Should you find yourself in the Miami-Miami Beach area, say while visiting a progeny or catching a Sox-Marlins game, you’ll probably need to find some good food. And now that stone crab season is over, what to do?
Here are two local restaurants and one fancy one that can serve you pretty well.
The River Seafood & Oyster Bar, 650 S. Miami Ave., 305-530-1915
If you’re looking for good, fresh seafood, simple preparations as well as a few more complicated ones, go sit at the bar at this place. They say they get their seafood twice a day. While it’s not cheap, consider ordering a dozen oysters, asking for a variety in order to compare how different oysters can be.
Ask the bar tender what he/she recommends as they know the menu and the kitchen well. The River seems mostly to be a place frequented by folks who work in the Brickell area, as opposed to tourists or those loud folks who wander around South Beach. At least that has seemed to be the case over the three different bar lunches I’ve had there.
Oliver’s Bistro, 959 West Ave, Miami Beach, 305-535-3050
Here’s another place where I’ve only had (several) lunches, tho I suspect the evening meals would be quite good also. The prices are reasonable, the service is good, and everything I’ve seen come out of the kitchen has looked enticing. And you can find parking in the neighborhood.
Try their Caribbean seafood soup and one of their many, terrific salads. That’s more than enough to hold you til dinner, especially if you’ve had the good fortune to have someone get you a reservation at the restaurant described next.
The Villa by Barton G, 1116 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, 305-576-8003
This restaurant is part of a small, exclusive hotel in what use to be Gianni Versace’s Mansion on Ocean Drive. Barton G (Weiss) took over the Mansion in 2009 and has added a restaurant (see pix) in what use to be Versace’s dining room. The room has been maintained as it was during Versace’s ownership and remake, and the peppled, mosiaic walls and ten (?) tables are an unusual setting for a truly wonderful meal.
After a cursory look at the menu, just order the seven course Chef’s tasting menu. You won’t be overwhelmed with too much food, but every course we had was terrific, with some new tastes and with some preparations you probably haven’t had elsewhere.
There are also a few tables overlooking the mosaic pool outside the small dining room that look inviting.
Since the cost of the evening will put a dent in your progeny’s inheritance, it might be a good idea to take at least one of your ‘kids’ with you.
Last winter I also did a walking food tour of South Beach. I highly recommend it. You and Aunt Ellen would love it.