Miami Foodie

My favorite restaurants are usually not super trendy hotspots. My general impression is that hip clientele tend to eat no more a few morsels of appetizers and cocktails, and are not wholly concerned about the food, and would rather use their attendance as a calling card of coolness. As a result, the quality of the food never usually HAS to live up to the reputation of the Restaurant Brand, per say…

Sushi Samba Dromo Miami Bar - From Sushi Samba Website

Sushi Samba Dromo Miami Bar - From Sushi Samba Website


One would think that Sushi Samba on Lincoln Road could potentially fall into this category of trendsetter, but definitely not the case. Everything on the menu is FANTASTIC…. Sushi with a Latin American flair, a recipe perfect for hot Miami nights! The cocktails are originally exotic and deliciously tropical, but you can never go wrong with their classic Mojito or the cleverly named “Samba Juice”.

I was not exaggerating when I said that EVERYTHING on the menu is fantastic… The tempura is light, crispy, properly done and presented beautifully, and served with several dipping sauces, including a Miso, a Chimichurri and the classic tempura. Tasty, but personally, when I visit Sushi Samba, I try to stay away from the basic dishes, leaning towards culinary concoctions that cannot be found in local sushi joints. However, do try the Green Bean Tempura!

Outside of Sushi Samba Miami, *Image Sushi Samba Website

Outside of Sushi Samba Miami, *Image Sushi Samba Website

My favorite dish of the evening was the Yellowtail Seviche… fresh, cool yellowtail tossed in ginger, garlic and soy, topped with shredded radish. Thankfully, the shredded radish soaks up the remaining soy/ginger marinade, because it was so delicious I was tempted to drink it with a straw! (IM KIDDING! I only do that at home…)

The Seabass Miso Anticucho is INSANE! Soft, tender, perfectly cooked seabass in a tangy miso sauce… There are several layers of flavor in this dish, subtle and smooth in the beginning, and then a slightly tart, almost tangy but also smooth layer enters second with the miso. This is what I love about Sushi Samba, each dish has multiple layers of flavor that compliment each other perfectly, but in an unfamiliar way.

sushi samba pan steamed pork gyozas

sushi samba pan steamed pork gyozas

My favorite roll was the bobo Brazil… “seared kobe beef, avocado, kaiware, shiso, red onion and chimichurri ponzu”…. Complicated, flavorful, tender, multi-layered and delicious, just like a self-empowered woman, the bobo Brazil reminded me of a Beef Negamaki/California roll with chimichurri sauce. The roll was filling, but not too heavy or dense. Delish!

MIAMI FOODIE RATING: 5 OF 5 STARS

Sushi Samba Dromo
600 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Phone: 305.673.5337

Define annoyance. Annoyance is driving up and down Rickenbacker Causeway 3 times, having to pay the same toll booth lady ALL 3 times, who CLEARLY recognizes you from less than 5 minutes ago.

Rusty Pelican - Key Biscayne, FL

Rusty Pelican - Key Biscayne, FL


We were in search of the Rusty Pelican in Key Biscayne, an off-the-beaten-path seafood restaurant that we had read rave reviews about, but at this time cursed it’s location and dismal signage.

The Rusty Pelican View

The Rusty Pelican View

Our bellyaching ceased once we entered the main dining room… we were immediately enthralled by the sparkling panoramic view of Miami. The Rusty Pelican is to Miami what the Waters Edge is to Manhattan, an amazing restaurant located adjacent to the city skyline.

When not eating, we were captivated by the shimmering neon skyline backdrop. The city felt grand, a perspective of Miami that I had not experienced before.

After ordering our drinks, the waiter brought us the most addicting breadbasket ever: thinly sliced pieces of Italian bread, toasted with butter and sprinkled with melted cheddar cheese, flavors perfectly melding together. Just like Pringles, “once you pop, you can’t stop”… and we didn’t… until the fried calamari appetizer was served.

The fried calamari was cooked PERFECTLY… tender, not chewy, the batter crisp and light, and served with a chipotle mayo, slightly spicy and beautifully complementing. My only suggestion would be to make the dip spicier, but that is a personal preference. Needless to say, we had already nominated this restaurant our favorite before the main courses had even arrived.

The wine was flowing when our main courses made it to the scene… I admit that I expected lower quality than what was served. Many restaurants in New York with great locations skimp on quality, but this was not the case. My two friends ordered Lobster Tails stuffed with crab meat… perfectly cooked, ample portions, deliciously seasoned, there was not one complaint about the dish from any of us… Perfect!

I ordered the Spicy Lobster and Crab Pasta – Lobster and Crab sauteed in a spicy lobster brandy sauce with prosciutto and parmesan cheese, over penne rigate. The dish was delicious as well, topped with shredded real crab meat, chunks of lobster blended into the pasta. Enticing, spiced beautifully, and again an oversized portion.

My other friend, who ached for scallops the entire weekend, satisfied her craving with the Shrimp and Scallop Scampi, served over a bed of fettuccine. A basic dish that is somewhat difficult to ruin, the scallops and shrimp were a good size and seasoned well.

This restaurant was truly amazing, the ambiance unparalleled. For the hours we were there, we felt like we were in a different world. There is nothing I appreciate more in a dining experience than feeling like I am on a journey, far from the everyday norm. The Rusty Pelican is definitely in my top 5 favorites of Miami restaurants.

MIAMI FOODIE RATING: 5 of 5 Stars!!

Rusty Pelican
3201 Rickenbacker Cswy
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
(305) 361-3818

Rosinella of Miami Beach is the Paesanos’s of New York’s Mulberry Street…. Basic, Home Cooked, Classic Italian food… on a budget!

Bacon, Asparagus, & Tomato Rissoto

Bacon, Asparagus, & Tomato Rissoto

Rosinella serves classic, no-nonsense Italian basics, which will more than likely satisfy your pasta or pesce craving without breaking the bank. Pasta dishes range from $10 to $18, Appetizers from $5 to $18, and Meats and Fish from $12 to $38, depending on the daily specials.

Fettuccini with Arugula, Purcini Mushrooms, in Garlic and Olive Oil

Fettuccini with Arugula, Porcini Mushrooms, in Garlic and Olive Oil


Do not expect frills or culinary showpieces… Rosinella serves up modest Italian dishes, standard wine and beverages, perfect for informal dining and observing the plethora of characters that Lincoln Road allures.

MIAMI FOODIE RATING – 3 of 5 Stars

Rosinella
525 Lincoln Rd
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 672-8777

Many great restaurants in Miami can be found in strip malls. Asaka Japanese Restaurant is no exception.
I pulled up to this tinted window establishment inside of a strip mall in Aventura, with my date. With raised eyebrows, and a held breath of doubt, I became slightly nervous, but all the more determined to prove him wrong.

Kani Crab-Sa - salad roll, with cucumber, crab, asparagus, rice wine dipping sauce.

Kani Crab-Sa - salad roll, with cucumber, crab, asparagus, rice wine dipping sauce.

Inside was a typical Japanese restaurant, but with low volume background house music, and about 8 patrons sitting at the Sushi bar, doing Sake shots with the Sushi chef… My kind of place!!

For starters we ordered the Kani Crab-Sa, a salad roll with PAPER thin cucumber wrapping chunks of immitation crab meat, and a slice of asparagus, served with a light rice vinegar dressing. The dish was light, tasty and refreshing, prefect for a hot summer Miami night. My only obvious recommendation was to replace the imitation crab with real whole chunks of crab meat.

Biscaya Roll - Yellow Tail, Tuna, Scallion Tempura, topped with Spicy Mayo and Eel Sauce

Biscaya Roll - Yellow Tail, Tuna, Scallion Tempura, topped with Spicy Mayo and Eel Sauce


My favorite rolls were the Biscaya roll and the Florida roll.

The Biscaya roll is large, heavy enough to constitute a full meal. Inside the roll consists of Tune & Yellowtail, rolled into rice, then dipped in scallion tempura, and topped iwth cpicy mayo and a sweet eel sauce. The outside is crisp, and the flavors dance together beautifully, almost addicting until the final piece remains. The roll would have been perfect, had it been cooked slightly less, so that the fish inside is still raw. Nevertheless, delicious and great quality sushi!

Florida Roll - Lobster, Lettuce, Avacado, Mayo Dressing

Florida Roll - Lobster, Lettuce, Avacado, Mayo Dressing

I also recommend the Florida Roll, the Floridian version of the Boston Roll, replacing the crab with Lobster. Refreshing, clean fresh lobster rolled with lettuce, avocado mayo is simple, yet satisfying, fulfilling anyone’s sushi crave.

Overall, the quality of the sushi was good, the service was friendly, and the vibe local. I would say better quality that Hiro’s, but not as extensive of a menu. If you are looking for a local sushi joint with quality sushi and not that long of a wait, this is a great place!

MIAMI FOODIE RATING: 3 of 5 stars!

Asaka Japanese Restaurant
20355 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33180
(305) 682-9331

Eno’s is wine connoisseur’s futuristic candy store. You purchase an “Enomatic” debit card, which allows you to walk around the entire restaurant and sample each of the wines, in Sip, Guzzle and Glass sizes.

Eno's Wine Bar - Wine Display with 3 servings options

Eno's Wine Bar - Wine Display with 3 servings options

The two managing partners, one French and one Italian, refresh the wine menu every 2 weeks. Igor Beghetto, the Italian managing partner, told me that the ample work and investment required to develop this unique drinkery was well worth it, for it is one of the only wine bars of its type in Miami.

My favorite wines were:

Fra Guerau Montsant Rosado 2006 – Sweet, fresh, light rose – a light wine that tastes of various fruits and berries

Appellation Chablis ControlĂ©e – a French chardonnay, with a fruity smell, yet dry, soft, rounded and finished.

Venezia Giulia Indicazione – Made in North Eastern Italy, this wine was robust, noticable tannins, less smooth finish.

Alvarinho 2006 – Portuguese wine, Dry and Robust, not a variety of flavors, but a distinct flavor.

Inside Eno's Wine Bar - Lincoln Road

Inside Eno's Wine Bar - Lincoln Road


Eno’s menu is sophisticated, and perfectly accompanies an afternoon or evening of wine tasting, with 3 to 4 dishes per course, courses including Hors Deuvers, Caviar, Fish, Pate & Mouse, & Cold Cuts. The patrons were friendly, young and cosmopolitan as well, and the staff was very attentive. And should your group have its very own debbie downer who opposes enjoying and sampling fine wine, they offer other beverages such as Coffee, Beer, and Soft Drinks.

Finding authentic Indian food in South Beach can be as discouraging as finding an single straight man a Celine Dion concert. Ishq, the touristy staple Indian Restaurant on Ocean Drive, will only dampen your Authentic Indian cuisine search, as well as leave you strapped for cash. But don’t give up just yet! My friends and I dined at Guru, and Indian Restaurant and Wine Bar located in the heart of South Beach.

Paneer Masala - Indian cheese in a creamy masala sauce

Paneer Masala - Indian cheese in a creamy masala sauce

I am as serious as a heart attack when I say that this was the most culminating Indian Restaurant Dining experience that I can remember. The atmosphere was that of a cozy East Village eatery, but the food was straight out of Mumbai. The sauces were luscious and vibrant, and the flavors distinct, robust, and well-balanced. After a glass of wine, the waiters served the side dishes of rice, which were beautifully prepared, and accompanied with a fruit-veggie skewer, and tiny cup of spiced broth… simple yet elegant. We were instantly drawn into the culinary whirl that owner Adish Jain had in store for us.

Garlic Naan with Yogourt

Garlic Naan with Yogourt

We were astonished once the main courses arrived. The dishes were simple, yet delightful, the main focus certainly the fresh, beautiful food. Throughout the ENTIRE meal my friends and I uttered the word “amazing” well over 35 times, in between passing our dishes and dipping poori and nan into each other’s curry.

Basmati Rice and Fruit/Vegetable Salad with Seasoned Broth

Basmati Rice and Fruit/Vegetable Salad with Seasoned Broth

I ordered the Paneer Tikka Masala, which is a hot, red, sweet sauce over Indian Cheese. I hate to overuse words, but ABSOLUTELY AMAZING… delicious, smooth, slightly spicy, full of flavor. Delish.

For dessert, Adish brought us Pistachio Kulfi, a pistachio ice-cream with rose syrup and pink jelly-sweet “noodles” on the side. The presentation, as the rest of the meal, beautifully simple.

Pistachio Kulfi - home made indian Pistachio icecream in rose syrup

Pistachio Kulfi - home made indian Pistachio icecream in rose syrup

He also brought us Gajjar Halwa, a delicious carrot desert that I had for the first time, and would absolutely order it again.

Gajjar Halwa - grated carrots, almond, raison prdding flavored with cardamon

Gajjar Halwa - grated carrots, almond, raison prdding flavored with cardamon

MIAMI FOODIE RATING:
5 of 5 stars!!!
MY NEW FAVORITE INDIAN RESTAURANT!

Guru
232, 12th Street
South Beach, FL 33139

Punjabi Baigan - north indian eggplants & potato in kadhai gravy

Punjabi Baigan - north indian eggplants & potato in kadhai gravy

Searching for a true New York pizza in Miami can seem like searching for the fountain of eternal youth. Without proper guidance, you are bound to run into your fair share of sauceless, burnt crust, dried out cheese pizza slices.

Steves Pizza; North Miami Beach

Steves Pizza; North Miami Beach

Well look no further. Steves Pizza, located on 121st and Biscayne Blvd serves up plain slices of New York style pizza that could easily be mistaken for Spumoni Garden slices in Brooklyn. The cheese and sauce mesh together perfectly, and the crust is crisp, yet soft enough for the classic pizza fold. The sauce has a hint of sweetness, but is not overpowering. The crust is thin, perfectly thin, leaving room for well over one slice.

The inside decor of this little gem could also be found in the boroughs, with old school wooden booths, walls decorated with graffiti, and the classic arcade game.

Steve’s pizza was first brought to my attention by a head chef of a well known south beach restaurant. Needless to say, I have not been to another pizzeria since (except for Pizza Rustica, which is only when I am in south beach).

RATING: 5 of 5 Stars!
Nowadays, its hard to find pizza even this good in NYC!

Steve’s Pizza
12101 Biscayne Boulevard
North Miami, Florida 33181
(305) 891-0202

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