“Whining” and Dining in Miami
- 1) Food: (5 points) Clearly this is the most important! The taste, presentation, quantity, and quality. When I say quality I am looking at whether it is locally sourced, organic, and fresh. I am not interested in canned foods, foods imported from China, and skipping over the hard working local farmers and producers just to get a slightly cheaper and less fresh product. So I try to learn about the quality and source of the food as much as possible and comment about this whenever possible.
- 2) Service: (5 points) Parents do not have time to wait around and watch their kids’ good behavior and patience expire. Parents have nap times and bedtimes to meet. Even if you are not a parent, nobody likes to wait around just to ask for a glass of water.
- 3) Child friendly: (5 points) These are like bonus points; having adequate child friendly seating such as spacious tables and seats, booster and high chairs, having children’s activities and menu items, and just being friendly to kids are all welcome and important gestures to parents and families!
- 4) Ambiance: (5 points) We critique the ambiance in general in terms of being clean, nice, fun, friendly, appropriate for children, the decor and being overall impressive.
- 5) Value: (5 points) The price of the food for the quantity and quality received. For us we use a median of $10-$15 for starters (including salads), and $15-$25 for an entree. This is neither on the low end of the scale or on the high end. For that price we would also expect a generous amount of food, not a tiny slither of meat garnished with parsley and hollandaise sauce. We think this is a fair and average expectation for dining in Chicago and other big cities.
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Trulucks (Seafood, Steak, Crab) 777 Brickell Ave. 19/25 Come here for the ambiance and service. A high end, fine dining experience. Costly seafood entrees range from $25-$50. We strolled here with our sleeping infant ( a common and useful strategy if you only have an infant in tow) so it was really still like a date night.
- 1) Food: 4/5 Food was well prepared, and great in flavor. Seafood was local with some awesome crab! If you come here you must try the stone crab, it is fresh, succulent, and generous in size. The menu and flavor options are plentiful. We both trued seafood and not the steak so no commentary on steak.
- 2) Service: 4/5 We were welcomed and seated right away (7 pm) even though we had no reservation. Waitress happily and swiftly brought me a mug of hot water to warm my baby’s bottle.
- 3) Child friendly: 4/5 Because we only had an infant we had limited experience with this aside from being brought hot water promptly. They also accommodated our request for a large booth just so we could place the baby bassinet beside me.
- 4) Ambiance: 4/5 Beautiful, clean, elegant. Comfortable seating with large booths available.
- 5) Value: 3/5 It is costly seafood. Average entree costs $40, with the stone crabs being $15-$25 for each claw. It is however a good sized entree and a large claw, and the food is all fresh from their local and own fisheries.
Smith & Wollensky (Steakhouse, Seafood) 1 Washington Ave, Miami Beach. 19/25 Come here for the view and outdoor waterfront seating. High end fine dining steakhouse with an amazing view and ambiance! Perfect for fine dining with children and not embarrassing yourself. Save this place for a special occasion (expensive!) and be sure to sit outdoors it is well worth it.
- ) Food: 4/5 Good steaks and seafood, awesome desserts and drinks. Pictured above is my favorite, their molten chocolate cake oozing chocolate ganache.
- 2) Service: 4/5 Service is good. They come out enough to make sure you have everything. They did not mind me parking my stroller alongside our table we sat at outside. This is always a plus because I like to keep everything beside me and keep baby comfortably seated. The seating outside is spacious and pleasant. More on that under ambiance!
- 3) Child friendly: 3/5 Service was good and wait staff was friendly. I did not see a kids a menu or any other special features to welcome or occupy kids but our baby was in the stroller and only 10 months so we could not adequately comment on that. They did seat us in a nice spacious area outdoors and we were very comfortable.
- 4) Ambiance: 5/5 We cannot comment on the indoor seating, although it looks very nice and clean and elegant. Great AC and that is based on a quick walk through to the restroom. The outdoors seating is the best and our favorite in Miami. It is waterside and there is a large walkway beach path in which the kids can go play (if they are old enough) or you can walk the toddlers in if they get restless. It is just a major bonus to be able to sit outdoors in the fresh air which catching an awesome view of the water! Definitely an enjoyable experience and must for anyone looking to enjoy try beachside or waterside dining.
- 5) Value: 3/5 It is expensive steak and seafood, more expensive than Joe’s mentioned below, and even Trulucks. We only come here over the others simply because of the view and experience. For good and memorable seafood I would still say Joe’s is the place to go! Entrees start at $30 for chicken and $15 for a burger. But they are delicious, rest assured! As I mentioned above, come here for a special occasion. The experience, ambiance and food are all impressive and tie into the cost. If you include those things into the value, I would say it is a 5/5! It truly is a really beautiful area of Miami Beach!
♥Joe’s Stone Crab (Seafood, Crab) 11 Washington Ave, Miami Beach. 17/25 points. Come here for awesome crab, delicious entrees, and decadent desserts. Another high end seafood house. Always busy, be prepared to wait about 30 minutes to be seated if no reservations are made. 3 blocks from the beach and ocean front. This is a favorite.
- 1) Food: 5/5 Best tasting stone crab, seafood, sides, desserts, we loved it ALL! We have had stone crab, the sirloin burger, fried chicken, halibut, potatoes lyonnaise, crab cakes, salads, garlic spinach, sautéed mushrooms, and most of the dessert. It is all perfectly delicious. The apple pie a la mode and Key lime pie are to die for. The Key Lime is actually one of the best I’ve had. You must eat here! You could also do Joe’s take away which allows you to order what you want and take it to go which we LOVED doing and taking our food out on the beach 3 blocks east and enjoying the sun, sand, and ocean!
- 2) Service: 3/5 Service is average. They come frequently enough to not piss you off, bring the food promptly, and are professional. We have been “greeted” by an arrogant man a few times who first scoffed at my stroller informing me I could not bring it in, and then told us it would be a long wait. Other times we had a kind host who helped take my stroller aside and store it safely beside his stand as well as an excellent waitress whom I cannot remember her name, but will be back to post it if I do. In general, its fair service. That pompous host or manager just needs to relax a little bit.
- 3) Child friendly: 2/5 Not too friendly based on the fact that I could not bring in my stroller, which I can understand for space limitations. They did have crayons and a coloring book for the kids.
- 4) Ambiance: 3/5 A rather crowded restaurant, and if you are seated at a table not a booth it is not too comfortable. Very clean interior and seafood themed decor. There is an outdoor seating option which is a slightly different menu, but this is a great option to enjoy the weather and not have to wait too long to be seated. We usually opted to pick up the food from the takeaway station and go eat it on the beach 3 blocks east!
- 5) Value: 4/5 It is costly seafood, but you definitely get what you pay for here. Stone crab is not cheap anywhere in general. The crab is LARGE and filling. The sides are large portions, enough to share with at least 3 adults. The entrees and desserts are also large.
Big Pink (Breakfast, sandwiches) 157 Collins Ave, Miami Beach. 19/25 points. The best thing here is the fast and affordable delicious food . A casual joint in Miami Beach with great food, a fun atmosphere, and quick service. A great place to grab breakfast or lunch, take food to go, or grab a meal to picnic on the beach.
- 1) Food: 4/5 Great food, a variety of options ranging from breakfast waffles and omelets, to sandwiches, steaks, and seafood. We had the french toast, waffles, omelet, and salad and it was all great. The salad did not come off as the freshest ingredients however. But the breakfast foods were great and delicious! We hear that the chicken and waffles are amazing, and want to try that next time!
- 2) Service: 4/5 Fast service, and they keep your glass full.
- 3) Child friendly: 3/5 They have a kids menu, even though I like to order regular food and allow my daughter to eat like us, crayons, and lots of kid friendly menu options to either bribe your child with or allow them to choose what they want. Whatever parenting option floats your boat!
- 4) Ambiance: 3/5 it is crowded, but it is a casual beach joint, so do not expect elegant seating or ambiance here. It is nice and clean and a fun vibe however. There is plenty of outdoor seating as well to enjoy the amazing Miami weather (in the winter at least).
- 5) Value: 5/5 Great food, and cheap food! That is value! Most menu items are UNDER $11, and the only ones approaching $15 or $20 are the serious entrees, like the 8 oz filet mignon for $22- not a bad deal!
Perricones (Italian) 15 SE 10th St.: 20/25 points, come here for the excellent pasta dishes and romantic garden seating.This place is such a GEM in downtown/Brickell Miami. Funny thing is we lived ONE block away on 10th and Brickell and only discovered this place before we moved. We walked by it all the time and it never really caught our attention because it is almost hidden behind a jungle of palms, looks dark, and we just never though anything of it. But we were WRONG! Some of the BEST pasta dishes you will ever have!
- 1) Food: 4/5 Some of the best pasta dishes you will have! Dessert is wonderful too! We’ve had the Pasta pomodoro with succulent large shrimp and a perfect tomato sauce, the Spinach Ravioli with the pink sauce, the pasta with olives and feta, and the fettucine alfredo with sliced filet steak. Amazing! They also bring you delicious bruschetta, complimentary! They also have an indoor market and cafe in which you can browse or shop while waiting to be seated.
