunday 6 pm-midnight. $$$$. Most major credit cards. 404 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Phone 305-534-2211.

    Christy's—Reservations are recommended at Christy's, but even then you'll see people standing out on the street sipping wine and eating cheese (courtesy of management) while they wait. A steak house in an elegant Victorian setting, it also serves classic dishes and good seafood. A Caesar salad comes with each meal. Monday-Thursday 11:30 am-10 pm, Friday 11:30 am-11 pm, Saturday 5-11 pm, Sunday 5-10 pm. $$$$. Most major credit cards. 3101 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables. Phone 305-446-1400.

    Larios on the Beach—This restaurant, owned by Gloria Estefan, serves Cuban fare and occasionally hosts live Cuban bands. It's definitely a place to see and be seen. Daily 11:30 am-midnight, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am-2 am. $$. Most major credit cards. 820 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach. Phone 305-532-9577.

    Norman's—This restaurant is upscale, but offers casual dining in an Indonesian setting. Chef Norman Van Aken's cuisine has gained national attention from his cookbooks Feast of Sunlight and New World Cuisine. His cooking employs a wide range of ingredients in unusual combinations, resulting in a fusion of Asian, Spanish and Latin American styles. Try the tasting menu to get a sample of several dishes. Monday-Thursday 6-10:30 pm, Friday and Saturday 6-11 pm. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. 21 Almeria, Coral Gables. Phone 305-446-6767.

    Red Fish Grill—Michael Norman of Christy's, the steakhouse, presents a seafood counterpart nestled in Matheson Hammock Park. Sauteed dolphin and grilled snapper are two favorites of locals. Tuesday-Thursday 6-10 pm, Friday 6-11 pm, Saturday 5-11 pm, Sunday 5-10 pm. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. 9610 Old Cutler Rd., Miami. Phone 305-668-8788.

    Red Square—Perestroika panache can now be found in South Beach. Try the blinis with caviar and creme fraiche, filet stroganoff or the spicy Georgian fried chicken. The service is impeccable. They also serve 150 different kinds of vodka. Nightly 7 pm-midnight. $$$$. Most major credit cards. 411 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Phone 305-672-0200.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | American  | Asian  | Continental  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Latin american  | Seafood  | Spanish  | Steak houses

    LOCAL AND REGIONAL SPECIALTIES

    Casa Alberto—Casa Alberto is a large, East-Kendall neighborhood restaurant featuring both Cuban and Spanish cuisine. Such dishes as malanga fritters, Galician-style soup and snapper in garlic sauce are served up with sides of black beans and rice. A terrific piano player entertains on weekend nights. Open daily 7 am-11 pm. $. Most major credit cards. 7190 S.W. 87th Ave., Miami. Phone 305-598-4800.

    Casa Larios—This Cuban restaurant is where singer Gloria Estefan launched her restaurant career. It's a neighborhood favorite, with a lively, hectic feel. Try one of the house specialites: ropa vieja (shredded beef in tomato sauce) or yuca con mojo (cassava in garlic sauce). Live Cuban bands play on some nights. Daily 7 am-11 pm. $. Most major credit cards. 7705 W. Flagler St., Miami. Phone 305-266-5494.

    Havana Harry's—Look for a Cuban storefront set in the middle of a block of fancy Coral Gables restaurants. When tables in those neighboring restaurants are nearly vacant, Harry's is overflowing—and with good reason. The marinated pork, chicken, seafood and bean-and-plantain basics of Cuban cuisine are exquisitely rendered. The cheapest item on the menu—"pork chunks"—may be the best pork you've ever tasted. Harry's flan and delicate bread pudding with coconut sauce are transcendent. Monday-Saturday 11 am-11 pm. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 150 Giralda Ave., Coral Gables. Phone 305-461-5903.

