Located inside the comfortable boutique surroundings of the Indian Creek Hotel, Creek 28 (2727 Indian Creek Dr., 305/531-2727, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, main courses from $15) maintains the balance of trendy and relaxing that has made the hotel so popular. The outdoor dining area is sublimely romantic, with a gurgling fountain, tropical landscaping, and flickering tiki torches setting the perfect backdrop for Creek 28’s exceptional take on contemporary Mediterranean cuisine, which moves beyond traditional Greek and Italian fare and incorporates the rich meaty textures of Turkish cuisine and the light grains and delicate spices of Northern Africa. Most of the herbs and some of the vegetables on your plate came from the hotel’s garden. Start with their phyllo-wrapped goat cheese appetizer and move on to dishes like a mustard-rubbed pork tenderloin or butternut squash ravioli.
For more traditional Greek cuisine, head to Ariston (940 71st St., 305/864-9848, lunch noon–5 p.m. Sat., 1–5 p.m. Sun., dinner 6–10 p.m. daily, main courses from $8). Located in the Normandy Isles neighborhood, Ariston serves deeply authentic Greek comfort food, including spit-roasted lamb, massive grilled shrimp, and fish entrées as well as dishes like taramasalata that are unlikely to be found anywhere in town but here.
With outdoor seating and a reputation for some of the best homemade pasta in Miami, Cafe Prima Pasta (414 71st St., 305/867-0106, 5 p.m.–midnight daily, main courses from $14) can sometimes require a bit of a wait, especially on weekend evenings. The delay, however, is more than worth it, as the food—fresh and richly seasoned traditional Italian fare—almost never disappoints, and despite the bustling crowds inside and out, Cafe Prima still dishes up a good bit of atmosphere too.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition