Steak and Seafood
Red Fish Grill (9610 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables, 305/668-8788, 6–10 p.m. daily, main courses from $15) doesn’t have the best or the most innovative seafood in the Miami area, but the setting—in the heart of the wild nature of Matheson Hammock Park—is definitely one of the most beautiful in town. With outdoor seating only adding to the exceptionally romantic atmosphere, you may be able to overlook the middling fish and seafood dishes.
Far more appealing is the scene at Baleen (4 Grove Isle Dr., 305/858-8300, 7 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, dinner main courses from $20). While the Grove Isle Hotel in which Baleen is located may not be one of the better lodging options in town, the property’s isolation only adds to the atmosphere. Outdoor waterfront seating is both picturesque and romantic, and the indoor dining room is modern and elegant. Inventive preparations of seafood standards are made with an interesting blend of Asian and Mediterranean flavors, and the fish is always fresh.
While in Key Biscayne, a visit to Bayside Seafood Hut (3501 Rickenbacker Causeway, 305/361-0808, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., sandwiches from $7, entrées from $10) will doubtlessly be recommended by a concierge, taxi driver, shop attendant, or anyone else who hears the question “Where should we eat?” on a regular basis and doesn’t really care where you end up going. “The Hut” is quite popular and at first blush seems like an old-school waterfront seafood shack. But modern upgrades to the dining area (like air-conditioning!), interminable waits on the weekends, and mediocre preparations of super-fresh seafood suck away plenty of the charm that visitors may have experienced years ago. As a casual dining choice it’s not terrible, and the views are spectacular, but it’s doubtful that you’ll be passing along that recommendation to anyone else.
Monty’s (2550 S. Bayshore Dr., 305/856-3992, 4–11 p.m. daily, main courses from $9) is legendary for its stone crabs, but most of the other seafood selections are excellent as well. While most of the preparations are fairly straightforward, the kitchen clearly takes pride in their work, preparing fresh seafood (a marina is just steps away) and preferring to broil or grill your catch rather than fry it. In the spring and fall, outdoor dining is a great casual option, while the somewhat more upscale indoor dining room is a year-round choice.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition