Kemal and I arrived at South Beach on Monday evening. We stayed at the Winter Haven Hotel on the northern end of SoBe. Definitely a quieter part of Ocean Drive but steps from the big blue ocean. The room itself was smaller than we expected, but the bathroom was super clean and AC was already on full blast. I only noticed a musky smell to the room, but that’s probably because of a combo of age and humidity. Only wished there was a pool with the hotel. Furnishings, exterior and interior designs of South Beach Miami are from the Art Deco time period. At night, the streets are lit up with sound, lights and people. First thing we did was walked down Ocean Drive to check out some of the restaurants. We stopped at Fox Cafe. The restaurant looked familiar, since I had been to Miami once before. I knew what I wanted!
Fox Cafe – 834 Ocean Drive
Half a dozen raw oysters on the half shell with ginger and cocktail sauce. Can’t say much since I prefer cooked seafood. I did manage to try one with alot of cocktail sauce. It was fresh and didn’t have a bad aftertaste.
Fresh chilled shrimps on top of cocktail sauce. We wanted to order seafood dishes since they’re fresh from the ocean. Shrimps were de-veined and chilled. A simple appetizer with only 4 large shrimps. Nothing really special about this though. For the price, I expected extra large prawns.
Creamy pesto sauce tossed with chicken and shrimp over penne pasta. Shrimp wasn’t overcooked and the chicken wasn’t dry either. Pasta was perfectly al dente and the pesto sauce wasn’t overpowering. Overall, a good pasta dish. Can’t go wrong with pasta dishes.
Lobster and shrimp filled ravioli with spicy sauce tossed with julienne red peppers. This was the dish I remember eating back in 2008 on my first vacation there with Rebecca and Clare. I knew I wanted to try it again. It had a creamy sauce and the raviolis were huge. Definitely not disappointing.
Overall, we had a okay food experience at Fox Cafe. However, our bill came out to plus $150 bucks. This included our extra large alcoholic beverages and 18% gratuity. Service was so so. We had to ask for bread, but our water was refilled on a timely manner. Would I come here again? Maybe just for my raviolis. I wouldn’t waste a dime on alcohol here. But when you’re on vacation mode, money seems to grow on trees.
Enso – 433 Lincoln Rd
On Tuesday morning, we both woke up early to hit the beach. Around noontime, we walked over to Lincoln Road, a street of expensive restaurants and design shops/small boutiques. Pet friendly and relaxing. You can always find music and side street shows.
Angus beef burger with cheese and arugula. shoe string fries. The french fries reminded me of mickie d’s shoe string fries. Service was again, so so. We chose to sit outside since it wasn’t tooo hot yet. I had asked for bacon and cheese on my burger, but when it came out, there was no bacon to be found! I skipped the bacon, but made sure they didn’t charge us extra for it. The beef patty itself was delicious. Juicy and moist.
My boyfriend ordered the classic alfredo sauce tossed with chicken breast and penne. There wasn’t much options for their lunch deals. It was suppose to be around 20 bucks/person for lunch. Cheap, for Miami.
Grillfish – 1444 Collins Ave
The hotel gave us coupons for this restaurant. Great choice! One of my favorite places to eat in SoBe. Interior design was beautiful. Soft, plush sofa seats with pillow throws. Very romantic. Bar area was large, great for social events. Waitstaff was friendly and attentive. They were knowledgeable and knew how to sell their specials!
Pink Lemonade Martini – Premium Citrus Vodka, Orange Liqueur, Cranberry Juice, Sugared Rim.
Tropical Guava Mojito – Premium Rum & Rich Guava Puree. Mojitos are all muddled with Fresh Fruit, Fruit Purees and Fresh Mint.
Steamed Clams in Creamy Garlic and Wine Sicilian Sauce. This was absolutely delicious. Even though I am not a big shellfish fan, these clams rocked my taste buds. Salty, garlicky, saucy. Yumm! I wanted to order more! Of course, we had to save our tummy.
Rack of lamb with seasoned russet potatoes. Now this is what you call a RACK of lamb. Unlike the ones from Buddhakan NY, these were the right portion for a good price. Well seasoned, both in meat and potatoes. A must try.
Grilled Shrimp Scampi over Linguine. The fresh seafood exploration continued. No regrets in this dish. I almost ordered a blacked fish dish and surely would of complained. This bowl of shrimp scampi was ginormous. My picture can be deceiving (only two shrimps, I first thought..) Under the 2 shrimps were more perfectly grilled and seasoned shrimps. With the taste, texture and portion – I was in scampi heaven.
Brownie Sundae with Caramel Pecan Sauce. We had to end a spectacular lunch with a bowl of ice cream sundae. It called our names the minute we saw it on the menu. Toasted pecans added a nice touch to the sweet and chocolate brownie.
