Until the past few years new steakhouses were the big thing in Miami’s culinary scene, both home grown and others imports from points north (especially New York) and south (Brazil and Argentina). Though for me a juicy, Prime steak is one of the real pleasures in life, great seafood not only rates high on the foodometer, but we are, after all in Miami, a seaside destination.
When a new seafood restaurant opens I make a beeline for it, so when it was time to do a roundup of places for a great piece of fish, I was surprised to see the number of top picks there were. Most of these you’ll see have been written up in past blogposts (I’ve put an asterisk to the ones that have been featured here). So here is my list of seafood restaurant picks in Miami (a crib sheet which might be useful to your out of town friends ) and also a guide to pricing from Yelp.
La Dorada,* Coral Gables – Think classic European in décor and service, not surprising since the original La Dorada originated in Spain. The “mother country” is the source of the solid selection of fish and inspiration for the cooking style. You don’t hear much about them since they don’t promote, but they have their loyal clientele and their executive three course luncheon for $21.95 is one of the better deals in town. $$$
Mixtura, *Miami Beach – If you love your ceviche , look no further. Find 10 kinds including an original vegetarian choice as well as tiraditos and other Peruvian favorites. Monday through Thursday from Noon to 4 p.m. prices are 30% off. $$
La Camaronera, *Little Havana – We’re talking “real Miami” here in a super casual place. The thing to order (a limited menu) is anything fried: shrimp, oysters ,whole fish and sandwiches (grouper, snapper, seabass, lobster, and when in season, mahi mahi). Sides include green plantains, rice, pico de gallo (salsa) and house salad. It’s heavy frying, so not for calorie counters. $
Jardim de Portugal, *Coral Way area – Another seafood entry from the Iberian peninsula, Jardim’s Portuguese chef is known for his bacalao (cod) served over a dozen ways. My dish of choice, though, are their fresh grilled sardines. Teamed with a glass of Albarinho and I’m transported to the Algarve.$$
Estiatorio by Milos,* an outpost of the successful Greek seafood restaurant in New York, is all about best quality ingredients and simple preparation. You can choose your fish from the display. Non fish eaters will be more than happy with their excellent Prime Colorado lamb chops. If they’re a little too pricey for your budget, then wait for Miami Spice when they offer one of the better deals. There’s also a pre and post theater dinner special for $49 per person. $$$$
Fifi’s,* Miami Beach – This is the place to go if you’re in the mood for a whole fish as you like it. And if you like it fried, even better – as in fried pieces served off the bone. Ask for the catch of the day and you won’t go wrong. You can go in your bathing suit too, sitting in the sidewalk tables. $$$
La Gamba,* Coconut Grove – My newest “find” is the creation of a Catalan chef who knows about quality seafood. He gets his flown in from Spain. The specialty are shrimps served four ways – plain grilled, with garlic and parsley (to die for), with brandy, or chocolate . Like flamenco? It’s featured one night a week (the night changes so check with the restaurant).$$
Lure Fishbar,* South Beach – Designed like the interior of a luxury yacht, this is the place for fish and buzz, as in high energy. In the Loew’s Hotel, it’s usually packed, so be sure to reserve. Menu items to order here are crispy rice cakes– spicy tuna tartare and wasabi aioli , the seared diver sea scallops with truffled mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts and veal jus and the salmon with fingerling potatoes, oyster mushrooms and mustard beurre blanc .$$$
Seaspice, Miami River – Right on the river with a luxury yacht usually at anchor, Seaspice has the kind of setting and casual chic ambiance that visitors would expect in Miami. The fish is always fresh and well prepared, but this place is mostly about the place and the scene. $$$$
La Mar by Gaston Acurio,* Brickell Key – Seafood informs the menu at this newest outpost of Peruvian star chef Gaston Acurio. By all means get a table outside so you can enjoy the water view and skyline of Miami (and it’s quieter) along with fresh fish, quality ingredients, and all matters of preparation. $$$
Joe’s Stone Crab, South Beach – You know the story here.
One omission here is Prime Fish, relatively new, from the owner of Prime 112 and Prime Italian. I haven’t made it there at press time, but stay tuned for a review in upcoming weeks.
Photo from www.hauteliving.com