A winter getaway to a warm destination is most definitely a little slice of paradise. Our trip to Miami included lots of sunshine by the pool, dinner on the beach, and tons of really good food right from the start. Right after we checked in to the Sonesta Bayfront Hotel, we headed for the pool deck for lunch. The warm weather made me opt for a lighter option, a grilled Caesar salad and a glass of delightfully oaky Chardonnay.
Going for the more local flavor, my husband had a Cuban sandwich with to-die-for garlicky fries. The fries took away the light aspect of my lunch. What can I say? There’s nothing I love more than good fries.
During our stay at the Sonesta, we visited their restaurant, Panorama, and their pool area bar a number of times for drinks and snacks. Sitting by the pool with Prosecco and soaking up the Florida sunshine was perfect, as was Sunday brunch at the pool. Panorama’s signature French Toast was covered in fresh fruit, a decadent treat to start the day (with mimosas, naturally).
Right next to the hotel was Peacock Garden Cafe, a fabulous cocktail bar and restaurant that featured live jazz in the garden. I didn’t snap any photos, but it made me feel like Hemingway was going to walk into the room at any time. I stuck to the Southern vibe and sipped mint juleps while listening to the jazz and enjoying warm Saturday night breezes. . . aaaaah.
One of our favorite meals of our Coconut Grove stay was at Jaguar. As we tend to do, we sat at the bar and absolutely loved our server, who explained everything to us, including their extensive, amazing ceviche menu.
First up, I had a black pepper passion fruit capirinhia.
Unlike Massachusetts, Florida has happy hour, and we enjoyed discount drinks that came with ceviche spoons. In addition, we ordered the entire ceviche spoon menu and a ceviche special. Chunks of tender fish, lots of citrus, avocado, and spice filled the plate, and we had fun sharing all the flavors before moving on to a bigger plate.
Below is the Tiradito Nikkei, a plate made up of the following: tuna, ginger, soy, shallots, jalapeños, cilantro, lime, cucumber, avocado & sesame seeds. It woke up every sense and was fresh and light, the perfect way to eat. I could eat Jaguar’s ceviche every day. I truly miss it.
Our final meal in Coconut Grove was a spectacular one as we had lunch al fresco at The Chart House. Being obsessed with all things boating, we loved being able to see every kind of boat, from ones that cost millions to kayaks, going by as we ate lunch.
We were all about the seafood again. This crab stack, with mango and avocado, was as delicious as it was beautiful. It fit right in with the bright sunshiny day and felt like a healthy-ish lunch option.
Our jumbo shrimp came with a flair, presented in dry ice. It was your standard shrimp cocktail, but it was pretty great.
Finally, we shared the “East Meets West” tuna dish, zesty tuna tartare drizzled with wasabi cream paired with seared peppered tuna & avocado, with kim chee slaw & plantain chips. Again, the flavors in this dish were off-the-hook. I think I could eat tuna tartare with avocado and wasabi cream all the days of my life. With lunch I enjoyed a tart and mineral-y Bogle Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, perfectly bright and seafood-friendly. The one downside of the meal was that our server tried to upsell us on everything, right to the very end, when he tried to pitch a credit card of some sort to us. Otherwise, he was very nice and probably just doing his job with the sales pitches. Still, we just wanted to relax.
We didn’t even scratch the surface of the dining scene in Coconut Grove, much less the rest of Miami. This is a place for bold flavors, fresh ingredients, and of course a little spice. I didn’t know what to expect when we planned the trip and I was very pleasantly surprised.
What has been your favorite foodie travel destination so far?