Thursday, March 15, 2012

Amazing Happy Hour Bites

The other day, after a long and arduous week, I felt like having a couple of cocktails with my friends to unwind. I went into a local restaurant and sat at the bar. I realized I was hungry and noticed they had a special Happy Hour menu with some pretty interesting stuff on it. That's when it hit me! Why don't I check out some local happy hour menus around town and share the ones I thought had delicious food, great drinks, and all at an attractive price? (Kashing Kashing) After two weeks of research, and a couple of cab rides later, I bring to you three places, in different areas of Miami, that offer some Amazing Happy Hour bites and cocktails that will make you do the happy dance.
Tropical Margarita
My first adventure took me to West Dade to the Bonefish Grill located at 14218 S.W. 8th Street. The Bonefish Grill is a national restaurant with two locations right here in Miami. I was pretty excited because they were introducing some new items to what they call their Happier Hours Menu, which runs everyday from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm. It includes 5 dollar drink specials including Raspberry Vodka Collins and Classic Sidecar & Mango Twist, and 1/2 priced mixed drinks, which is what I opted for on this visit. I was in the mood for a Tropical Margarita or two - and they knew how to do them just right. They were sweet, refreshing and hit the spot.  Within minutes of sitting back, enjoying the ambiance, Andrew Bear, Managing Partner, came by our table to see if we needed anything. I really liked how he took the time to explain all the ingredients in the new items, and I could see his commitment to ensure we were having a good time. What's best is that he dedicated the same kind of attention to pretty much everyone in the restaurant. Nice! 

Bang Bang Tacos
Lollipop Roll
About halfway into my drink, the first dish came out. It was the Bang Bang Tacos and they were incredible! Two tortillas filled with Bang Bang shrimp, crisp lettuce, diced tomatoes and sour cream; served with house made chips. The shrimp were amazingly tasteful, tossed in a creamy sauce with a spicy kick to it that tickled my senses. Next I had the Lollipop Roll. I like how they created a unique twist to a sushi roll. It was made with Atlantic salmon, Albacore tuna, Ahi tuna and crab wrapped in cucumber, with a rice wine wasabi dipping sauce. Totally cool and refreshing.

Fresh Ceviche
Bang Bang Chicken
I was on a "roll" sort of speak so I went on to dish number three: Fresh Ceviche. This was a combination of pure mouth watering proportions.  Imagine chilled John Dory, scallops, jalapeno shrimp, avocado, red onion, red peppers, cucumber, citrus, and cilantro all mixed into a seafood delight and served with corn tortilla chips. That's what this was and I loved it. Also had quite a kick to it. Feeling pretty full, but going for the last dish, I ordered another Margarita, and the Bang Bang Chicken. I figured if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it with a "bang". The Bang Bang Chicken was a bowl of crispy chicken also prepared with the same spicy, creamy sauce as the shrimp. Just as tasty and addicting. Wow! Great menu and I saved the best for last: Each dish is only 5 dollars during happy hour. Unbelievable! Everything was so amazing, I am planning to return soon for dinner. You can visit their page at or  call them at 305 487-6430.

My next adventure went across town to Brickell, at Fado Irish Pub, located at 900 South Miami Avenue, 2nd Floor, in the Mary Brickell Village. This area of Brickell has become a very trendy, and popular part of town to relax and meet with friends. There are a number of restaurants and lounges and it is usually busy with a nice crowd. The minute I walked into Fado, I noticed how interesting it was designed. Instead of being one large area, it is divided into sections, or rooms, each with its own unique feel and decor. There are numerous traditional Irish decorations throughout the pub and the ambiance is relaxed and casual. Whitney, the Marketing Manager, explained to me that Fado is the Irish expression meaning "long ago". It was commonly used as the preface of old Irish stories told by the Seanchaí or storyteller. I thought that was really cool. Another interesting fact I learned was that Fado was constructed in Dublin and then shipped to Miami for assembly at  the Mary Brickell location. Amazing!

Peachy Cian
Chicken Bacon Boxty
Now that we've done some trivia, I'll move on to the delicious food and drinks. I read through the happy hour menu, which takes place weekdays from 5 pm to 8pm, and decided the first drink I'd order was the Peachy Cian. It was made with Ketel One orange vodka, orange juice, peach simple syrup and a splash of Sprite with a cherry garnish. It was sweet and light and I really enjoyed it. Fado has a happy hour menu of food broken down into three prices: 3,4, and 5 dollar bites. I thought I'd choose a dish from each one and sample it. So, I started with the Chicken Bacon Boxty. As they'd say in Ireland, "Bhí sé fíor-bhlasta"! (It was truly tasty!)  This is their homemade potato pancake, topped with chicken, cheese and bacon, then drizzled with Guinness BBQ sauce. While everything I tried was delicious, this was my all-time favorite.

