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Restaurants & Bars 14

My Miami Favorites! Yours?

Steve | Sep 27, 199910:57 PM

Thought I'd let you know where I dine when in Miami which is at least once a year. Most recently ate at Soyka several times which is on Biscayne Blvd near the 50-s or 60's in the area they are rejuventating towards the downtown design district. Everything was wonderful, and is owned by the renowned restauranter Mark Soyka. They even have a very cool ecletic gift shop with great jewelry. Great atmosphere, good prices, good portions, open kitchen everything fresh. To satisfy my cuban cravings, I head to Pollo Tropical, fast food cuban. Don't laugh, it is the best! The best fried plantains, rice & beans, grilled chicken, at prices New Yorkers won't believe! The best locations are 163rd st in N. Miami Beach, and Alton Rd in South Beach as they make it a little spicier. Pollo Tropical would make a killing in NYC and especially Queens! For more upscale, I head to the Crystal Cafe in Miami Beach, wonderful food...have been eating there since it first opened, before it was discovered, so am treated extra special..but I still think quality is still there, although service can lag quite a bit. For upscale chinese, I head to Crysanthaneum in South Beach, shrimp schezuan is good, but really I go for two things I never can find anywhere else, crispy sweet spinach (too incredible to describe..and wontons with chicken in them with 2 different sauces that are unbelievably great). For downscale Chinese, I head to Canton they have alot of locations but this is the only reliable one that is always consistent. They have a bid menu but everyone order two things there, Honey Chicken & Canton Steak. Portions are huge so go with a group and share. Shrimp lomein is great, and their wonton is like a 1960's memory of a 3:30 sunday chinese dinner. This place is a classic. For Italian I head to Bugatti in Coral Gables on Ponce De Leon, great mellow atmosphere, simple menu...always order meat tortellini in mushroom sauce is my favorite..shrimp specials are always good also...although linguini with clam sauce is overly salty. They also make a killer ceaser salad-with sundried tomatoes and pine nuts. When I'm craving shrimp I head to Martha's on the Intercoastal in Hollywood for Coconut Shrimp, their linguine with shrimp is also great. It's a very old world Miami vibe which I like to get a good dose of! For more chic dining, I have had a few good meals at The Astor Place Hotel in South Beach. I hesitate a bit reccomending places in South Beach as every 6 months they seem to either be gone or have changed hands, and often quality. For Thai, I had the most fabulous meal at Thai House II Restaurant at 2250 NE 163 rd st in N. Miami Beach..doesn't look like much...but the Volcano Jumbo Shrimp were incredible. All the shrimp dishes were unbelievably fresh with HUGE shrimp, farm raised-grain fed, had super Tom Yum Goong soup...order spicy if that's what you like as they tend to underdo spice there. Can't wait to go back! For family style Italian, DiSalvo's has great garlic rolls and your usual italian dishes...very inexpensive great for a group! Had two great meals at the new Wolf Gang Puck Cafe at Sawgrass Mills Outlet in Sunrise. It was amazingly good. Even great Key lime pie. Mark's on Las Olas in Ft Lauderdale is upscale expensive-but excellent meal. Very noisy, though. The renowned Chef Allen's is very expensive, the main dishes are priced ok and delicious but the salads are nothing much and the appetizers are ridulously priced, as is the wine list. If you've got money to burn, give it a try...didn't like the stuffy atmosphere though. Would love to hear from others as I would love to find a good seafood place that knows how to do it gourmet style. Have unfortunately had alot of seafood disapointments in Miami. Would love to hear from others of their favorite finds, so I can check them out on my next trip. Happy Eating!

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