The Miami food scene changes so fast even keeping up on Chowhound is a challenge, particularly for those of us living abroad. I'm looking for a couple of restaurants in the South Beach area to host 20-25 person dinners around my wedding in late December 2014. Half the guests will be foodies from LA and NY. First night I'd like to be fun with a great food, good cocktails and a reasonable wine list (we drink a lot!) and hopefully a full-on Miami vibe. I'd prefer to be "in the restaurant" and be able to order freely (vs a limited choice group menu), but I understand with 20-25 we may be limited on both fronts. Budget's not really an issue and I'm generally looking for a higher end place. A spot like Ola sounds great but reviews lately have been quite mixed; I hope that's wrong since I love D. Rodriquez from his spots in NYC and Philly. For the wedding night (Saturday) I'd like to find a private room for 25-ish. Thinking something like Scarpetta? The fiance's request is no steakhouse, no seafood-only and no Asian. I'm tempted by The Forge, but I just can't get a good read on the latest iteration from recent reviews on CH or elsewhere.
I'd also love any thoughts for a great Brunch spot for the same big group on Sunday. The Dutch looks good as does Hakkasan for dim sum, though I'm told Hakkasan in Miami isn't half as cool as the ones here in London that I love.
I appreciate all your help!