Cafes and restaurants are everywhere on South Beach. The problem is trying to decide which one to eat at first :-) This year we started on Espanola Way. This little street is lined with restaurants on both sides. During the week, the street is open to cars for part of the day. On weekends, this street is foot traffic only.
We decided on Oh! Mexico because it had the most inviting open seating area. We also like the large Tequila selection on the menu. The food was authentic Mexican and the portions fairly generous. One thing to note though, in South Beach, many of the drink menus don't have prices. It pays to ask...we didn't the night before and ended up with some pretty expensive Mojitos!
Deciding on where to go for dinner was easier. The Indian Creek Hotel opened its restaurant, Creek 28, in November. We wanted to check it out for YOU...our faithful RainyDayMagazine readers :-)
Creek 28 is so new--it opened in November--that they were still putting up the signs the night we ate there :-)
The staff at Creek 28 were not new to serving up a delicious meal, however. For appetizers, we sampled both the Steamed Mussels in Smoked Tomato Broth and baked Herbed Goat Cheese. Wonderful!
For the main course, some of us had the duck special...incredibly juicy seared breast of duck on a bed of lentils and greens (above left). Others had the Vegetable Pot Pie and the Shrimp Fattoush (above right, click here for a recipe).
We were pretty full, but we still managed to find enough room for the chocolate bread pudding and the baklava with poached dried apricots (above). The baklava was lighter than the ones we are used to in Boston and perfect for the meal we just had:-)
The next night some of our friends (May and Taidgh) in Miami joined us for dinner. They had recommended a place called the Art Cafe at the corner of 5th and Jefferson.
Nuccio, the managing partner, stopped by and told us a little bit about the restaurant. Since our table was right next to the excellent band I had a little problem hearing everything he said, but I did manage to gather that the cuisine is Italian, the head chef is Anthony Mansolillo, and the art changes all the time :-) All the tables in the restaurants are different. There are a few smaller rooms off to the side for more private gatherings.
Lisa and Jay both had the strip steak. Lisa must have liked it because it was gone in about three minutes! My cioppino was delicious. A spicy tomato broth and tons of shrimp, mussels, clams, and squids. Carolyn and May both had the mushroom and truffle pasta. Both later mentioned there were some bits of grit in the dish... too late to do anything about it. Taidgh had ordered his filet mignon rare, but it came well done. Our server promptly corrected the problem once it was brought to her attention.
Our overall experience was good and we would definitely go back, albeit in a smaller group (so we can hear each other). If you love art and Italian food, they'll have both at the Arts Cafe.