By Linda Bladholm
The unpretentious food at this family-owned Arline’s Restaurant and Seafood in Miami Gardens is built on a foundation of fresh seafood with plentiful starchy sides.
Boil fish, anchored by planks of grouper in a light broth sparked with lime, is available Saturday mornings and served with cornbread and grits. Other breakfast dishes include waffles and fried chicken wings, smothered pork chops and country ham with grits. Conch is a must for lunch or an early dinner, served cracked (fried) or dressed (scored bits in a tart vinegar and citrus bath). One of the most popular items is the seafood combo platter of fried shrimp, conch, fish and fries with lemonade or iced tea.
Dinner means a meal no matter what time it’s eaten. Fish dinners are fried or steamed king fish, snapper, catfish or tilapia. Others star a slab of meatloaf in gravy, barbecue chicken in tangy sauce, grilled and smothered steak, turkey wings and dressing (Thursdays) and barbecue ribs (Fridays) — all with two sides and cornbread.
Pigeon peas and rice, potato salad, mac and cheese, stewed okra and tomatoes and candied yams are almost always available. On Friday and Saturday, collard greens cooked down in pot liquor with smoked pig parts draw regulars who "sip sip" (patois for gossip) as they wait for the food. Other customers come just for the red velvet cake, peach cobbler and sweet potato pie. No one leaves hungry!
Arline’s Restaurant & Seafood, 2770 NW 167th St. (Dade Corner Shopping Plaza), Miami Gardens; 305-474-8990. 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tues-Thurs, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Fri-Sat. Breakfast $3.99-$8.49, seafood dishes $6.75-$26, dinners $6.49-$11.99
FYI: Boil fish (Saturday only) usually sells out by noon.
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