The goods: Key West meets downtown Miami at Bayside’s Largo Bar and Grill. The straightforward fish spot is a swankier alternative to the fast-food joints and chain restaurants that pepper the outdoor mall a block from the AA arena. For $15 patrons, can select a fresh catch from charter boats docked nearby and have it cooked to order – blackened, broiled, grilled – along with a choice of two sides.
Ambience: Wicker couches overlooking the water and ample flat screens make it a lively, comfortable spot before, during and after Miami Heat games.
The grub: Fish-focused American cuisine. South Florida staples rule the kitchen. Look for smoked mahi fish dip, fish tacos and churrasco steak. Prices are on par with neighboring restaurants, most of which cater to tourists. Starters average $10, sandwiches can be had for $14 and mains are in the mid $20s.
Starters cover the usual fish-shack territory with coconut shrimp, nachos and fried calamari. Mahi, grouper and snapper are available grilled, blackened or pan-seared. The Mediterranean snapper is a mammoth piece of fish dressed with sautéed olives, capers, tomatoes and artichokes on a bed of mashed potatoes. Meat lovers have a choice of eight sandwiches and burgers including a half-pound Angus burger and a Philly cheese steak.
Desserts include a homemade banana chimichanga and a Milky Way chocolate cake.
Verdict: Nautical comfort food with a sports bar-friendly vibe at Bayside.