The Biscayne Times

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Oct 22nd
Dinners for a Laidback Date Night PDF Print E-mail
Written by Geoffrey Anderson Jr. and Dianne Rubin, BT Contributors   
October 2018

Food news we know you can use

 Pix_Dish_10-18or many couples, dining out is an experience. You dress to the nines and enjoy a night out on the town -- just the two of you. But sometimes, dressing up or spending hours getting ready can feel like a drag. You just want to sit down and eat.

On those occasions, a casual meal hits the spot. And Miami has no shortage of laidback locales for a relaxing evening. A prime example: Stanzione 87 (87 SW 8th St., 786-360-1852) in Brickell. The unassuming pizza joint is overshadowed by nearby Brickell City Centre, but sharp-sighted diners are in for a treat. Neapolitan pizzas come out in mere minutes, and there’s an abundance of red and white pie options, including the new mais -- a decadent prosciutto, corn, and four-cheese cream creation. Because of Stanzione’s convenient location, it’s easy to catch a movie or go for a scenic stroll after dinner.

In the Design District, another low-key spot in a luxury location has been making waves: St. Roch Market (140 NE 39th St., Suite 241, 786-542-8977). The food hall caters to all palates with a bevy of vendors that offer up tacos, pasta, sushi, and practically everything in between. Our recommendations for a memorable date: sushi rolls at Itamae and classic New Orleans cocktails at The Mayhaw, the market’s signature bar that’s known for its crafty concoctions. For dessert, we suggest you take the escalator down to Mad Lab Creamery (140 NE 39th St., Suite 137, 305-639-8178), where you can create colorful ice-cream combos that would blow even Willy Wonka’s mind.

Who knew an old hooker motel would eventually house one of Miami’s comfort food greats? At Blue Collar (6730 Biscayne Blvd., 305-756-0366) in the Upper Eastside, casual is their middle name. Items like pork and beans, four-cheese mac and cheese, and chicken parm will easily put you and your better half into a food coma; the unpretentious eatery isn’t shy about its large, carb-heavy plates. A reasonably priced wine and beer list seals the deal when it comes to keeping the evening’s conversation flowing.

Aventura Mall’s new wing continues to bolster the city’s culinary reputation with new additions. Must be contagious. Across the street from the mall: 800° Woodfired Kitchen (2956 NE 199th St., Suite C-3, 305-902-4363), the eatery from Miami Heat stars Dwyane Wade and Udonis that we previewed last month. The menu here is concise and mostly composed of rotisserie offerings -- get the prime rib -- and pizzas that are perfect for sharing and getting up close with your partner. There’s even a burger named after Wade himself with truffle cheese, bacon, and roasted garlic aioli; make sure to split it.

 

OPENINGS

While the celebrity-backed 800° Woodfired Kitchen is arguably the most newsworthy restaurant to pop up lately, other notable openings should not be overlooked.

Vista (5020 NE 2nd Ave., 305-405-7547), from the team behind downtown’s Fratelli Milano, has come out of the gate swinging with all-day brunch, lunch, and rooftop menus. This Italian restaurant, just north of the Design District, puts less emphasis on pasta and more emphasis on proteins like rib-eye steak, wagyu sirloin bavette, and local snapper. Vegetables also earn a big placement on the menu: Organic kale and Sicilian fennel are flavorful starters that deserve your attention. There’s even a kid’s menu with fish tenders and sliders to keep your little ones busy in case you can’t escape them.

Bodega Taqueria y Tequila (2250 NW 2nd Ave.), the popular Miami Beach taco joint, has made the trek over the causeway. Its new food truck has found a home at Wynwood Marketplace, a weekly pop-up space that features a fun lineup of live entertainment and food vendors. Like its brick-and-mortar location, the Bodega food truck will feature crowd favorites like tacos al pastor, chicken burritos, and Nutella churros. What doesn’t it have? Alcohol.

 

CLOSINGS

Say goodbye to one of Brickell’s best happy hours: Doraku Izakaya and Sushi is no more. Mary Brickell Village’s post-work hotspot has shuttered without a peep. Those seeking Doraku’s discounted drinks and bites will now have to make their way to Miami Beach and visit the Lincoln Road outpost. Up in North Miami, Hot Mama Kitchen and Campania Coal Fired Pizza have also ceased operations.

 

Geoffrey Anderson Jr. and Dianne Rubin are co-founders of Miami Food Pug, an award-winning South Florida food blog that fuses the couple’s love of dogs and food.

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