I have been on this foodie quest to finding restaurants in Miami that I can brag about and share my experiences with for over a year now. I started this blog with a positive prospective, if it’s good– I’ll talk about it. If it’s not good, I don’t. Simple as that. I have been in the restaurant business for over 10 years, most of my experience was in the NYC dining scene. I feel like I have the experience and knowledge to state my opinion with credentials to back it up. I know running a restaurant and even working in one can be stressful and it isn’t always a “piece of cake.” However, I do have standards when it comes to service, ambiance, presentation and pricing.
One thing I learned in NYC is that the customer service you receive during your restaurant experience can make or break the whole thing. If the food sucks, at least the service was good and management was empathetic to their flaws. If I don’t like something, usually I speak up. I ask for the manager and I politely let them know. Simply so they can try to fix it, instead of me going on to some site such as Yelp to complain about my experience. If they don’t even make an effort after I offer my constructive criticism as a courtesy, then I will resort to the Yelp wrath and it won’t be that nice. I will point out the positive and the negative for the whole world to read about.
Right now the Miami food scene is booming, blossoming and is really on the uprise. I am so excited for this! I am so excited to see it grow as much as it has in the last 3 and a half years that I have been a Miami resident. A lot of places are a hit or miss. The ambiance is perfect but the food is terrible and the staff treats you like a tourist on Ocean Drive. If they aren’t trying to rip you off, they are non-existent and just doing the bare mininum since their “Gratuity is already included.” Don’t get me wrong, I have my go-to places that go above and beyond my ideal restaurant experience but this particular blog post isn’t about my good experiences. This is about the places that make me go against my initial plan, I wanted to stay positive but these places were so bad that I HAVE to share it with the world. I want every local, tourist, etc. to stay far away from these places I am about to rant on and on about, with good reason of course. It takes a lot to make it to my “SHIT LIST.” Are you ready? I am going to give you the name of the restaurant and my reasons why I don’t like it into such detail that you will able to imagine yourself sitting at the table experiencing it with me.
The Shit List
#1. Restaurant : CIBO WINE BAR (Prounounced CHEE-BO)
Location: South of Fifth on South Beach
Prices: Way too high for the quality of food
I called on a Thursday night to see when their “full menu” option closed. Hostess told me midnight. Cool, I made a res for 11:15 for my boyfriend and I. I was stuck in traffic due to the Ultra crowd invasion. I called and changed it to 11:30PM, no problem. Show up at 11:30 on the dot. I give them my name and ask for a table in the main dining room and they grab a small menu ready to escort us to our table. I said, “is that the full menu?” The manager says, “No, I’m sorry the kitchen is closed, we have our late night menu available.” I responded with a little irritation and took a peek at their late night menu. If I came for pizza, sure I would have been okay with this, but I wasn’t there for their pizza. I was there for their pasta dishes and other choices. I said ” I called and your hostess said that you were open until 12 for the full menu.” He said ” She messed up this is all we have.” I turned around and walked out. I was livid. I took an uber all the way there excited to try this place. I heard so many great things and then it was like womp womp. I ate somewhere else and got over it.
The next incident was even worse. I should have known after the first incident that it was going to be terrible because they had no remorse for the error, mind you, the manager was lying. My really great friend Melody was in town from NYC and I had mentioned to her what happened the night before with my boyfriend and she was like “let’s go back and try it.” We go back and it was a disaster! What could of went SO wrong that I had to make a shit list? I’m going to tell you.
Short story version, we order two dirty martinis, two different vodka choices and we asked for bleu cheese stuffed olives, they didn’t have those, so no problem, regular ones are just fine. We get our first round of drinks, we’re excited. The drinks come, they didn’t look dirty at all, but hmm let’s take a sip. Take a sip and we both look at each other like we’re not satisfied. They tasted watered down, but no vodka taste and SOMETHING was just totally off. Also, the martini had KALAMATA olives, the little purple ones inside of it, not green olives. That was the first clue. So, we tell the server about it and she takes the drinks away and gives us two new martinis. We take another sip, if it wasn’t worse it was just as bad as the first. So, I find the manager and he gives us the biggest attitude. ” I just dumped out 2 oz each of alcohol for you guys on the last round.” EXCUSE ME? Why are you telling me about the measurement at this point? You should be talking to your bartender about why he/she is putting purple olives in a dirty martini and second you should be apologizing. He takes our drinks and he comes back. “I’m so sorry the bartender was using the wrong olive juice!” Oh really, No shit sherlock. So he asks us if we want another, we’re like no just bring us some wine. You can’t possibly mess that up. We get our wine, it’s fine and delicious.
NEXT, we get our appetizer which is supposed to be a baked eggplant with some melted cheese and herbs on it. The eggplant was so mushy I could of made eggplant mash with it. I was so hungry I ate two bites to cure my hunger pains and couldn’t eat any more. Melody was repulsed as well. We didn’t even complain about it we just let them clear the plate and wait for our entrees. She ordered a shrimp salad with gorgonzola on it. The cheese was not gorgonzola, it was a low grade version of some nasty bleu cheese. She knows her cheese and THIS was not the cheese we ordered. She ate some of it and some of her shrimp to just get through it. I ordered what I thought would be “spaghetti carbonara.” Where was the crispy pancetta? All I got was some disgusting tough, beef jerky mixed with bologna squares. It was definitely over cooked and not appetizing at all. The sauce, the carbonara sauce tasted like it was out of a jar, the cheap no brand kind, which I have never had but if I did this is what it would taste like. Then there were no bits of fried egg in it at all. I couldn’t even find the tiniest morsel of fried egg. At this point, I’ve had enough. The waitress was clueless and careless. I find the manager yet again. He is so defensive of his carbonara sauce that he’s going back and fourth with me for AT LEAST 10 minutes about how in America they don’t make it right and that is what I am used to you. I had to educate him on my past experiece of running a very authentic Italian restaurant in Cobble Hill in Brooklyn where I was first introduced to the spaghetti carbonara dish. I’ve been in love with it ever since. I had to let him know the chef and the owner were from Naples (same city as this arrogant and pathetic manager). I’ve had spaghetti Carbonara from Cara Mia on Alton Rd. absoulutely amazing and I named off a few other places in Miami that I enjoy their carbonora dish. This guy takes off my carbonara dish, leaves on the mushy eggplant and both our glasses of wine. What was our total bill for 2 glasses of wine, eggplant and her disgusting shrimp salad? $75 + tip. Are you serious? He shouldn’t have charged us for anything considering the experience we had. He tried to schmooze us with his “Mother’s recipe” limoncello recipe. It was gross too but I really didn’t have the heart or the energy to let him know that too was terrible.
All in all, that place is a tourist trap. I told him to his face “If I wanted to eat on Ocean Drive and get and Ocean Drive experience, I would have went there.” I have no idea why this place has gotten so many good reviews and this undeserved attention. There are much better restaurants that deserve to be filled every night right here in Miami. I can not and will not return there ever again. He asked me multiple times to come back and let him make it up to me. I just wanted to pay my bill and never look back. I ended up getting a piece of pizza after because I was still hungry. Not a good thing AT ALL.
Welcome to my shit list, it’s real and unfiltered. But it is what it is. Enjoy!