Coconut Grove Over South Beach? 50 Reasons That's Just Dumb

Categories: Snackdown
As you may or may not know, Short Order is having a little Snackdown! Over the next few weeks, we will be pairing eight Miami-Dade neighborhoods and pitting one against the other in an NCAA-bracket sort of tournament. The first entry, last Thursday, was Coconut Grove versus South Beach.

Admittedly this first battle isn't much of a contest -- South Beach, after all, is one of the best dining nabes in the city, and Coconut Grove is...well, let's put it this way: If you look over Zagat 2012's category of the 40 top-rated Miami-Dade restaurants for food (25 to 29 points), you will note that not one of these is located in Coconut Grove. Zero out of 40 (SoBe has 10).

And yet, lo and behold, with voting on this match-up due to close in two days, the Snackdown! voting looks like this:

South Beach 185 votes, or 29.79%
Coconut Grove 436 votes, or 70.21%

Say what? Why, to select Coconut Grove to move on to the next round would be as nutty as nominating a super-wealthy, out-of-touch, flip-flopping Mormon to represent your political party in a presidential election!

OK, bad example. But what follows is my argument to the contrary: 50 restaurants in South Beach that (in my humble estimation) are as good or better than any restaurant in Coconut Grove (with apologies to the worthy dining establishments in Coconut Grove, as well as to the many places in South Beach that could have made the grade had I extended the number to 75).

One more pre-list note: The disparity between neighborhoods will only widen in 2012, as South Beach readies for Michael Schwartz at The Raleigh; Bazaar by José Andrés; Katsuya; Juvia at 1111 Lincoln Rd.; Sam Gorenstein's My Ceviche; Milos Esitatorio; Gloutonnerie...

...then again, it's always possible that the Grove will counter by opening another Baja Mexican Grill.

The following 50 restaurants are listed randomly:

1. Altamare
2. Tudor House
3. Sardinia
4. Tap Tap
5. Pubbelly
6. Pubbelly Sushi
7. Barceloneta
8. OLA
9. De Rodriguez Ocean
10. Sushi Samba Dromo
11. The Dutch
12. The Restaurant at The Setai
13. The Dining Room
14. Quattro Gastronomia
15. Red, The Steakhouse
16. Smith & Wollensky
17. BLT Steak
18. Joe's Stone Crab
19. Osteria del Teatro
20. Casa Tua
21. Nobu
22. Bond St. Lounge
23. Haven Gastro Lounge
24. Meat Market
25. Escopazzo
26. Prime One Twelve
27. Prime Italian
28. STK
29. Rosa Mexicano
30. Morgans
31. Grimpa Steak House
32. Clarke's
33. Indomania
34. Asia de Cuba
35. China Grill
36. Lido at The Standard
37. Mr. Chow
38. Philippe by Philippe Chow
39. Bianca at Delano
40. Vesper at The Shelbourne
41. Lantao Kitchen at The Surfcomber
42. Shake Shack
43. Spiga
44. Jimmy'z Kitchen
45. Wish
46. Chowdown Grill
47. 660 at The Angler's
48. Barton G
49. The Villa by Barton G
50. Macaluso's

Remember: It's not too late to vote. Sensible readers have until Thursday to remedy this mockery. 

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Here is at least one blogger group's opinion. If this poll boils down to where you find more options for good food, I'm sorry but Lee is correct. The South Beach list easily trumps the Grove. That being said, I love the Grove and would much rather spend the day there, but in terms of gastronomic adventure we very rarely have a new Grove restaurant on our "Must Try" list. Yes, we know the Grove has classics and a few recent gems but the fact is that many chefs want the foot traffic of South Beach and they don’t care if it’s locals or tourists scarfing down that $20 plate of bacon wrapped anything. We have one member who lives in Midtown, one member in the Buena Vista area, one in South Beach and another that recently moved to Austin. For us there is no loyalty to any one area, we go from Tropical Chinese to Garbo's Grill to Knauss Berry Farm so if you can change our minds we’d be happy to defect, but as it stands South Beach has the numbers. PLEASE change our minds, we’d love to ditch the tourists.

It’s a difficult poll because there are great restaurants scattered throughout all these areas.

On a side note, Icebox and (as much as I’m not overly impressed with it) Yardbird belong on that 50 list. Quattro, Osteria, Grimpa, overrated Joe’s, Bond Street and Meat Market all need to vacate the top 50 (maybe even the 75) in our humble opinion. Also not that anyone cares, but if you love great food you have to try “The Federal” the service was a bit shaky at times, but damn that food was delicious. Those f%#$n cheesy biscuits! Sorry we get excited at the though of them.


As rich of a target as he is, why instead of attacking Lee don't some of you try to mention ONE Grove restaurant that's better than any of the 47 above? (I'm kicking out Macaluso, Bond St. and Grimpa. Seriously, Lee, come on.)


Sorry Lee, you're the one with the South Beach fetish, not your readers. To us, it's a neighborhood with an ego complex, and a warehouse for our more gullible tourists.


Look at Lee writing as "commonSensePeople", lol! 


Thank you Lee for bringing some sanity to that idiotic/meaningless poll.


yeah, what's the point of doing a poll if you're going to bitch about the results even before it's over?get over yourself


453 people voted Coconut Grove over South Beach, so I would say we have right there 453 reasons making you the dumb one.


Lokal and Jaguar.   That would be two, so now I can I say that Lee is an idiot?


Lee and every major restaurant critic...Maybe this question should be put out to even the Miami food bloggers instead of just the clowns who want to vote for their neighborhood without being bias.

Quit making Miami look even more dumb.


Any of the burgers at any of the places listed by Lee kicks Lokal's overhyped burgers to the curb.

Jaguar is good, easily the best restaurant in the Grove. Used to be very good. But nobody with a discerning palate will rather go to Jaguar than to Escopazzo or the restaurant at the Setai. 


Lokal is an overrated burger joint. They even got our order massively wrong and ran out of fries the last time I was there.

As a side note, their bar top is from the old Press Room on south beach.Sanchez, what is wrong with Macalusos?

Oh and NOTHING in the Grove even approaches Casa Tua.


I call it "Crapaluso". I cringe whenever somebody wants to go. How can people like an Italian restauran where they show you boxed pasta before you eat? If I can just go to Publix and buy De Cecco, why am I going to pay through the nose for the same thing at what's supposed to be a low fare "red sauce" restaurant? Go to Escopazzo or Quattro.

The famous meatballs are ok, but Randazzo's are better.

Plus I don't wait at places that don't take reservations. And I can't stand Sinatra.


Casa Tua is COMPLETELY overpriced, significantly more overrated than LoKal, and it has horrendous customer service. I hope flashing your Amex Black card is what makes you like the place. It's pretty. That's it. 

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