On a recent Saturday night, my wife and I ventured out to eat with no reservations or plans. We were looking for something casual so most of our favorites were eliminated off the bat. I suggested the bar area of one of my favorite spots, Timo, but she thought it would be too much of a scene for a casual stop so we passed. We had been to Neomi's recently so that was also eliminated. Calafate Grill (tapas) in Sunny Isles was high on my must try list so we decided to give it a shot. It started to rain as we pulled into the busy shopping center where it's located sooo being the gentleman that I am, I dropped her off at the entrance armed with an umbrella. She was back in the car in a flash. Too crowded?? No, the place is empty and it's brighter than McDonald's. PASS. Oyyy!!!!, on to plan B and we didn't have a plan A plus we're in Sunny freakin Isles (not that there is anything wrong with that...)
Welllll, we can do pizza at Racks- ehhhh, neither of us were feeling it. We both heard great things about Asia Bay in Bal Harbour but we weren't in the mood for sushi. As we crossed the causeway, I recalled that there was a new Italian restaurant on 123rd St. that served inexpensive homemade pasta (Bocca) SOLD.
It's now around 8:30 when we pull up at Bocca and we notice from the car that there is NO one in the restaurant. Zero, Zilch, Nada, Empty. Normally this would be okayyy but we just weren't feeling it so we drove on.
Ahhhh we are in Petit Rouge land!!! Perfect. Unfortunately, the small lot was packed and there was no way I was waiting around at this point. Plan D????? Yakko San with a capital B Babyyyyyyyyyyy- "fine, I'm starving now, let's go" WAHOOOOOO.
We're speeding North up Biscayne listening to one of my favorites, Even Flow on 93.1 (finally have a good rock station in town) when we see the light, the Gourmet Diner light. A quick glance, eyebrows raise, two smiles,(possibly a dorky thumbs up from me) and a sharp right turn...... Oh yeahhhhh, it's the underrated, often overlooked, trusted and reliable "old yeller" a/k/a the Gourmet Diner.
From the outside (and inside) Gourmet D looks like your standard diner. (not many down here though) Nevertheless, they serve top notch classic French bistro fare. You'll find escargot, onion soup. steak au poivre etc etc.
Some of my favorites include the grilled asparagus, one of the best caesar salads in the area (w/ great chicken), great vegetable souffles, tenderloin tips, beef burgundy (wasn't on menu most recent visit) roasted duck plus numerous daily specials presented on a table side blackboard.
Prices are on the expensive side for lunch but very reasonable for dinner. I always leave happy and stuffed. My only complaint would be the VERY limited wine list. It's also very cold inside. If you are in the area and haven't been yet, check it out. Great spot pre/post a movie or holiday shopping at the Aventura mall. It's one of Miami's most underrated and reliable restaurants.
13951 Biscayne Blvd
North Miami Beach, FL 33181