    Versailles—Versailles is one of the original Cuban restaurants in the Little Havana area. The place really jumps around midnight on Saturday night. You'll find lots of mirrors and bright chandeliers in an early '30s George Raft movie setting. Plenty of traditional Cuban food is on the menu, and pitchers of sangria are at the ready to wash it down. Daily 8 am-4 am. $. Most major credit cards. 3555 S.W. 8th St., Miami. Phone 305-445-7614.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | American  | Asian  | Continental  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Latin american  | Seafood  | Spanish  | Steak houses

    AMERICAN

    11th Street Diner—The 11th Street Diner was built in 1948 by the Paramount Car Company in Pennsylvania. Two friends decided to haul it to South Beach, completely redo it and add a bar and outdoor dining. For five years it has been a late-night gathering spot, serving large portions of all kinds of American food. It's noisy, nostalgic and nice. Open daily 24 hours except Tuesday midnight-8 am. $. Most major credit cards. 1065 Washington Ave., South Beach. Phone 305-534-6373.

    Gables Diner—The spacious Gables Diner isn't really a diner, but they whip up down-home food like chicken pot pie and meatloaf. They brag about their breakfasts—old-fashioned oatmeal, real home fries, flapjacks, eggs and sausages. You have to pay for nostalgia: The whole shebang may run as high as US$6.75, but after breakfast you won't have to eat for the rest of the day. Daily 8 am-10:30 pm. $. Most major credit cards. 2320 Galiano St., Coral Gables. Phone 305-567-0330.

    Shorty's Barbecue—It looks like a shack, but people come from miles around for the pork ribs. A south Dade institution, Shorty's has served up ribs and chicken as far back as when east Kendall rose out of the Everglades. Expect a family-style, noisy joint where you may have to stand in line during peak hours on weekends and summer holidays. Dadeland South Metrorail station next door. Sunday-Thursday 11 am-10 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am-11 pm. $. American Express only. 9200 S. Dixie Highway. Phone 305-670-7732. (Also at 11575 S.W. 40th St., phone 305-227-3196.)

    Wolfie's 21—This deli is to Miami beach what Nathan's was to Coney Island. Gone are the heydays of the 1950s when block-long lines of customers waited outside the door for mile-high sandwiches, buckets of condiments and towering desserts. The lines are gone and the decor is tired, but the food is still great. Go for a corned beef or pastrami on rye and some strawberry shortcake for dessert. Rascal House, another Wolfie Cohen creation in North Beach, is touted as better, but purists say that no deli compares to Wolfie's 21. Open daily 24 hours. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 2038 Collins Ave. Phone 305-538-6626.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | American  | Asian  | Continental  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Latin american  | Seafood  | Spanish  | Steak houses

    ASIAN

    New Chinatown Restaurant—Feast on Mandarin and Sichuan cuisine that's a favorite with locals. Recommended are the mouth-watering duck with plum sauce and orange beef. The service is excellent. Sunday-Thursday 5-10 pm, Friday and Saturday 5-10:45 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. 5958 S. Dixie Highway. Phone 305-662-5650.

    Siam Palace—This pretty little restaurant is tucked back from the street (far from downtown) and beautifully decorated with hanging orchids. Carved radishes and vegetables make each plate a thing of beauty. Food is fresh, tasty and may be ordered mild, medium or spicy. is a true gift to the senses and a bargain for the pocketbook. Lunch Monday-Friday 11 am-2:30 pm, dinner daily 5-10 pm. $. Most major credit cards. 9999 Sunset Dr. Phone 305-279-6906.

    Thai Orchid—Thai Orchid is owned by an artist who's made sure that the setting is as pleasing as the food. You'll find a creative menu featuring spicy sauces. Two popular dishes are pad Thai and chicken in red curry. The service is charming. Try the homemade beer. Daily 11:30 am-10:30 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. 317 Miracle Mile. Phone 305-443-6364.

