THE LIDO (where I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ come) 

Write this down so that you don’t forget about it. 

 In Miami, overlooking Biscayne Bay on the spacious deck of the hipster-friendly STANDARD HOTEL is a restaurant called THE LIDO BAYSIDE GRILL. 

The environs are amazing. Though steps away from the action on South Beach, the property, set among the palm trees and peaceful tropical gardens of Belle Isle, offers one of Miami’s best locations for seaside dining.

The hotel itself is intentionally dated with smart furnishings inspired by the mid-century modern aesthetic. As you exit the lobby for the restaurant, you wander on a path through the magical, Zen-like gardens peppered with sculpture, Pauly’s island rope hammocks and a little oasis…’til at last the moment arrives when the breathtaking view of Biscayne Bay unfolds before your eyes. You have arrived at THE LIDO outdoor deck and restaurant. 

Joanne and I have dined here dozens of times, often with our grandkids…not necessarily because we are hungry and need an immediate order of stone crabs to stave off rickets. No, it’s because of the view – ESPECIALLY THOSE SUNSETS. 

Over the course of our visits, we’ve pretty much tried everything on the menu. I’d describe it as “breezy coastal cooking,” with well-curated, sure-footed offerings that suit the setting – starting with beautiful, eye-catching tropical cocktails, artfully paired with a wide assortment of small plates, citrus and fermented, health food and organic, chilled and grilled, deep fried and raw. 

Among the mains, look for grilled seafood (sometimes whole), Florida lobsters, hanger steak, and a perfect rendition of Chicken Milanese. Oh yes, they are also riding the cacio pepe train that has thundered through every Italian restaurant in the country…and it’s good. 

I’d be remiss not to report some of the Lido’s “velvet rope” missteps in the past. For a while they had a NAZI straight out of central casting as the host. “You vill NOT be seated until der entire party of four ist here.”  “You vill NOT have a table near der vater.”  “You vill leave after 2 hours. Ve haf another party scheduled for das table.” 

We’ve also endured our share of servers who seemed to believe their absence makes the heart grow fonder. Note, also: If you are driving, valet parking is a must…but it’s $35 for 3 hours. And the menu is a bit pricy (At $49, the hanger steak is $12 more than ours at SALUT).

Nowadays, however, the place seems more well run, with a far sunnier disposition. Now that the Standard is no longer the hottest, newest place in town, the Lido has become markedly more guest focused. Funny how that happens. They also welcome dogs. 

So, more about the food. It is sometimes said, “The more spectacular the view, the drearier the food…It’s a place for the view, but not the food.” 

Well, I’m here to say that the food at the LIDO is good. It fits. Is it five stars? Of course not. Nor should it be. It’s OK to like a burger. 

After all, eating out is not just about the food, but rather the entire experience of the evening including the sunsets, the wine, the music, the tropical breezes and who you are with. And besides, it’s hard to drag your eyes away from the extraordinary waterfront views. 

So, in the end I’m dreamin’ and thinkin’ of Otis Redding softly singing, ”JUST SITTIN’ ON THE DOCK OF THE BAY…… 





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