Last weekend, Fanless and I were walking down Washington Avenue (on South Beach) on our way to pick up lunch at a local taco place (fyi: it sucked). On the way we passed by a place that had a sign in the window that caught our eye (“Salisbury Steak Special $4.95”). We joked about stopping there, but kept going as we had tacos on the brain (specifically fish tacos… which are on their website… but they don’t actually have. But, I digress).
Anyway, on the way back to his place, while grumbling about what a letdown our lunch had been, we passed by the Salisbury Steak place again. This time we caught a glimpse of the name: Frankie’s South Beach Hide-a-Way. Fanless said “maybe we should have gone there.” Oh well. Lesson learned. When we got back home, I went online to google Frankie’s and see what we could find out. The place had just looked like a tiny bar from the outside, but it turns out we were wrong. What I found out was that Frankie’s is actually a sports bar with a really interesting menu, and it had pretty favorable reviews. We decided that we definitely wanted to try it out soon. Well, we finally got the chance to do so yesterday.
I met up with Fanless and a few of his friends at Frankie’s South Beach Hide-a-Way for an early dinner yesterday. It was the first time any of us had been there. When I walked in, the four of them were already seated and had beers and hot wings on the table. There was a really nice lady talking to them about some of the menu items and after she walked away, I was told that she was Frankie’s (the owner) wife, Margaret, and that she had explained that they had only been on the beach for a couple of months. (I thought the name sounded familiar and later found out that they were previously located in the Doral area, where I used to work many years ago.)
Frankie’s South Beach Hide-a-Way is not at all what you would expect to find on South Beach. It’s not at all pretentious, and its ambiance is more of a laidback, midwest sports bar, than a SoBe nightclub. The decor is dark and warm, with several high-top tables and stools, and flat screen TVs all over the place with every sport you can imagine playing at the same time. They have a full bar, and on Friday and Saturday nights they have local bands playing classic rock covers, rather than techno DJs spinning the same electronica you hear everywhere else on the beach. Margaret explained to us that they’d like to become THE place for locals over 30, rather than rowdy Spring Breakers.
As I mentioned before, the menu was simple, but really interesting. I, personally, didn’t try the wings (I don’t like spicy food) but everyone else raved about them. Margaret had explained that they took twice as long to cook than regular wings, because of the grilling and seasoning process that their chef uses. Fanless and I decided to order the Seafood Nachos, and they were to die for! Instead of tortilla chips, Frankie’s uses fried wonton chips topped with a very generous helping of shrimp and fish, mixed with black olives and tomatoes lightly tossed in a buttery alfredo sauce, and sprinkled with red pepper flakes. The wontons were light and very crispy and didn’t get soggy under all the toppings. They are completely unlike traditional nachos, but I wanted to lick the plate, they were THAT good. I also ordered a BLT sandwich, a nice and simple classic, but the chef sprinkled the tomatoes with a mix of secret spices and seasonings that lent just the perfect savory touch to the sandwich. The flavor wasn’t so strong that it overpowered the classic BLT flavors, but it did add just a hint of “mmmm, what is THAT??”
Our friends ordered spaghetti and meatballs, cheeseburger sliders and – get this – grilled fish sliders! The burger patties for the cheeseburger sliders were hand-formed and grilled to perfection, with a nice crust on the outside, but still juicy inside. The fish sliders were made with fresh fish (I think either Mahi or Tilapia; I forgot to ask), which was white and flaky, and all were topped with fresh lettuce and tomatoes. They were perfectly sized if you wanted to eat one and take the other home.
The spaghetti and meatballs was served with a traditional savory marinara sauce and Margaret informed us that they make their own fresh meatballs, never frozen ones. The portion was extremely generous and definitely enough for leftovers.
While I just had a soda, the boys had ordered a pitcher of Frankie’s own No Crying Ale (“No Crying” is the restaurant’s motto). I tried it and it was really good. It was a little darker than most ales and one of our friends described it as having a “grainier flavor”, but I found it to be smooth and even a bit sweet. Whatever it was, it was good!
We had raved to Margaret about how good all our food was and how much we liked the location (walking distance from both Fanless’ home and his office) and the atmosphere of the place. After we paid our tab, we were just sitting there chatting for a little while, and the chef came over to our table to introduce himself and thank us for the compliments. That was a really nice moment and, as Fanless said to me later it “made him feel special.” I definitely agree with that. Margaret was so sweet, she kept coming over to chat with us, and even brought us a complimentary piece of tiramisu to share. We just though that was the nicest thing ever! And let me tell you, that tiramisu was sooo good. I tend to shy away from ordering tiramisu in restaurants because it usually tastes preprocessed and sometimes the coffee flavor is overpowering. But Frankie’s tiramisu was delicious! It’s homemade at the restaurant, not frozen, and it was light and airy, with just a hint of espresso flavoring. It was perfect.
If you happen to be on South Beach and looking for a nice, pretention-free place to enjoy a good meal and a couple of drinks without shelling out big bucks (our meal came out to roughly $15 per person), you should definitely check out Frankie’s South Beach Hide-a-Way. They also offer takeout and delivery, if you’re just wanting to pick up something to eat after a day of sunbathing on the beach. For late-night cravings, they are open until 5AM, and even have late night BYOB (Build Your Own Breakfast) after midnight.
I give Frankie’s two thumbs up, a high five AND 10 points. This is definitely a place we’ll be hitting up frequently.
Frankie’s South Beach Hide-a-Way
754 Washington Avenue