    Two Dragon Restaurant—If you have a yen for Asian, visit this establishment located in the only hotel on Key Biscayne—the Sonesta Beach. Choose from Thai, Mandarin, Sechuan and a sushi bar. Peking duck and shrimp are their specialties. Daily 5:30-11:30 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. 350 Ocean Dr., Key Biscayne. Phone 305-361-0550.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | American  | Asian  | Continental  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Latin american  | Seafood  | Spanish  | Steak houses

    CONTINENTAL

    Forge—This restaurant is traditional, stuffed with antiques and art treasures and home to one of the biggest wine cellars outside France. Entrees include Norwegian salmon, Tuscany-grilled prime rib and roast duck with black currants. Piano bar entertainment is offered on weekends. Good bus connections are available from South Beach. Daily 6 pm-midnight. The bar is open to 2 am on weekends. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. 432 Arthur Godfrey Rd., Miami Beach. Phone 305-538-8533.

    Piccadilly Garden—Hungry for gazpacho, or perhaps a Mediterranean salad? Junglelike foliage fills the Piccadilly's pretty courtyard, complete with colorful birds and a flowing fountain. Inside, it's dark and publike. This retreat is in the middle of the Miami Design Center and wonderfully restorative after too much walking and gazing at furniture, pottery and lamps. Monday-Saturday 11 am-10 pm. The bar is open to midnight. $$. Most major credit cards. 35 N.E. 40th St. Phone 305-573-8221.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | American  | Asian  | Continental  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Latin american  | Seafood  | Spanish  | Steak houses

    FRENCH

    94th Aero Squadron—An old French farmhouse, dating from World War I, serves impressive French and other Continental cuisine. Try the Seafood Collage or Veal Marsala. Take advantage of their great early-bird specials. Monday-Thursday 11 am-11 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am-midnight, Sunday brunch 10 am-3 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. 1395 N.W. 57th Ave. Phone 305-261-4220.

    Le Festival—This elegant, widely acclaimed French restaurant has been serving for more than 20 years. Entrees include onion-encrusted red snapper in a white Madeira sauce, breast of chicken with raspberry sauce and a puree of chestnuts, and veal medallions with mushrooms, grapes and brandy cream sauce. Reservations recommended. Monday-Friday 11:45 am-2:30 pm and 6-10:30 pm, Saturday 6-11 pm. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 2120 Salzedo St., Coral Gables. Phone 305-442-8545.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | American  | Asian  | Continental  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Latin american  | Seafood  | Spanish  | Steak houses

    ITALIAN (INCLUDING PIZZERIAS)

    Peppy's—Peppy's is in a pretty building in Coral Gables and offers good food at modest prices. You'll be treated to impeccable and friendly (read "old school") service. Entrees like Vitello Amaretto—thinly sliced veal with Amaretto and peaches in a cream sauce—are not soon forgotten. Lunch Monday-Friday 11 am-3 pm. Dinner Monday-Thursday 5-11 pm, Saturday and Sunday 5 pm-midnight. $$. Most major credit cards. 216 Palermo, Coral Gables. Phone 305-448-1240.

    Rosinella—Gnocci, pastas and other well-turned Italian delicacies can be found at two choice and widely divergent locations—one on South Beach's Lincoln Road where you can dine outside under leafy palms, and another in downtown Miami in a tree-shaded enclave of restaurants clustered in the Brickell district. Rosinella herself has created the superb menu. Both locations open daily 11:30 am-midnight. $$. Most major credit cards. 525 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, phone 305-672-8777; and 1040 S. Miami Ave. (between 9th and 11th Streets), phone 305-372-5756.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | American  | Asian  | Continental  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Latin american  | Seafood  | Spanish  | Steak houses

    LATIN AMERICAN

    Las Molas—This is a great choice if you're on your way back from an official Everglades tram tour (the one leaving from Shark Valley) because it's just a few blocks north of the Tamiani Trail. In a green-bordered strip mall (tucked behind a Chevron station), this Panamanian restaurant is well worth any trouble it might take to find it. The stuffed red snapper is as beautiful as you've ever seen and as delicious as you've ever tasted. Also good are the garlic shrimp, pollo guisado, delicate bread pudding and a novel drink made of milk and hominy. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 10910 W. Flagler St. Phone 305-221-8833.