Southwestern Chicken Egg Rolls
Paddy Morgan
Next I had the Southwestern Chicken Egg Rolls. This dish was made with blackened chicken, roasted corn, cilantro and cheddar cheese, wrapped in an egg roll, and served with honey mustard sauce. It was slightly spicy and totally delectable. The fresh ingredients went very well together and created a fusion of flavors that had a nice bang to it. At this point, I ordered a second drink. I figured I'd try something different so I asked Colleen, my waitress, for a recommendation and she suggested I try the Paddy Morgan. Great choice! It was Captain Morgan, Stoli Vanilla, orange juice, triple sec and a splash of Grand Marnier, shaken and served martini style with a sugar rim. While not as sweet, it was stronger and a perfect complement to the happy hour mood around me.
Smithwick's Mini Burgers
I sat back and ordered my last bite for the evening: Smithwick's Mini Burgers, Smithwick’s ale-flavored beef burgers topped with Guinness mayo, pickles, onions and melted cheese. The meat was juicy and well seasoned, and the bread was toasted just right. The Guinness mayo was absolutely the best I have ever had! The entire happy hour experience was extremely pleasant and all at an unbelievable price. By the way, I noticed Fado is having their second annual St. Patrick's Day Festival on Saturday, March 17th with a series of activities starting as early as 8 am and including  an outdoor street event with Irish dancers, bag pipers, and a band. For more information, check out their website at, or contact them at 786 924-0972.

Wine Wall
Outdoor Seating Area
My final adventure in my quest for amazing happy hour bites took place at CRAVE Restaurant in Coral Gables, located at 4250 Salzedo Street, Suite 1425, at Merrick Park. This place truly offers "the king" of all happy hour bites, with an extensive menu of food ranging in price from 4 to 6 dollars, and a variety of dishes from kobe beef tacos to sushi. It is also a beautiful place, with an exquisite outdoor dining area where you can kick back and enjoy a nice breeze, as well as an ornately decorated interior, housing a "wine wall" and glass chandeliers created in a whimsical yet elaborate fashion. You can also find a spectacular sushi bar inside, cozy "chef tables" for some privacy, and a nice event room for social gatherings that seats about 50 people. I was astonished at the size of this place, and yet it emitted such a warm and inviting ambiance; along with the  attentive customer service of  Clifton, the Assistant General Manager, who was always visible throughout the restaurant, conversing with the patrons.

Malibu Peach
Indoor Seating Area
I looked through their happy hour specials for both food and drinks and they were phenomenal. Their happy hour runs Monday-Friday from 3pm-7pm and then again from Sunday-Wednesday from 10pm-Close. Not bad. You can actually eat a few bites, do some shopping, and come back after 10pm for a second round. After perusing through their variety of beer, wine, sake and cocktail specials for 5 dollars, I chose the Malibu Peach, a delicious tasting mix of Midori, Malibu, peach puree and soda. It was good; so good that I swished it down rather quickly and needless to say, ordered a second. At this point I have to say that their happy hour bites menu was so amazing, that we ordered about 9 different plates. I just couldn't stop. I was craving "CRAVE", what can I say? So, I chose my four favorite plates, which were very hard to pick because they were all so delicious, and will talk about those. You'll just have to come here to try the rest.

Philly Roll
Mini Burgers
First up is the sushi. It is so fresh and tasty that I would have liked to continue trying different rolls. My favorite was the Philly Roll. It was masterfully prepared with salmon, cream cheese and sesame seeds. We also added an order of Salmon Nigiri (two pieces to an order) which was actually priced the same as their regular menu. Loved it! Next we ordered the Mini Burgers, which came with smoked cheddar and caramelized onions with a side of fries. I just can't resist sliders on a menu and these were definitely worth it. The two patties that came in the order were thick, and the meat was savory. I thought I wouldn't be able to finish them but I couldn't put them down.

Ceviche Shooter
Fresh Margherita Pizza
My third favorite bite was the Ceviche Shooter with Wonton Chips. The pieces of shrimp and fish in the ceviche were very fresh, and it was tangy with a bite that truly stood out. I had a hard time sharing this one. It was right up there with the best ceviches I've had. Finally, the fourth dish I'll tell you about is the Mini Fresh Margherita Pizza. I bit into it, and had to close my eyes to relish the flavor explosion. It was made with Focaccia pizza dough, oven dried tomato, buffalo mozzarella, and fresh basil. The taste that lingered most in my mouth was the combination of mozzarella and fresh basil, which was perfectly balanced.

 Miniature Desserts
Before I finish, I do have to admit I couldn't resist ordering a couple of their desserts - CRAVE Miniatures. They are not on the Happy Hour menu, but at $2.95 a pop, you can't go wrong. Carla, our waitress, very subtly laid the carrousel of delights in front of me, unaware (or maybe quite aware) that this was my weakness. So, despite being full to capacity, we ordered two to sample: The French Silk and the Tiramisu. I think I may have entered a Time Continuum while I ate these, because there are seconds in my life I don't recall anything other than the decadent taste of these desserts. I highly recommend that you leave some room for them when you come here, and if you don't, just hold your breath and swallow, like I did, because you'll regret it if you don't. As a matter of fact, I'm making reservations for dinner next week because there is so much more I want to try. For more information, visit CRAVE online at or call them at 305 444-4595.

I hope you have a chance to visit these amazing happy hours and enjoy their food and drink. The service was impeccable in all three, and the adventure, one I will repeat very soon.



  1. I Loved you blog :) I'm not a blog reader (never read info on any blogs before) but I simply adore every aspect of working with food, making it, buying it, learning of it!!
    Thanks for dedicating your time and shearing your experiences with the world of Foodaholic out there!

    1. Thank you so much! That really means a lot to me. I totally share your passion for food and I'm happy to read you enjoy my blog. From one foodaholic to another, there's nothing more incredible than a well plated dish that makes our senses reel! :) Have a great weekend and Bon Appetit!