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Archive for the ‘Midtown / Wynwood’ Category

ANGELINA’S

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

3451 NE 1st Ave
(305) 424-9129
angelinascoffee.com

Angelina’s Coffee and Yogurt is another casual choice along restaurant row on NE 1st Avenue.  Standouts are the “adult” grilled cheese sandwiches served with a side salad or chips. As the name implies, the classic grilled cheese is married to tasty ingredients such as hickory bacon and held together by parmesan-crusted sourdough bread.  Start with your favorite cheese, perhaps a Brie, topped with caramelized onions, apples, walnuts, and a bit of honey mustard on country bread.  The combinations are inspiring, and the result is a gooey, but crisp and satisfying take on an old favorite.  Eleven crepes, savory or sweet, and an enticing array of artisan flatbread sandwiches with names such as the Butcher, the Gobbler and the French Club, as well as omelets and waffles served all day, provide limitless choices for every appetite.

But we haven’t mentioned that Angelina’s is a coffeehouse destination serving organic Colombian coffee roasted in Sarasota.  For our java-obsessed culture, Angelina’s brings you espresso, Macchiato, Thai coffee and a lusty café Cubano.

Smoothies, frappes and organic teas too numerous to mention are a bright beginning. Polish off your meal at the self-serve yogurt bar and add a few fruits, sprinkles or candies.  The atmosphere is” Miami laidback” and the locals appreciate the free Wi-Fi and the works of art by Miami artists.

Monday – Thursday and Sunday:  8:00 am – 11:00 pm
Friday – Saturday: 9:00 am – 10:30 pm

BOCCE BAR

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

3250 Northeast 1st Ave #107
(786) 245-6211
bocce-bar.com

Bocce Bar occupies the location vacated by Sustain, and just a few steps down from Sugarcane on NE 1st Avenue in Midtown.  This is convenient for Executive Chef, Timon Balloo who has been at the helm of the kitchen at Sugarcane Raw Bar and Grill for four years.  Balloo also now presides over this newest Italian addition to the Sushi Samba empire. As the name implies, diners are indeed invited to play out front on Miami’s first bocce court while enjoying dinner al fresco.

Inside, a hostess graciously welcomes those preferring to dine in the main dining room, and leads the way into a large space adjacent to a high energy bar and directly in front of an open kitchen equipped with a brick oven.

A rustic atmosphere prevails, where rickety vintage wooden chairs, tables and worn tiles underfoot, complement mismatched mirrors on the walls.  The staff is very friendly and sometimes, a bit too helpful. The current epidemic of small plates continues here.  Semolina dusted crispy artichokes with mustard seed aoli is a palate pleaser; as was a rich polenta further enhanced by a poached egg and served aside brocolini to balance the richness.

The fromaggi section of the menu offers three cheeses for $22 and includes a ricotta di bufala with English peas, mint and truffles, taleggio accompanied by walnuts, and parmigiano Reggiano with honey and grapes. While Salumi  arrives with a radicchio marmalade and giardiniera, a relish of pickled vegetables. In the pasta category, two homemade pastas appear, pappardelle with mushroom ragu and spaghetti with Key West shrimp, shaved baby artichokes and bottarga.  Handcrafted pasta makes all the difference, but orecchiette with duck and butternut squash, likewise is a good option.

Moving on to the main dishes, the Brasato de Manzo, or slow braised short ribs lacked the intense complex flavors and the melting texture one expects.  Try instead, the lamb shank honey roasted, potato and citrus grilled leeks, or the Murray farm chicken, brick oven roasted with olives, cherry tomatoes and a pan jus you could devour with a giant spoon  This is the real star of the Secondi, bursting with deep flavor and a truly complex character.

One dessert is a must here.  Honey crisp cannelloni served with warm stewed strawberries and 25 year-old balsamic and gelato is a champion recipe not to be missed.  Bocce makes it’s own Limoncello and Amaretto in house, and has a large selection of specialty drinks, many take off from the classic Negroni with Campari as the point of departure.

