Miami Restaurants: Top Dish

10 Faves from the ‘Glades to Sunny Isles

Just back from a whirlwind trip to Miami to research a new guidebook I am working on – DK Eyewitness Travel’s Florida Family Guidebook

BIG sandwich at Big Pink

Between playgrounds and zoos, I made sure I had plenty of time to grab me some of that legendary Miami cuisine – the very definition of melting pot. From Everglades ‘gator tail to Brazilian churrascaria and over-the-top Italian, Miami restaurants more than cover the globe.

Here are the top ten dishes I tasted there lately. 

  1. Octopus ceviche at Cantina Beach, Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne.
  2. Conch and corn fritters with roasted yellow pepper puree at Ortanique, Coral Gables
  3. Fried green tomato BLT with jalapeno mashed potatoes at LuLu, Coconut Grove
  4. Three-guac sampler with nachos and chicharron at Cantina Beach, Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne

    Guac sampler at Cantina Beach

  5. Turkey reuben and homemade chips at Big Pink, South Beach
  6. Egg and ham quesadilla with café con leche at Al’s Coffee Shop, Coral Gables
  7. Dark chocolate and chile gelato at Dolce Vita, Coconut Grove
  8. Short ribs and pasta with marinara sauce at Kitchen 305, Newport Beachside Resort, Sunny Isles Beach

    Ribs and pasta at Kitchen 305

  9. Fried alligator at Coopertown (population 0008)
  10. Smoked sea bass at Jimbo’s, Virginia Key
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New-Lee Opened Restaurants

Lee County diners enjoy fresh options in 2012

‘Tis the season. No not that jolly one.  I wish. The one that brings flurries of lily-skinned snowbirds and tourists to our fair Southwest Florida.

Preceding them like sun before the storm has been a burst of new or newly designed restaurants on the horizon of the Fort Myers-Sanibel Island area.

I’ve made my rounds to a few, and happily report a great dining forecast for season 2012.

Get Funky

For those flying in to RSW in time for dinner, skip the airport food (although there’s a new-concept Shula’s Steakhouse opening there this week), and get thee to Funky Fish (8911 Daniels Pkwy., 239-362-2042).

Macadamia-crusted yellowtail snapper at Funky Fish

Brought to us by one of the meatballs behind Two Meatballs in the Kitchen, practically next door, this one doesn’t totally foresake Italian; its signature dish it borrowed from Meatballs, namely seafood fra diavolo.

It doesn’t take a meatball to realize, however, that this place is about seafood. (I heard that “duh!”) Try the Funky Spicy Shrimp appetizer and macadamia-crusted yellowtail snapper.

With a ceiling sealife mural and 3-D glasses to make it pop, live music, and a lively bar – this may not be funky in the old-Florida sense of the word, but it certainly makes its own rules. Read more of this post