Miami is known as the place to go when you want to see and be seen. When I am looking for the comfort of an old favorite, I join the crowds waiting to get into Joe’s Stone Crab. When I want serene surroundings and water views, I head for the Zen-like atmosphere at Azul restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Brickell Key. For an exciting experience where the food presentation is as innovative as the decor, Barton G. is just the right place.
Joe’s Stone Crab
Every so often I take a deep breath and join the crowds lining up for a meal at Joe’s Stone Crab. This Washington Street landmark has been around since 1913, when it began as a lunch counter. Although there is an extensive menu, I can’t resist ordering old favorites like the namesake stone crabs in a creamy mustard sauce, creamed spinach, coleslaw and lyonnaise potatoes with sautéed onions.I always save room for the smooth and chilled Key Lime Pie to end the meal. Of course, it is possible to get around the “no reservation” policy by arriving at an off hour for a late lunch or early dinner. Also, if you go and set your sights on stone crabs, remember that the stone crab season is from May to October and has limited summer hours. Joe’s Stone Crab has a full bar and offers mail order for some menu items. It is located at 11 Washington Avenue in Miami Beach. For further information, call 305-673-0365 or visit the website at joesstonecrab.com.
The first impressin of Azul The word Azul in the Mandarin Oriental hotel on Brickell Key is that the name fits the restuarant perfectly, since azul is the Spanish word for blue. When you are seated at your table, you are surrounded by the sparking blue waters of Biscayne Bay, visible from floor to ceiling windows. Azul offers an acclaimed menu with a blend of Asian and Mediterranean accents. You can eat indoors or outside on the terrace overlooking the bay. There is a white marble open kitchen that is the focal point of the restaurant. Diners can enjoy gazpacho, duck risotto and yellow tail snapper in brioche for entrees, and desserts include hazelnut streusel pear sorbet and crème brulee. There is an exceptional collection of 700 vintages available. Azul in the Mandarin Oriental is situated at 500 Brickell Key Drive in Miami. For further information, call the Mandarin Oriental hotel at 305-913-8282 or visit their website at mandarinoriental.com/Miami.
For an exciting time in South Beach, experience the Barton G. Weiss restaurant tucked away on a side street off the busy main thoroughfar. Just knowing about the storied past of the building brings romance to the experience, since the West End building began as Gatti’s in 1925, and became the well-known Starfish restaurant when the SoBe evolution was just getting started. I like to start off the meal with a drink at the stylish bar, or enjoy the lush orchid garden. The menu features imaginative interpretations of classic American dishes with interesting presentation. For a sweet ending to dinner, you can order a sensational dessert like grasshopper pie or chocolate treasure in a portion size designed to be shared. Barton G. is located at 1427 West Avenue. For further information, call 305-672-8881 or visit bartong.com.