Monday – Thursday: 11:30 am – 11:00 pm
Friday – Saturday: 11:30 am – 12:00 am
Sunday: 11:30 am – 11:00 pm

ENRIQUETA’S SANDWICH SHOP

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

186 NE 29th Street
305-573-4995

“Where do I go for some authentic Cuban food in the neighborhood?”  Enriqueta’s is all hustle bustle with a quick turnover.  Breakfast is served from 6Am and closes at 4PM.  They boast the best steak sandwich in Miami and most of the luncheon specials top out at $8.25. For an early hardy start to your day, go for the breakfast of tostadas, empanadas and or croquetas de jamon or pollo. The cafe con leche is “marviosa “and the “media noche”(ham, cheese, and pork on a sweet bread well toasted)is mouthwatering.  Daily specials are listed on the back of the menu and Friday’s roasted pork with “moros”(mixed black beans and rice,) corn tamale, salad and bread is the hot ticket.      Enrique Iglesias has often been sighted there.

Monday – Friday: 6:00 am – 2:00 pm; Saturday: 6:00 am – 2:00 pm

FIVE GUYS BURGERS AND FRIES

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

3401 N. Miami Avenue
305-571-8345
fiveguys.com

Another fast food spot that keeps it simple by serving tasty, juicy hamburgers made from fresh ground beef (never frozen.)  Bags of potatoes line the walls and peanuts are free while you wait for your order.  Aside from the burgers with bacon or cheese, all the extra toppings you want are piled on for free.  Even a little burger makes a big meal. The lunchtime crowd can often form lines snaking out the door.    Two types of fries are in the offering, either the house style or the spicy Cajun fries.  Hotdogs and grilled cheese round out the menu and while there isn’t a milkshake in sight, this no-frills joint provides a satisfying, quick meal .

Monday – Sunday: 11 am – 10 pm

GIGI’s

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

3470 North Miami Avenue
305-573-1520

www.giginow.com

A well-edited menu offers up urban chic Asian fare at a reasonable price. The chef, Jeff McInnis is a veteran of top chef and the Ritz Carlton. Your waiter texts your order to the chef, while you dine from communal tables. The design is minimal with steel columns and aluminum bistro chairs. Short rib meatloaf drizzled with soy molasses has already become the signature dish, but don’t hesitate to try the outstanding coconut infused risotto nestling a slowly braised duck leg accented with curry. “Gigi” bao buns, an Asian take on the ubiquitous beef ”sliders” come crowned with tasty pulled pork dusted with peanuts, pulled chicken with a smoky plantain sauce, or filled with shitaki mushrooms. Service is good and the waiters are knowledgeable concerning the ingredients and preparations. The dishes are, for the most part, quite flavorful and the side dishes, such as the cauliflower and Brussel sprouts, still linger in my thoughts. Nothing is over $20.00 and 25% of the menu is under $5.00.

The downside, for many a diner here, is the din of the chatter and bottleneck of human traffic waiting for tables, in a sliver of a holding area. Gigi’s is the latest from restauranteur, Amir Ben-Zion of Bardots, a lounge nearby, Sra Martinez and South beach’s Bond St. Sapporo and Stella Artois are on tap.

Monday – Friday: 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Monday – Thursday: 6:00 pm – 3:00 am
Friday and Saturday: 6:00 pm – 5:00 am

JOEY’S ITALIAN CAFÉ

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

2506 NW 2nd Avenue
305-438-0488
joeyswynwood.com

Hip eatery in the heart of the Wynnwood Art district (adjacent to the Design district.) with an open kitchen serving Italian specialties from the Veneto region. Chef Ivo Mazzone, churns out thin crusted pizzas and foccacia in his gigantic oven and crafts home-made pastas in the early morning hours to bring to you that day. You’ll find a side patio lined with trees and dressed with lights in the evening.  Local artists and gallerists frequent this noisy spot.  Many items are offered in half portions to accommodate a modest budget. Farmhouse fare includes oven-roasted Cornish hen, beef stew with polenta and cod with eggplant and tomatoes.

Monday – Friday: 11:30 am – 3:30 pm
Monday – Thursday: 6 pm – 10 pm
Friday – Saturday 6:00 pm – 11:30 pm

LATIN CAFE 2000

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

2501 Biscayne Boulevard
305-576-3838
latincafe2000.com

If you are new to Miami and want to experience real Latin food in a restaurant that looks like the real thing on busy Biscayne in a quasi-tropical setting, this is the ticket. Hearty helpings with choices so vast it’s best to bring a friend to share plates. You could start with desayuno fueled with café con leche and huevos fritos. My preference would be the lunchtime sandwiches, Espanol or Cubano. You can’t go wrong with the medianoche, pressed and toasted bread with either bolo ham (sweet ham) or turkey breast slathered with strawberry jam and cream cheese. At dinner, a pork dish would be appropriate; either fried, roasted or grilled. While embracing the cuisine, tempt yourself with a few croquetas of ham, pork and Swiss cheese, fried sweet plantains and the moros(rice and beans.) Specials are offered every day.

