In 1976, the Cuban refugee García brothers added a restaurant side to the seafood market and wholesaler they’d founded a decade earlier, and today it’s a cherished institution for locals with a hankering for edibles from the ocean. Its location very much off the beaten path—along the Miami River west of downtown’s Brickell area—lends even more authenticity, not to mention some great atmosphere as you take in the river and distant high-rise skyline from the outdoor decks both upstairs and downstairs. The menu’s fishy indeed—the only non-pescavore concession being a chicken breast entree—and despite having gotten a touch fancier of late with additions such as salmon in tamarind mustard sauce, it remains largely about fresh seafood simply prepared (grilled, blackened, or fried). I especially like the grouper—whether in the form of fried “fingers,” chowder, sandwich, or filet—and the conch fritters are some of the moistest and most flavorful I’ve had anywhere (speaking of conch, here you can order it as a steak—one of the only times I’ve ever seen it offered without breading involved). Other specialties include oysters on the half shell and stone crabs in season.
- David Paul Appell