    Porcao Churrascaria—Branch of a famous Brazilian chain, this is a white-tablecloth restaurant overlooking the waters of Biscayne Bay. The unusual style of serving is called rodizio: Waiters parade past your table with a dozen different types and cuts of meat for your inspection. They slice off pieces you choose for your plate. On your table, a medallion with green side up signals "Keep on showing me"; the red side says "Stop! I've had enough." A buffet with inventive side dishes, seafood and salads complements the meat offerings. $$$. Most major credit cards. 801 S. Bayshore Dr. (Four Ambassadors Hotel). Phone 305-373-2777.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | American  | Asian  | Continental  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Latin american  | Seafood  | Spanish  | Steak houses

    SEAFOOD

    Fishbone Grill—Praised by locals as one of the best seafood restaurants, their chalkboard specials never disappoint. Try the pan-roasted crabcakes with smoky almond tartar sauce or the teriyaki salmon. Monday-Thursday 11:30 am-4 pm and 5:30-10 pm, Friday 11:30 am-4 pm and 5:30-11 pm, Saturday 5:30-11 pm. $. Most major credit cards. 650 S. Miami Ave. (downtown), phone 305-530-1915.

    Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant—This is the most famous restaurant in the county. Owned by the same family since 1913, this modest, plain structure is visited by presidents and the rich and very famous. Why? Joe's almost single-handedly invented stone crabs. The slaw, the key lime pie, the hash browns—they're all an integral part of the experience. It may be slightly overrated, but who are we to argue with such an icon? Closed from the end of July through mid October when stone crabs are out of season. Sunday and Monday 5-10 pm, Tuesday-Thursday 11:30 am-2 pm and 5-10 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am-2 pm and 5-11 pm. No reservations; expect a long wait. $$. Most major credit cards. 227 Biscayne St., South Miami Beach. Phone 305-673-0365.

    Monty's on the Beach—Located in the Miami Beach Marina, this eatery has a stunning view of the cruise ships along Government Cut. The three-story, Mediterranean-decor restaurant emphasizes seafood and stone crabs. There's fine dining, and a casual area, too. Sunday-Thursday 11:30 am-1 pm and 5:30-11:30 pm, Friday 11:30 am-2:30 pm and 5 pm-1 am, Saturday 11:30 am-2 pm and 5:30 pm-midnight. Free valet parking is available. $$$. Most major credit cards. 300 Alton Rd., Miami Beach. Phone 305-673-3444. (There's a smaller version in Coconut Grove at 2550 S. Bayshore Dr., phone 305-858-1431.)


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | American  | Asian  | Continental  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Latin american  | Seafood  | Spanish  | Steak houses

    SPANISH

    Casa Juancho—Located in the center of Little Havana (near downtown), this Spanish restaurant serves grouper steak with clams, roast lamb and fresh seafood. Good bus connections are available from downtown. Sunday-Thursday noon-midnight, Friday and Saturday noon-1 am. $$$. Most major credit cards. 2436 S.W. 8th St. Phone 305-642-2452.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | American  | Asian  | Continental  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Latin american  | Seafood  | Spanish  | Steak houses

    STEAK HOUSES

    Capital Grille—The Capital Grille sits near the mouth of the Miami River in a building sporting a US$4 million makeover. It's like an upscale men's club—dark wood walls, stuffed animal heads looking over your shoulder, cigars and brandy. The specialty is delectable, aged steaks, but you'll also find spit-roasted chicken and lobster on the menu. Lots of power lunches and expense-account dinners happen there. Lunch Monday-Friday 11:30 am-3 pm. Dinner Sunday-Thursday 5-10 pm, Friday and Saturday 5-11 pm. $$$. Most major credit cards. 444 Brickell Ave. (downtown). Phone 305-374-4500.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | American  | Asian  | Continental  | French  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Latin american  | Seafood  | Spanish  | Steak houses



    Information prepared by Weissmann Travel Reports
    Copyright © 2000 by Reed Travel Group. All rights reserved.




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