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Restaurants & Bars

Kalinka Gastronom -- Sunny Isles (NE Dade/A1A)

s.m. koppelman | Dec 15, 200208:35 PM

Of the two Russian grocery stores in this shopping center on the 18000-18200 blocks of A1A in Sunny Isles, Kalinka (on the southern end) is the better one overall: it smells good inside, for one thing, and has a bigger and fresher selection of prepared foods, including a steam table of hot dishes. If you don't want things to go, they do have five or so small tables and will serve you your food on real dinnerware with real utensils. Everything looked decent and fresh, from roast duck with cherries, lamb chops, a beef stew with prunes, stewed eggplant, stuffed cabbage, and the usual breaded cutlets, as did the salads. The hot food is $4.99/lb. with a typical plate-sized serving running around a pound. When I asked about soups, that did it. I had to have a bowl of solyanka, a meat broth dominated by coarse smoked sausage, pickles (yes, pickled cucumbers in soup) and in this case sliced black olives, garnished with fresh dill and a big spoonful of sour cream. It was very, very good; I also had a meat pirozhok (yes, a ground-beef-filled doughnut) that was decent but a little greasy on the bottom--someone didn't drain the pirozhki too well today.

Good stuff. If you're looking for Russian takeout (or groceries) in the North Miami Beach area, they're a good one, albeit not with the widest variety of stuff--there wasn't anything Georgian (chicken tabaka, satsivi, etc., though they did have bottled sauces if you're just looking to make it at home). They have the requisite 20 or so kinds of smoked sausage, smoked whitefish, cream-filled sheet cakes, and so on. For bread, they (and the other Russian grocers I've seen down there) carry the closest thing to a Russian/Ukrainian chernyi khleb I've seen produced locally--the sour peasant rye from Fort Lauderdale's German (Austrian?) Edelweiss bakery. Can't argue with that.

Additional notes: the same strip mall also has a passable Russian book and video store (there's another a bit better for music and a bit weaker for serious books a few miles south at the 16000 block), a couple of bar-restaurants catering to Russian tastes (both closed on Sunday afternoon), and a second Russian grocery store on the northern end of the strip mall weaker on the prepared foods, but with a stronger former-Soviet beer selection (ahhh, Zhigulevskoe..) and something like eight brands of bottled kvass and four kinds of Georgian mineral water (the salty stuff).

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