Monday – Sunday: 9:00 am – 11:30 pm

LIME FRESH MEXICAN GRILL

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

3201 North Miami Avenue
305-576-5463
www.limefreshmexicangrill.com

All the choices you would expect in a very casual Mexican fast food grill. Quesadillas can be ordered in half portions.  All the items are giant size, all the salads could feed a family of four.  Tacos, fajitas and burritos are complimented by the addition of house made salsas, from tangy and refreshing to three alarm. There’s even a few selections sized especially for kids.  Lime is located on a sunny corner of the new midtown shopping district, with lots of street side tables.

Monday – Sunday: 11 am – 10 pm

LOST AND FOUND SALOON

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

185 NW 36th Street
305-576-1008
thelostandfoundsaloon-miami.com

Don’t worry about dressing up for this unique hole in the wall, The chandeliers are wagon wheels and the mural on the wall is of the Grand Canyon.  Cowboy chotchkies and mason jar drinking mugs keep company with a life-size John Wayne cut-out found on the way to the restrooms.  There are tables on the sidewalk and happy hour draws a big crowd.  Be prepared to wait, service is slow.  The 20 hot sauces behind the bar are great accompaniments for the black bean burger on sour dough, the quesadillas or nachos.  Lot’s of vegetarian choices those old timers never thought of.

Monday – Sunday: 11 am – 3 am

MERCADITO

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

3252 NE 1st Avenue
786-369-0430
mercaditorestaurants.com

Southern Mexican style tapas in a handsome new space, continues to enliven the Midtown area.  A good place to start is the guacamole, either traditional or one of 4  alternative, inventive ways.  Jicama and mango or apple and tomatillo with almond and habanero add brightness and fire to this old standard.

There are 11 different tacos to choose from and three perfect ceviches to cleanse and cool the palate.  Save room for the main course,” platos fuertes,” where a chile relleno is stuffed with scallops and shrimp and drizzled with roasted tomato-arbol salsa. Don’t pass up the adobe marinated, organic chicken as too simple, it’s terrific-flavorful and moist. A nice lead-in to the mains are the “botanas,” or hot snacks of quesadillas, tostadas or flautas accompanied by tasty homemade corn  tortillas or lettuce wraps.  The service is friendly and able, so don’t be afraid to ask about the menu.

Monday – Wednesday and Sunday: 11:30 am – 12:00 am
Thursday: 11:30 am -  1:00 am

Friday and Saturday: 11:30 am – 2 :00 am

Mmmm

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

2519 Northwest 2nd Avenue
(786) 703-3409

An informal cafe called Mmmm, has sprouted just across the street from Joey’s Cafe and the Wynwood Kitchen and Bar.  It’s a Parisian interpretation of the small plates craze. Mmmm presents exceptional salads and sandwiches that are nuanced and urbane adaptations of American and French classics.

This venture is the creation of Parisian-born art collector Cathy Vedovi, whose family has been coming to Miami since the 20′s, when her French-Canadian grandparents would head South to escape the harsh winters. Vedovi was inspired by a similar Parisian tartine shop next door to the Poilene Bakery on the left bank.

This is where hot pink neon (the outdoor signage) and tropical banana leaves on the exterior set the stage for Miami’s introduction to the tastiest lunch to be had in the area. The focus is on “tartines”, defined and refined by the French as a “slice of bread.”  As in Paris, a perfectly toasted slice of poilene bread,  a country sour dough bread, is topped with choices that include filet mignon, salmon or pulled pork among others; and held together with amazing swaths of homemade mayonnaise customized for each protein.

Chef Alan McLennan, is a native of South Africa who knows how to balance the distinctive flavors, and his creative touches invariably work.  Chunks of mushrooms and artichoke hearts are paired with a lusty tapenade, thin slices of grilled chicken over lemony mayonnaise are finished with a sun dried tomato and micro greens.  Smoked salmon, on a tartine of course, marries well with grainy mustard mayonnaise, fennel and a touch of dill. Why not celebrate the contrasts of flavors and textures with a decadent glass of Billecart-Salmon Rosé champagne?

Four salads and one soup are presently offered and the three salads sampled measured up admirably to the mouthwatering tartines.  Shanghai chicken salad with ginger hoisin dressing on Nappa cabbage, Nicoise salad and Cobb salad were all extremely fresh and beautifully presented.

Salads and tartines range from $10-$15. A $10 lunchtime special is available, serving the soup of the day and a half portion of the tartine of your choice. Desserts include a flourless chocolate cake accented with a smear of fresh raspberry sauce and a coconut cake.  A big draw at the entrance is a cooler stocked with Azucar ice-cream made right here in Miami’s Little Havanna. Lavazza coffee makes a nice finish to an inventive lunch in a charming new dining spot. Outdoor dining is also available in the courtyard.

Closed Sunday
Monday – Saturday: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm

MORGAN’S AMERICAN

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

28 NE 29th Street
305-976-9678
themorgansrestaurant.com

Morgans, on the border of Wynwood and the upbeat MidTown area,  boasts a ”modern take on American comfort food.” Named after the owner’s Mom, this 1930’s home conversion features a wide, wrap around porch for outdoor dining and a small interior dining area with a minimalist decor.  The restaurant originally opened it’s doors for weekend brunch and the crowds flocked here for brioche French toast, maple basted bacon and” voluptuous” grilled cheese.  Lunch offers a wide range of sandwiches, soups and pizzas.

The dinner menu is an ambitious one for a small restaurant offering a wide range of options sure to please everyone, whether it’s date night or a family gathering.  Laquered wild salmon, coconut mussels and half a lemon grilled chicken, along with a NY strip and a Moroccan stew with merguez sausage are just a few of the oh-so-tempting entries. Service could be better; we’ll give them more time for training.  Weekend Brunch is still a very hot item.

Tuesday – Thursday: 11:00 am – 10 pm; Friday: 11:00 am – 11 pm
Saturday: 8:00 am – 11:00 pm; Sunday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

SABOR A PERU

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

2923 Biscayne Boulevard
(305) 573-9637
saboraperu.net

Miami now has a number of Peruvian restaurants, but this one feels like the real thing. From the moment you enter; you are confronted by clusters of Peruvian families engaged in conversations while sipping the traditional fruit juices, a glass of sangria or perhaps the native cerveza Cusquena.  The restaurant is small, and the tables are close together. Pictures of Peruvian families grace the walls. A poster lists all the fruit juices with translations into English.   The waitress offers to explain the menu with a welcoming smile.

Traditionally, Peruvians might start with papas a la huancaina, a saffron colored cheese sauce.  Sharing is an especially good idea here as with all the dishes as the portions are enormous.  Jump start the meal with a refreshing citrus marinated ceviche de pescado which was a striped bass on one occasion, then move on to the soups.  Two outstanding choices are the Parihuela, a fish and seafood soup that overwhelms the senses with a deep and lusty broth and overflowing with bass, shrimp, large and small, squid, and mussels, or the Aguadito de Mariscos, an exotic, bright green cilantro broth chockfull of seafood.

Serious carnivors should try the Lomo Saltado; the house recommended dish of beef loin, sliced, sautéed and served like a giant stew piled high with peppers, onions and French fries.

Parking is in the rear and several tables exist outside on busy Biscayne.

Monday – Thursday: 10:00 am – 11:00pm
Friday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 12:30 am
Sunday: 8:00 am – 11:00 pm

SAKAYA KITCHEN

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

3401 North Miami
305-576-8096
sakayakitchen.com

How about a quick meal that focuses on healthy alternatives to burgers and fries?  Sakaya specializes  in Korean barbeque with a limited menu  and specials listed on a blackboard.  Slow cooked (8 hour ) Berkshire pork on a clamshell style bun and short ribs  literally falling off the bone (hold the all too sweet honey sauce,)should prove a carnivore’s delight.  Try “Bulgogy,” the national dish of Korea, beef  marinated  in soy, sesame seeds, oil, garlic and sugar, wrapped in a lettuce leaf. The ginger, garlic grilled chicken  marries well with mesclun greens tossed in a superb salad dressing that could be drizzled on just about anything.  Sides feature the trendy kimchi,  a pickled Nappa cabbage,  coconut rice, and cucumber pickles made in their own kitchen. A selection of sake and Japanese beers are available.  A brunch of dim sum is offered on the weekends.

