Best Restaurants for Celebrating Thanksgiving
Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 10:00 AM | Carlos C Olaechea
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 It might not be the same for everyone, but in my experience, Thanksgiving is that very special holiday when some of the worst cooks consider themselves to be award-winning chefs. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been a victim of such atrocities as a coleslaw-ambrosia salad combination, an unnaturally colored cool whip and graham cracker crumb dessert, or a casserole so replete with cream, butter, cheese, and bacon that it constitutes one’s allowable fat intake for the entire year. Trying to dissuade these mad scientists turned amateur cooks from contributing to your Thanksgiving feast can quickly become an ugly scene with all the crying, fighting, and emotion of a 90’s talk show. Trying to trick yourself into making your relative’s multicolored congealed salad into a suitable side dish for your chestnut and morel stuffed bird has proven futile...and quite ridiculous. The only solution to make everyone happy is to leave the cooking to the professionals this Thanksgiving and going to a restaurant. If your ideal Turkey Day is one in which there are no dishes to wash and you’re not stuck with a week’s worth of leftovers, then you should definitely check out Joonbug’s recommendations for restaurants offering some of the best Thanksgiving dinners in South Florida this year.

4441 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33140

The fabulous restaurants at the Fontainebleau resort in Miami Beach are seemingly always there when a food-filled holiday is around, and Thanksgiving is definitely no exception! Gotham Steak will be offering dinner from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM with such dishes as a turkey breast roulade, slow smoked turkey leg, and a dessert of pumpkin mousse (full menu here), along with their regular lounge menu.

If you love your Thanksgiving banquet with a some brunch time favorites on the side, then Vida has your answer with a Turkey Day buffet ($59 per person) that will include an omelet station and French toast during their daytime service (from noon to 4:00 PM), along with rotisserie specialties like a cider brined turkey and pineapple rum glazed country ham, as well as a lamb Wellington (full menu here). Vida will also be serving a dinner from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM.

For Thanksgiving with a decidedly Italian accent, visit Scarpetta, which will be offering Thanksgiving Day specials from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Expect such dishes as a turkey porchetta served with butternut squash and roasted brussels sprouts, chestnut calzonicchi with preserved truffles and parsnips, and a stuffing dotted with cherries and scented with rosemary (full menu here). Sweet interpretations of classic holiday desserts will include a pumpkin semifreddo and a pecan crostata.

Toro Toro
100 Chopin Plaza
Miami, FL 33131

Downtown Miami’s newest beacon of pan Latin fine dining, located in the refreshed Intercontinental hotel, will be offering a Latino-infused prix fixe menu that promises to add a dash of sazón to Thanksgiving, making it the perfect place to bring los abuelos this year. For $75 per person ($115 with wine pairings), diners can enjoy such dishes as ham croquettes, a bluefin tuna ceviche with winter melon, and chorizo cornbread stuffing alongside a traditional herb roasted organic turkey and apricot glazed berkshire ham. Desserts will include a chef’s trio of pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and chocolate croquettes. Thanksgiving dinner will be served from noon to 9:00 PM.

Bianca at Delano
1685 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Celebrate an iconic American holiday at an iconic Miami Beach hotel this year while savoring Italian renditions of seasonal holiday favorites like a turkey tortellini with turkey consommé and Italian herbs. Traditionalists will enjoy a more traditional roasted turkey dinner with giblet gravy and cranberry sauce served with a cashew-apple and raisin stuffing. A sampling of traditional dolcetti americano rounds out the prix-fixe meal ($65 per person) that will be served from 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM on Thanksgiving Day.

db Bistro Moderne
255 Biscayne Boulevard Way
Miami, FL 33131

Executive Chef Matthieu Godard will be serving up a bit of French elegance this Thanksgiving with a prix-fixe menu ($60 per person) that will include some of the sophisticated, yet understated, culinary touches that have made Chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurants so memorable. Enjoy a Turkey dinner consisting of roasted breast, braised leg and gravy, and a cabbage-wrapped parcel containing a stuffing laced with bacon, butternut squash, and roasted chestnuts. For a something that strays from the expected, diners can enjoy a pumpkin agnolotti with crispy pancetta, black trumpet mushrooms, baby spinach, sage brown butter, and amaretto crumbs. Pastry Chef Jerome Maure will add the finishing touch to the meal with a caramelized apple pie served with milk calvados sorbet and cranberry coulis. Dinner will be served from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM

The Dutch
2201 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Ever the innovator, The Dutch, located at W South Beach, will definitely be offering their unique combination of no-frills comfort with unique flavors and textures for Thanksgiving dinner this year. For $55, diners can enjoy a prix-fixe dinner that includes crispy turducken, root beer sweet potatoes, confit turkey leg stuffing, spiced cranberries, and green bean casserole. The special Turducken Day menu will be offered from noon to 9:00 PM.

Quattro Gastronomia Italiana
1014 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139

It seems as if Miami has no shortage of Italian-themed Thanksgiving Day feasts this year, and there are few places in Miami more authentically Italian than Quattro on Lincoln Road. This year, the northern Italian twin chefs will be offering a three course menu ($55 per person) that will include crispy pancetta with baby boston lettuce, grape tomato, candied walnuts and blue del Moncenisio dressing, as well as a fontina fondue with quail egg and Altamura bread crostini. Turkey Day is incomplete without a turkey, and Quattro’s braised turkey breast served with seasonal side dishes is sure to make this Thanksgiving memorable.

Meat Market
915 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Enjoy some specially created Thanksgiving dishes at this Lincoln Road steakhouse with such dishes a fresh Bell and Evans turkey leg roulade stuffed with brioche, Asian pear and lobster served with a spicy ají pumpkin sauce, fresh cranberry gastrique and bok choy. Or enjoy a Bell and Evans juniper and white cranberry marinated turkey breast cooked sous vide and finished on a wood grill along with a sweet potato flan, braised beet greens and a vanilla Jack Daniels sauce. Along with the Thanksgiving-themed entrees, diners can also enjoy a special holiday dessert of chocolate chip pecan bourbon pie served with sour cream ice cream.

The Rusty Pelican
3021 Rickenbacker Causeway
Key Biscayne, FL 33149

Options abound at this Key Biscayne institution with one of the best views in Miami. Diners can choose between a Thanksgiving Day brunch buffet ($75 per person) or a prix-fixe menu ($49 per person). Buffet options will include free range Vermont turkey with gravy, ancho chili rubbed beef top round, and sides like roasted shallot mashed potatoes, apple sausage stuffing, and blue cheese buttermilk biscuits. The prix-fixe menu, which will be served in the downstairs portion of the restaurant will include such specialties like a pumpkin and andouille sausage soup, free range turkey, or pan seared Atlantic cod with a sage-pumpkin risotto. The buffet will be served from 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM.

III Forks
Locations in Hallandale & Palm Beach Gardens

For a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with some creative touches amid a classic American steakhouse setting, join III Forks this November 22nd for a prix fixe dinner ($44.95 per person) that will include such entrées as a spice rubbed holiday turkey with Grandma’s giblet gravy, fresh cranberry-orange relish, sausage sage cornbread dressing, creamed potatoes, maple-glazed yams, and sautéed spinach. Diners can also enjoy a Midwest beef tenderloin in a roast shallot thyme veal glace with duchess potatoes, off the cob creamed corn, and sauteed snap peas, or a Vermont maple glazed Atlantic salmon with coconut infused jasmine rice and roasted autumn vegetables. Desserts will include such spins on classics like a pumpkin pie torte with whipped cream and caramel, and a Kentucky bourbon chocolate pecan pie.

Steak 954 at W Fort Lauderdale
401 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

While our friends up north might be bundled up for Thanksgiving, we can enjoy the holiday in true South Florida fashion just steps away from the crashing waves on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Steak 954 will be offering a la carte specialties this Thanksgiving Day like a turkey plate that includes truffled yukon whipped potatoes, turkey sausage stuffing, cheddar cheese and jalapeño corn bread, and cranberry chutney. Seasonal sides will include a classic green bean casserole, as well as an island spiced calabaza with pecans and maple glaze. Apple galette with fromage blanc ice cream and a pumpkin soufflé with bourbon pecan sauce and sliced pepita ice cream will also be on offer to round out an unforgettable Thanksgiving.

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