Wet Willies – 760 Ocean Drive
After another morning at the beach, we desperately needed to cool off. One of the places Kemal was very fond of was a popular bar/restaurant that served alcoholic slush drinks.
“Call a cab” + “Shock Treatment” = “Superman” (pictured above)
All descriptions about their drinks are from their website.
Call a Cab® The name says it all. The grain house specialty. Made with Grain Alcohol* (153° or 190°). Try with Shock Treatment or Attitude Improvement and Sex on the Beach (Triple Play). Very Strong.
Shock Treatment Electrify the senses with this mix of lemonade, Blue Curaco, and Grain Alcohol* (153° or 190°). Try with Call a Cab® or Margarita for a Multi-Volt experience.
Gumbo – Their special of the day. Louisiana style. Spicy! The soup was made with turkey and andouille sausage, shrimp, rice, and red beans. Packed with spices, flavors and textures, this appetizer dish was wholesome and delicious. It was my first time trying gumbo and will definitely order this again.
Steak and cheese on a hoagie, served with Burger King type fries. The thin sliced sirloin beef was grilled and then combined with cherry peppers, american cheese, and caramelized onions. Originally, the recipe called for sliced mushrooms, but I prefer them off my steak and cheese! This dish was absolutely wonderful! The fresh roll was packed with lots of meat and cheese. MY kind of meal :)
Ocean’s Ten – 960 Ocean Drive
Love the vibe of this place! LIVE bands rotating every night, jamming to hit songs. Lights flashing everywhere. It was more like a club than restaurant.
Pina Colada – A tropical blend of rum, coconut, and pineapple.
Sobe Pina – A classic pina colada with a fruity addition of mango and raspberry.
Both drinks were good. I prefer the Sobe Pina for the mango and raspberry flavors. The server decided to add an extra shot of Barcardi Rum in each of our drinks ($2 extra) without telling us. I’m telling you, mad shady!
Spanish Style Seafood Paella is usually made with Spanish rice, shrimp, clams, calamari, mussels, Chorizo sausage, and chicken. So many varieties out there, so much flavor! Kemal was craving paella so we had to get it before the week was over. For the first time, he couldn’t finish his meal. I think it was because we had an late lunch and this early dinner just went over our heads.
I almost always end up with wings or crab cakes for appetizers. Since I wasn’t really hungry to begin with (still full from lunch earlier), I went with the crab cakes. For a whopping 15 bucks, these crab cakes were a major disappointment. No flavor and the seafood itself was dry! The red pepper reduction and baby arugula salad did nothing to add flavor to the dish. How I wish I had ordered something different.
Fatburger – 947 Washington Ave
After a morning beach outting, we decided to explore the other streets of South Beach. Washington Ave was 2 streets from the ocean, so staying at hotels on this street wouldn’t have been too bad either. There are lots of shops, eateries, restaurants, bars, you name it, on this street. Walking aimlessly and trying to find a good place to eat lunch, Kemal saw Fatburger! The Last Great Hamburger Stand. He said, it was a must try. It is a huge franchise in California. Queen Latifah owns many franchises of Fatburger! Many celebrities rave about it.
King and Baby Burgers and chili cheese fries. Truly mouthwatering and delicious! 100% fresh, pure lean beef makes up the patty. Juicy and bursting with flavors. There are other options to satisfy everyone. Turkey, veggie, and chicken burgers.
Soprano Cafe – 656 Lincoln Road
Back to Lincoln Road to try some more fresh seafood.
Miami Vice and Pina Colada. Same kind of frozen drinks offered in other restaurants and bars. Expensive =X I got a free glass from them.
Oysters Rockefelller came in half a dozen of oysters. They were baked with cheese and spinach on their shells. They mistakenly brought out a dozen! 20 bucks for a dozen and we really didn’t need to eat all of that, so we sent it back. Surprisingly good, we gobbled them down.
The Alfredo Shrimp Fettuccine and Chicken Parmesean were the most disappointing dishes we had ordered. Absolutely no flavor to the chicken or sauce or pasta! Terrible. We wanted to just get up and leave!! Spent over $50 on pasta – cooked wrong! Don’t eat at this place. I know we won’t ever again.
11th Street Diner – 11th Street & Washington Avenue
Honey Grilled BBQ Wings had a garlic basil honey coating that was sticky, sweet and tangy. It was one of the best wings I’ve had in a long time. If I could only get the recipe for this!
The Oven Roasted Turkey was featured on the Food Network in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Daily roasted turkey breast, cranberry sauce, mash potatoes and gravy, seasoned grilled summer veggies, stuffing. My kind of meal for a nap. This diner served the best dishes and was the most reasonable in terms of prices. I don’t have any pictures for this place, but they deserve all the credit for being simply awesome.
This concludes the foodie madness that went down in South Beach Miami. Just a reminder, if you’re heading there, you better be rich. Food, entertainment, and booze will add up.
– Charmin Bear J