The lunch menu's star starter is hot and sour popcorn shrimp served with Thai vinaigrette ($9). To whet an evening appetite, the dinner menu offers littleneck clams ($12) and soft shell crab ($13). Main courses, such as locally caught grouper ($24) and mahi ($22), are as fresh as a rapper buried in iceberg lettuce. An Indonesian-influenced skirt steak with shiitakes gets high marks ($22) and can cross other transnational borders with a side of Chinese eggplant with red curry ($7) or faro risotto ($8). For dessert, the difficulty of choosing between the drunken grape parfait ($8) and the blueberry meringue pie ($8) can be mitigated by ordering both or by kidnapping Oompa-Loompas to work in an abandoned chocolate factory.
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Don Davis arrived in America from his native Uruguay with a dream of opening a restaurant and introducing his newfound neighbors to the tender steaks, fresh salads, and hearty pastas of his youth. He named the restaurant after his beloved grandmother, Dona Paulina, and soon began inviting guests inside to sample plates filled with sizzling chicken, spicy sausage, breaded milanesa cutlets, and flaky filets of swordfish and sea bass. Pitchers of sangria enliven feasts, and each serving of caramel-covered flan is as sweet and wobbly as a fawn taking its first steps high heels.
Doma Polo Bistro is a Buenos Aires?style bistro that pays homage to the sport of kings, both in its decor and in its menu of proteins hearty enough to replenish famished polo players. In reality, it might be more likely to fill the bellies of another kind of athlete?the Miami Heat play just across Biscayne Boulevard at American Airlines Arena. The most outrageously carnivorous option available to mighty appetites may be the picada de parrilla, a trove of grilled skirt steak, blood sausage, chorizo, golden sweetbreads, veal kidneys, and beef or chicken empanadas, served with an ode to meat recited tableside. Even in less decadent feasts, the Argentine taste for beef makes itself known via rich stews and subtly spiced salads.
As the wait staff?which the Miami NewTimes called ?extremely attentive, friendly, and timely??help them rifle through the menu, Argentine transplants and other Miamians alike dine in an enormous space built to resemble an elegant barn. Below raw wooden rafters, leather booths are cut into stalls that are lit softly by copper fixtures. On one wall, some 2,500 wine bottles bearing more than 150 different labels peek out from a metal grid of cubbies.
Primo’s is a small Italian restaurant on Miami’s Bayshore Drive inside the Doubletree Hotel, serving family-style portions to dinner guests. There’s definitely a neighborhood vibe inside, along with a small bar that stays open late – until 1 a.m., seven days a week. Although Primo’s does a steady hotel guest business, it also has a large local audience who come for its signature meatballs and crusty Italian loaves. Risotto is also wildly popular and often available, with four to five daily chef specials rotating in and out, as well as simpler $15 or less lunch special that caters to diners on the go. Because of the business-heavy area and hotel location, parking at Primo’s can be tough, so plan accordingly.
Los Ranchos makes sure that nearly everything on your plate is prepped in-house. There are homemade pork sausages, homemade french onion soup, and homemade sauces, from a spicy jalape?o cream to a mushroom and sherry wine sauce. The latter covers the petit mignonetas?two 3-ounce beef tip medallions from the menu's steak section.
All of the charbroiled specialties have Spanish monikers, speaking to the restaurant's Mexican and South American influences. The signature steak churrasco is 12 ounces of center cut tenderloin steak, a much lighter cut than sirloin or a two-story porterhouse. Rancheros and fajitas round out the list. Los Ranchos serves seafood as well, with plenty of shrimp dishes in addition to lobster and fish. For dessert, try sweet bites of tres leches cake and flan.