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Restaurants
Top 7 Most Popular Places to Enjoy Food

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Gordon Biersch
ph: (786) 425-1130

1201 Brickell Ave- Miami
 
American - Moderately Priced

The Scene
The cavernous space is divvied up into both a restaurant and a bar. The dining room is done in soothing earth tones with comfy seating and the requisite exhibition kitchen. The bar is all hard surfaces with a dozen or so televisions turned to various sporting events. Root, root, root for the home team.

The Food

Don't expect slimy Buffalo chicken wings or big piles of prefab nachos. You can get Gordon Biersch's signature breath-perfuming garlic fries and crisp, greaseless onion rings about the size of manhole covers but otherwise, you don't eat, you dine. Take your pick from fork-tender filet mignon with portobello-infused demiglace, seared raw ahi with zippy ponzu sauce, or lamb chops imbued with Moroccan spices and served with tomato-cucumber raita. For dessert, two words: bread pudding. Tastes great, more filling.

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Liaison
ph:
(305) 538-1055


1436 Drexel Ave- Miami
   American - Affordable

The Scene
Food-savvy locals know that this chic little restaurant is not only one of South Beach's best but one of its best values. The same clean, arty style that chef/owner Kris Wessel brings to his New Orleans with a tropical twist cuisine also suffuses the minimalist dining room, which boasts mottled gray walls hung with Magritte-like paintings of apples and sexy modern furniture spread out on a gray concrete floor.

The Food
Whether as refreshingly simple as a salad of pink grapefruit, avocado and crab or as elegantly composed as sea bass with purple potato puree, fava beans and truffled shrimp bisque sauce, the food here satisfies both the palate and the soul. Wessel, the self-styled "executive cookaholic," is more polished than many of his better-known South Beach contemporaries, which he proves with dishes like crispy softshell crab with corn sauce and lusty rabbit with white bean fricassee. Desserts are very good too, especially the fab house-made ice creams.


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Cafe Demetrio
ph: (305) 448-4949


300 Alhambra, Coral Gables - Miami
 
  Cafe-Desserts

The Scene
Make sure you have time to hang out for a bit 'cause the atmosphere is always perfect, like a warm blanket you can wrap yourself up in.

The Food
Their salads are great too, as are their specialty sandwiches and rich desserts. Make sure you grab some home made ice cream, too, as you sit down for a game of chess (sets provided by Demetrio), a bit of the paper, some live music in their piano salon, or a gossip session with your girlfriends in the outside patio ... did I say gossip session? I meant business meeting. Whatever your plans, meeting here always makes things a little more pleasant.

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A Fish Called Avalon
ph:
(305) 532-1727


 700 Ocean Dr (Avalon Majestic Hotel)
Miami Beach, FL 33139-6220

  Northwestern American - Moderately Priced

The Scene
Pure South Beach, in all its exciting, enervating, energizing glory. There's a handsome dining room with a large bar that's probably the place for those who want a calmer dining experience. But for a real taste of the never-a-dull-moment Ocean Drive scene, snag a table on the outdoor patio or in the heart of the crush on the sidewalk. Luckily, one thing about Avalon that isn't pure South Beach is the personable, non-attitudinal service.

The Food
The seafood-oriented menu trots all over the culinary globe, from Frenchified dishes like salmon wrapped in puff pastry (surprisingly light and quite good) to Japanese-style seared/raw tuna with ponzu sauce and stir-fried veggies (fresh-tasting but tending toward bland). Snapper with black bean salsa and orange sauce is solid Floribbean cookery and fun to eat. Start with spicy, succulent "Bang Bang Shrimp" or a fine tropical calamari salad; end with a suave key lime pie.

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Les Halles
ph: (305) 461-1099


 2415 Ponce De Leon Blvd.
Coral Gables, FL 33134

  French - Affordable


The Scene
The well-heeled diners appreciate the modest and moderately priced menu and casual bistro atmosphere, especially in an area jammed with overpriced, stuffy eateries. Of course, they come for the excellent food as well. The compact tables are packed a bit too tightly in this narrow corridor of a restaurant making private conversations nearly impossible. So enjoy the lively atmosphere and the best of everything French, especially the impressive wine list.

The Food
For starters, try the grilled calamari with a tangy ratatouille, steamed mussels in white wine and garlic or the rich and cheesy onion soup. In addition to fine lamb, chicken and pork dishes, Les Halles serves an outstanding steak au poivre with simply perfect pomme frites. Also enjoy one of this town's best steak tartars, a classic cassoule and simply divine creme brulee.


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Pizza Rustica
ph: (305) 674-8244


863 Washington Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139-5802

  Italian

The Scene
Italians often scoff at the way the Americans have mangled their recipe for pizza. But at Pizza Rustica, even the Italians marvel at these thin-crusted gourmet meals within a meal. This is the real deal--no thick, doughy, greasy concoctions here. If you want that, go to Pizza Hut. Instead, Pizza Rustica features several delicious, huge slices of gourmet, authentically Tuscan pizza.

The Food
Spinach and Gorgonzola cheese are in harmony with a bit of olive oil and garlic on a slate of the delicious, crispy dough. There's also four-cheese, arugula and rosemary potato, among others. If ever there was a designer pizza, this is it.



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Piola
ph: (305) 674-1660


  1625 Alton Rd Miami Beach, FL 33139

 
  Italian - Moderately Priced

The Scene
This is not your typical pizzeria and it doesn't attract your typical pizzeria crowd. Hungry students, slumming foodies, wandering tourists, curious Italophiles and those who just love good pizza jam Piola's chic, bi-level dining room, drawn by its pies' winning combination of quality, value, size and creativity.

The Food
Piola does pizza the Italian way, so expect crusts to be cracker-thin and pleasantly blistered from the wood-fired oven. Expect toppings to be applied judiciously, reflecting the sense of balance that characterizes Italian cuisine. More than three dozen pies are offered; among the best are quattro formaggio (Parmesan, brie, gorgonzola and mozzarella), a savory melange of delicate prosciutto and earthy porcini mushrooms, and an opulent "designer" pizza with smoked salmon and caviar. There's more than just pizza, though: hearty white bean and tuna salad, decent carpaccio and better than average gnocchi.

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