Restaurants for Groups- Miami
August 16, 2006 7:56 AM   Subscribe

Miami Filter: Group dinner suggestions: Bringing a large group (45) of 20 somethings to South Beach Miami. Is there any thing that would be 20-30 bucks a person that would accomodate a group of that size? Looking for American, or even Cuban food. Even if its a dive, anything comes to mind that we could sort of book a place? Could maybe travel by rented bus to the mainland.
posted by sandmanwv to Food & Drink (14 answers total)
I can't help on the specific restaurant, but maybe this will spark ideas for people commenting below. For similarly sized events we've had luck at a couple different places that are normally closed on a particular night - getting them to open the restaurant that night just for our large group. This definitely requires advance planning, and may narrow your menu selection, but will usually get you better prices. Plus the place is all yours.
posted by whatzit at 8:07 AM on August 16, 2006

Yow that's a lot of people. I lived there for several years a while back, and this is a tough one.

One place I'd suggest is Big Fish:

55 SW Miami Avenue Road
Miami, FL 33130-1600
(305) 373-1770

It's on the river downtown Miami, but not far. It's not 'cheap' but it's big, has indoor and outdoor dining.

I honestly can't think of a single place on the Beach that could accomodate that large a group without renting out the whole place.

Call ahead no matter what you hear from anyone. South Beach just doesn't have huge places that can deal with a crowd of 45 at the drop of a hat. In general, expect somewhat crummy service anywhere you go with a large group like that as well. I used to be in the service industry there, and tell you this firsthand.

Good luck, start calling places now, right away, really....
posted by jeff-o-matic at 8:14 AM on August 16, 2006

Just adding to what I wrote-

I chuckle a bit at imagining a group that size doing anything together in South Beach. It's old, the streets and sidewalks are small, there's tons of traffic (way more than in years past, and I was just there a week ago), and the restaurants/bars there tend to be tiny. Seriously, you will have a hard time all crossing the street together or getting from place to place. You may want to consider splitting the group for anything other than beach time.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 8:19 AM on August 16, 2006

Opa is lots of fun, and can accommodate a large group. It's around 1st and Ocean. Lines can be very long, but they have lots of events (very popular for bachelorette parties, e.g.), and tons of space, so I would imagine that they could accommodate you. Not too expensive, the food is yummy, and the place is very lively.

Big Pink is large and would be in that price range. Also lots of fun, good food, huge selection. Very South Beach. It's 2nd and Collins, I think.

I wouldn't be surprised if Tap Tap (Haitian food) could accommodate that many people. It's on 5th and Jefferson, or right around there. It's another Miami favorite - great Haitian food, fun atmosphere. I know they do a lot of catering, and they have decent space in the back, so I would think they could accommodate you. Good prices too.

You might want to consider Versailles. It's probably the most famous Cuban restaurant in the area. Enormous space. Very cheap. Politicians inevitably eat at Versailles when they come to Miami. (Bush just did.) It's not on South Beach - it's on Calle Ocho - Little Havana - but they have a huge parking lot, so in some ways it's easier than South Beach. I would not recommend Gloria Estefan's Cuban restaurant on Ocean - Larios, I think it's called. I found the whole place musty, and didn't like the food much. David's is good for Cuban on the beach, but neither David I or II has a lot of space, as far as I can tell.

Sum Yum Gai is good and cheap. Kind of dive-y. It's on Washington.

I've heard people say Pita Hut has some of the best Israeli food outside of Israel. They could also probably accommodate 20-30 people, with advance warning, and the price would definitely be in your range. It's not in South Beach, but it's on Arthur Godfrey Rd, not far away, and easy parking.
posted by Amizu at 8:27 AM on August 16, 2006

(Of course, you would want to call them all in advance to check, but these are possibilities, anyway.)
posted by Amizu at 8:28 AM on August 16, 2006

Oops - I just re-read your post. I thought 20 was the number of people, not the age. For 45 people, Versailles might be my only suggestion that would work.
posted by Amizu at 8:29 AM on August 16, 2006

I was gonna suggest Versailles, too. Great Cuban food, reasonably priced, elegant casual dining. Pitchers of Sangria...

Do call ahead, though. 45's a lot of folks. See what the restaurant says.

That, or split up on South Beach. Lots of small cafe-style restaurants to choose from. If it's a weekday instead of a weekend, that helps with crowding.
posted by pips at 9:23 AM on August 16, 2006

I concur that 45 people on Miami Beach is going to be a challenge w/o renting/reserving a room. If you're willing to travel and they're willing to close the restaurant for you I personally love love love Prima Pasta on the Beach up at 71st st.

How informal do you want to be? You could go get a great load of food from San Loco and head one block east to the beach, where you can mingle, sit on the stone walls and enjoy the ocean breeze.

Or go up one notch in the planning and reserve some picnic tables and bring food catered by Versailles. There's several parks you could use for this purpose.

If you want to travel over to the mainland then Tobacco Road might meet your requirements with some pre-planning - I am pretty sure they will reserve the upstairs (the old bootlegger room!) for parties and the food is good and reasonably priced.
posted by phearlez at 9:29 AM on August 16, 2006

I think Cafeteria on Lincoln Road has a private room that might be a possibility. Overpriced American food, but well under $30/person.
posted by gatorae at 9:33 AM on August 16, 2006

I'd say the Lincoln Road Cafe, personally.
posted by polexxia at 9:47 AM on August 16, 2006

I like the Lincoln Road Cafe and all, but I think they'd have a real hard time accomodating that many people at once. They could probably FIT in the restaurant, but they're really not equipped to pump out service for 45 in one seating. You'd be there a long time waiting for food...

Reading upthread, I'd second Big Pink as an option, but you'd be advised to split the group into four tables of ten or so, and try not to hit it on a weekend or peak time. And calling ahead is the only sane approach in any case.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 9:57 AM on August 16, 2006

I've actually brought a group of 35-40 to Lincoln Road Cafe and it worked out pretty well. They set up a long row of tables in front of the restaurant (which makes for better people watching, anyway). That was a few years ago, so call to make sure they will still be as accomodating.
posted by mkhall at 10:04 AM on August 16, 2006

I've been with that size group to Larios on Ocean Drive--Cuban food and lots of mojitos. I also second Versailles for such a big group, but Larios is definitely in a more fun area for your age group. You are going to be dining with the oldies at Versailles.
posted by ubu at 12:15 PM on August 16, 2006

You went to Lario's with 45 people?? My mind boggles.

Butting in again, but stay away from Ocean Drive, except as a must-do walkthrough. I would run screaming from a crowd of 45 walking down Ocean Drive. It's often hard to make your way through there as a couple., and it's only getting worse. It's a great place to take pictures and for tourists who don't know better. Check it out, see it, then spend your money somewhere else. I'm getting claustrophobic at the thought of this...
posted by jeff-o-matic at 12:38 PM on August 16, 2006

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