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NYC'er spending two nights in Miami. Recommendations?

JackHuang | Feb 13, 201203:40 PM

Three of us are staying in Miami, one night before a Caribbean family cruise, and a day-and-a-half after the cruise. First stay is in the Mandarin Oriental (Brickell). We're looking to grab dinner within a short cab ride of the place, breakfast within walking distance. Second stay is in the Doubletree (Miami bayside, next to the Venetian Causeway)--looking for brunch, dinner, next-day breakfast and lunch.

For the Mandarin, I'd prefer breakfast at an authentic Cuban place (maybe someplace dive-ish?), and dinner can be at someplace fairly pricey (<$70/person unless it's a truly standout menu, though). I've heard a few people mention Azul favorably?

For the second stay, everyone seems to rave about Joe's Stone Crab, so I'm open to heading over to South Beach for the day. But, I also see Sra. Martinez and Michael's highly lauded, and they're close to the hotel. Beyond that, the following names floating around similar recommendation threads sound interesting:

Alta Mare
de Rodriguez
The Forge

I'm completely in the dark regarding good breakfast and lunch options, though.
Generally, I'm looking for something I can't get in NYC, I'd like to avoid Japanese and Italian, and I'd like to avoid regular good ol' breakfast/brunch fare. Recommend away!

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