Monday – Saturday: 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm

SALUMERIA 104

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

3451 NE 1st Avenue
(305) 424-9588
www.salumeria104.com

Salumeria 104 is more than a pleasant surprise from another of the unassuming new restaurants lining 1st Avenue in Midtown. The restaurant showcases an extensive list of artisanal carved meats and cheeses which include: Prosciutto di Parma, Proscuitto San Daniele,  Cotto al Tartufo, Mortadella and Bresaola, as well as a homemade bufala, and parmigiano reggiano.

If you long for homemade pasta, you are in luck. The menu currently boasts five including Ricotta cheese cavatello, semolina gnocchi with Parmesan and crispy prosciutto, tagliatelle laden with a rich Bolognese sauce or ham in a cream sauce.  Porchetta, roasted pork loin wrapped in pork belly was dry on one occasion but braised pork ribs with broccolini and chick peas were tender and flavorful.  Like the other restaurants along this tree-lined street, outdoor dining is an added perk.

Monday – Thursday, Sunday: 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Friday – Saturday: 12:00 pm – 12:00 am

SUGARCANE RAW BAR GRILL

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

3250 NE 1st Avenue
786-369-0353

sugarcanerawbargrill.com

International flavors referencing Brazil, Peru, Japan and America are inventively prepared in a raw bar, tapas and grill format.  This large room vibrates with an attractive young crowd in a stunning modern setting.  Everything about this new addition to the Midtown dining experience is right. This recently established area has taken off and this restaurant is at the forefront.

Chinese, Trinidadian chef, Timon Balloo, formerly of Chef Allen, Azul and La Broche is leading the way. The snacks and tapas categories yield mouth watering bites like bacon wrapped dates, Kobe beef sliders with quail eggs, golden beets or Florida tomatoes and strawberries with burrata.  Instead of the ubiquitous chips, with one of the 30 rums and 40 beers, savor the shishito peppers. Fantastic!.  You’ll never reach for a chip again.  The robata grill, a Japanese invention fired up with bincho-tan charcoal, is used for everything from asparagus to Korean-style short ribs.  Crudos of Atlantic salmon, fluke or yellowtail are seldom found in Miami and provide a fresh, light course.  It takes several visits to sample all the categories on this extensive menu unless you share with a group of friends.  Sushi, sashimi and specialty rolls also deserve your attention

Sunday – Wednesday: 11:30 am – 12:00 am
Thursday: 11:30 am – 1:00 am
Friday and Saturday: 11:30 am – 2:00 am

THE CHEESE COURSE

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

3451 NE 1st Avenue
786-220-6681
thecheesecourse.com

Over 150 of the world’s greatest cheeses to choose from as well as a long list of sandwiches—applewood bacon, North Atlantic salmon, cheddar melts and an array of omlets.  One of the great options is the cheese plate organized by country or by category (mild, medium or bold,) The more adventurous can create their own combination and the staff will make appropriate wine pairings either by the glass or the bottle.  Even the salads can be chosen from a list of classic salads from 6 different countries.  This is also a retail operation with a great selection of jams, spreads, olives and honey from around the world.


Monday – Friday: 10:30 am – 9 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10:30 am – 10 pm

WYNWOOD KITCHEN AND BAR

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

2550 NW 2nd Avenue
305-722-8959
wynwoodkitchenandbar.com

Debuting during Art Basel 2010 is this American style brasserie in the heart of the gallery district. The bar and adjacent dining room reverberate with the murals and paintings of street art provocateur, Shephard Fairey and the abstract paintings by the architect, Christian Awe. Outdoors, a spacious courtyard provides a third alternative on one of Miami’s many warm weather days. Here too, murals capture the eye in every direction.

Wynwood Kitchen and Bar is the creation of the late Tony Goldman and his daughter, Jessica Goldman Srebnick. Tony, who was also owner of Joey’s Café in Wynwood, was the ambitious developer who helped transform Soho and Chelsea in NYC into hip cultural neighborhoods.

Small plates are a hit here. Crispy artichokes, tomato gazpacho accented with watermelon, the Mediterranean platter( hummas, baba ghanoush and tabbouleh ) and a seafood ceviche bathed in lemongrass and coconut are all outstanding beginnings.

The menu serves both lunch and dinner and covers all bases from a choice of 6 omelettes to hearty burgers of beef, tuna, turkey and more.  The clay pots such as snapper and mussel curry with charred pineapple and braised pork with garlic crumbs and mint were surprisingly good. Brunch is Saturday only.

Monday – Saturday: 11:30 am – 4:30 pm; 5:30 pm – 12:00 am