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Reviews for Villa Azur, Josh's Deli and More

Photo of Villa Azur Courtesy of South Beach Magazine

Initially skeptical, Victoria Pesce Elliott of The Miami Herald "cannot think of a better new spot than the grand Villa Azur", perfect for "a truly impressive night on the town with a French accent and a touch of red-carpet panache." Villa Azur's dining room is "European elegance translated to the tropics - posh but not pretentious", with "a youthful, chic air about the place that keeps it from being, how do you say, obnoxious." Nice native Mickael Bensa leads the kitchen, cooking up French classics highlighted by a "bouillabaisse that is the most transporting dish on the menu....big enough for a fisherman's family, it is packed with tender red snapper, pristine nickel-sized clams and meaty prawns in a smooth, tomato-based broth." VPE awards Villa Azur three stars for the combination of the elegance of the dining room and Bensa's exquisite cuisine. [MH]

Lee Klein of the Miami New Times stops by Josh's Delicatessen & Appetizing claiming that "not even big-city delicatessens are as authentic as Josh's, which boasts Josh himself, who at times runs the restaurant as a one-man show. You will never see a Carnegie delivering knishes to the table at the Carnegie Deli." The "throwback artisanal regional American cuisine being served at Josh's Deli" is all made in-house: knishes, gefilte fish, bagels, as well as cured and smoked meats and fish. "It is truly amazing to see thick cuts of house-cured pastrami gleaming with moisture and capped with ribbons of fat." Chef and owner Joshua Marcus "is putting out foods he grew up around and feels passionate about, and he's doing it on his own terms. The love comes through." [MNT]

"The problem with restaurants with a view is that their customers don't want them to change", opens John Tanasychuk of the Sun Sentinel in his three and a half star review of the Rusty Pelican. After it's $9 million face lift "to get unstuck", Tanasychuk approves of the changes that add "up to a sophisticated restaurant that matches the view of what can now truly be called Magic City." "The next piece of the reinvention" was chef Michael Gilligan, formerly of the W South Beach residences and Tribeca Grill in NYC, who creates a "sophisticated menu that still has wide appeal" with plates like sea-bass ceviche, fried calamari with citrus 'Buffalo' sauce, and crispy fried red snapper. "If I have one overriding criticism of the place, it's the name. The Rusty Pelican? There's nothing rusty about it". [SS]

"A destination made for drinking and maybe some food. But above all, drinking," American Social Bar & Restaurant on Las Olas in Ft. Lauderdale gets the run down by Eric Barton of the Broward New Times. The creation of Rick Mijares and Paul Greenberg is "something akin to what would happen if a raucous college bar matured into a place for alumni a few years removed from Jell-O shots." With a dinner menu that lacks "actual dinners", "it's all appetizers, salads, sliders and sandwiches." All in all, "American Social isn't a dinner club. It's a social club, and as that, it shines. [BPBNT]

Casual spot La Hormiga de Oro, "a staple for authentic Nicaraguan fare in Miami-Dade County", receives three stars from Rochelle Koff of The Miami Herald. "Aside from the good, homey food, it would be tough to find a better value than a meal at praiseworthy La Hormiga de Oro ('The Gold Ant')" [MH]

The Rusty Pelican

3201 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, FL 33149 305 361 3818

Villa Azur

309 23rd Street, , FL 33139 (305) 763-8688 Visit Website

Villa Azur

309 23rd St, MIami Beach, Fl