The infectious aromas of sizzling steak, fresh chopped cilantro, and spicy peppers flow through Costa Azul Mexican Restaurant, heralding the arrival of generous Mexican feasts. Chefs furl these fresh ingredients and more into tortillas to create tacos, flautas, and burritos. Guests savor the juicy nuances of tender marinated pork carnitas or the perfectly balanced flavors of the restaurant's signature paella. Tangy margaritas and ice-cold brews extinguish mouth fires caused by spicy fajitas or mid-meal freestyle raps. Costa Azul's chefs will also whip up their Mexican cuisine to help their guests celebrate special events, family reunions, and weddings with ease.
Archie Summerlin, part-time poet and self-proclaimed hell-raiser, opened Archie's Seabreeze in 1947 to supply beer to soldiers stationed on South Beach, and his loyal crew continues to serve up pub favorites and cold brews from its vast menu. Like an amorous sea cow's song luring fishermen to the sea, the conch fritters ($7.99), soft shell crab sandwich with fries and slaw ($10.99), and the 8-ounce bacon cheeseburger ($8.99) beckon food-laden fingers to mouths. Domestic and imported bottles ($2.75+), and draft beers such as the Florida-brewed Key West Ale ($3.25) wet whistles as quickly as a referee in a water park.
With swinging wood saloon doors, hanging lamps made from cowboy hats, and local ranchers' brands seared into each tabletop, Cowboys' Bar-B-Q & Steak Co.'s three locations make visitors feel as though they've just stumbled in from the Texas lowlands. Many of founder Jim McCoin's self-devised recipes come from years of careful cooking while on the professional barbecue-competition circuit, which regularly led his team "Big Daddy Q" to victory. Wings strut across plates dressed in up to 20 sauce flavors, compelling tongues to quench thirst with 10 draft beers or Western-themed margaritas. Beverages are served in mason jars, carried past decorations such as photographs representing local ranching families. For outside eaters, Cowboys' supplies its hearty grilled fare through take-out and catering each day of the week.
The crackerjack breadsmiths at Importico's bake up artisan breads and delectable pastries daily, lacing their creative comestibles with locally grown fruits and fresh ingredients. Assuage hunger pangs or trick hands into thinking they're novelty sized with one-dozen mini cupcakes, an apple-cheeked panoply of decadent chocolate, vanilla, and red-velvet creations. Palates looking to pick on something their own size can opt for twelve regular-size handheld treats, which slide onto serving trays and across shuffleboard courts in the same rich flavors as their diminutive companions.
When Dean Lavallee opened the first Park Avenue BBQ in 1988, he had one lofty mission in mind: to serve the best barbecue ever made. Despite the seemingly impossible nature of his goal, he and his team continue to rise to the challenge, dry-rubbing their meats to smoke and char-grill on-site. They use all-natural, grain-fed, domestic pork for their traditional and Carolina-style barbecue pork—pulled by hand—and only use fresh, never-frozen ribs that are smoked daily over hickory. As diners chow down on hearty homestyle sides, seafood platters, or buffalo wings tossed in one of six sauces, they can admire the dining room's pictures of their city's most prominent people, places, and robot mayors.
Park Avenue BBQ arranges their meats into fun, hearty dishes such as the Dempublican sandwich, which combines smoked pork and beef brisket separated only by cheese and bacon to create a sizeable sandwich that the team has dubbed "porkalicious". They whip up Funnybonz, which look and taste like miniature ribs, using tender, lean pork that's prepared by cooking up regular ribs beneath a shrink ray. In 2008, their dedication to each dish caused Cityvoter's users to name Park Avenue BBQ the best barbecue in town.