- 2) Service: 4/5 Fast service, attentive, generous with the complementary bread and bruschetta! Very helpful and accommodating to seat us with our large clunky stroller and things.
- 3) Child friendly: 4/5 Maybe it’s just the people but they are all so incredibly friendly! They don’t mind my stroller and babies and make sure to seat you so that you are comfortable. They offered a kids menu and were friendly with my daughter.
- 4) Ambiance: 4/5 This place has such an elegant and cozy ambiance. They have outdoor seating under the palm trees, but it is enclosed in a tent so that you are away from the bugs and heat. Strings of lit bulbs hang over head make you feel like you are dining under the stars. Live music playing from interior dining hall.
- 5) Value: 4/5 Great food, average prices, and large portions. I always had left overs to take home.
Monty’s Sunset (Casual, bar food, seafood) 300 Alton Road. 17/25 points, come here for the outdoor atmosphere and cheap eats. Located off the docks, you can catch a boat or rent jet skis and eat here before or after. This is a nice casual beach restaurant.
- 1) Food: 3/5 Nothing spectacular, just regular decent “beach food”. We got the mahi mahi and fried shrimp basket.
- 2) Service: 4/5 Fast service, friendly staff.
- 3) Child friendly: 3/5 Friendly because there is plenty of space for strollers and kids when sitting outdoors (we cannot speak to the indoors). They have highchairs, but no kids menu or crayons.
- 4) Ambiance: 3/5 Nice to sit outdoors on the dock and very casual. Reminds me of Bubba Gump Shrimp in Chicago, if you have been there before to compare.
- 5) Value: 4/5 Average food quality and decent prices. A great place to go with friends or out of town visitors! On the water, good food, fun and loud atmosphere, and decent average prices starting at $15 for entrees, $7 appetizers and salads.
Nikki Beach (1 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach). 14/25, come here for the beach ambiance; spend the day in the Sun and on the beach while lounging and being served food. Serves sushi, pizza, sandwiches. Check out that address. Yes, you read right. Located in the upscale area of South Beach, and right ON the beach. The only reason why we come here- to eat good food while sitting in comfortable loungers on the sand! This place is a nightclub and a restaurant. So I would not go here in the evening or at night. They have wonderful outdoor seating on the beach. Call ahead to reserve cabana.
- 1) Food: 4/5 The food is very good! You can get awesome sushi, sandwiches, or pizzas. We tried the pizzas and they were absolutely delicious. I did not know I like sushi at the time, but I wish I did, because it looked amazing! You can get some great drinks my favorite is the Miami Vice which is half piña colada and half strawberry daiquiri- perfect for those indecisive like myself.
- 2) Service: 2/5 Service was slow. We do not order alcohol and maybe that is why nobody was interested in us? Each time we came here they looked annoyed that we did not want a drinks menu or champagne and wanted to roll in with our stroller. Maybe they dislike non-alcoholic drinkers? Not sure. Not everyone drinks, they should know that. Remember when it was illegal to drink in America? Gosh lets not go into that rant…but just saying!
- 3) Child friendly: 1/5 Again, our baby was only 9 months at this time so we did not need food or much for her. She was asleep in the stroller. I did not see any families there with young children it. It seemed like we were the only ones, but I didn’t mind it and it didn’t seem like anyone else did either. I do not really feel like this is the place to go with kids. It’s all adults and some people are dressed in their nightclub attire already while some people are dressed in swim attire. So we did prefer sit far away from everyone else. I don’t think I would come here with my children next time unless we are sitting on beach chairs on the on the sand, further from the crowd with my kids playing in the sand which would actually be a very fun experience (the beach is huge and this part is exclusive so uncrowded).
- 4) Ambiance: 4/5 Aside from the less desirable adult/nightclub atmosphere and vibe this place gives, I loved everything. You are eating amazing food, sipping pina coladas and being served your meal on a beach. That’s right- your toes are in the sand and your faces in the sun. You can reserve a cabana ($25) a bed ($10) or beach chairs ($10) and umbrella by calling them in advance while you get to enjoy your food right out there on the beach.
- 5) Value: 3/5 Good food quality but a bit on the higher end of prices for sushi and specialty pizzas. Sushi rolls average $17, pizzas are also $15-20. Excellent selection of fresh seafood on the raw bar or hot appetizers!