I was going to call this Miami’s best restaurants, but I had to include a Monroe County joint that I really enjoy. As usual, these are locally owned joints. I am not going to list giant national chains in my choices. And these are not necessarily the finest restaurants. These combine quality of food, service, price, ambiance, and the deciding factor…. “I LIKE ‘EM”. So here we go!
5. El Nachito – Homestead. Gotta love it! It made my list of top 5 Homestead restaurants because of the excellent menu, personal attention, and most of all delicious Tex-Mex cuisine! Did you try the seafood enchiladas or fried cheesecake yet? What about the banana burito? Tell Frenchie I sent you.
4. Sea Siam – Pinecrest. The first time I went to Sea Siam, I had the sushi. It was very good. Turns out that this restaurant serves two separate menus: Japanese, and Thai. When I tried their Thai curry, this restaurant became one of my favorites. Not only is the atmosphere very appealing, but the menu is reasonable. I am stuck in a rut, though. Every time I go (which is about once every two or three months), I order the Tom Kar Gai soup (chicken, coconut milk, and lemon grass), and yellow or green curry with chicken.
3. Sundowners – Key Largo. I love seafood and I love the ocean/bay. This restaurant is right on the bay side of Key Largo and serves seafood, perfect combination! This makes for an amazing place to eat as the sun goes down over the water. The food is fresh, service is very good, and the atmosphere in the evening is beautiful. Also, during dinner you can see tarpon feeding on shrimp and bait fish from your table.
2. Shinju Japanese Buffet – Kendall. Sushi can be expensive. Sushi bars can also be skimpy to big mealers like yours truly. Shinju is under $20 per person and it’s all the sushi you can eat made to order. You can take selections that have already been set out or you can ask the sushi chef to prepare something just for you. If you don’t like sushi, they have tempura shrimp and veggies, a hibachi chef who will prepare food you select, crab legs, and a Chinese bar as well. The chocolate fountain is definitely a winner with Marcela. The owner is also very friendly and funny.
1. Flanigans – Kendall Drive. This has become a statewide chain, but it started here in Miami. This is my favorite restaurant on so many levels. I love seafood – they carry fresh dolphin, grouper, and tuna. I love Bar B Q – they have the best baby back ribs. I love sports and fishing – there are TV’s everywhere piping in game that’s on (but the volume is all the way down), the walls are decorated with replica fish like snapper, dolphin, grouper, wahoo, sailfish, etc., they have pictures of great fishing trips where people can display their catches, and they have a beautiful fish tank that you can enjoy while you’re waiting for a seat. At each table, there are trivial pursuit cards available to keep you entertained. The service is always prompt and friendly although very down to earth. If you don’t like being talked to casually, you should tell them, because they are not shy. Of course, they put on a pretty good St. Patrick’s Day show, with a bagpiper in a kilt playing throughout the restaurant and bar followed by a leprechaun handing out green roses to the ladies. All the customers at the tables get into the show banging out the beat for the bagpiper too. It’s a blast.