After disembarking from the Carnival Victory cruise ship, we had about half a day to kill in Miami before we had to catch our flight back home. We realized this wasn’t exactly a lot of time, so we focused our efforts on exploring the South Beach area (which is what most people picture when they think of Miami and it’s the part of town usually depicted in movies and TV), plus the Lincoln Road strip. The latter is a pedestrian-friendly outdoor mall that spans about six blocks, boasting a number of shopping and dining opportunities. And yes, there is an Apple Store in there too.
As we walked our way up and down Lincoln Road looking for a place to have an early dinner, we came across several overpriced fusion restaurants that didn’t exactly tickle our fancy. Taking a leap of faith with the TripAdvisor app, we came across Nexxt Cafe. The user reviews promised fair prices, plenty of selection and Cheesecake Factory level portion sizes. And just like Cheesecake Factory, the main menu gives you too many choices. They have burgers, tacos, salads, steaks and everything in between.
Because were there for an early dinner, though, we were able to take advantage of the happy hour menu (PDF link). From 4pm to 6pm, you have your choice of discounted appetizers starting at $5 and all drinks are half price. What’s more, the lunch menu runs until 5pm, so if you happen to be there for the magical crossover hour between 4pm and 5pm, you can take advantage of both menus. So, that’s what we did.
Ahi Ceviche ($6.95): Fresh raw ahi marinated in chiles, lime juice and cilantro. Tossed with fresh avocado, tomato, onion and cucumber.
I wasn’t expecting that much for just seven bucks, but this glass was overflowing with plenty of tuna, even if it doesn’t go all the way to the bottom. The ahi wasn’t quite as chilled as I would have liked, but it tasted reasonably fresh and the generous pieces of avocado made for a filling treat on a hot summer’s day.
Mini Filet Mignon Skewers ($6.95): Warm little corn tortillas, avocado, chipotle sauce and tomato salsa
We didn’t get the chance to eat some authentic tacos, but this was the next best thing. The chipotle sauce had just a touch of kick and the filet pieces were nice and tender.
Thai Cilantro Cashew Chicken Salad, Lunch Size ($11.50): Mixed greens, chicken, avocado, carrots, fresh mango, crisp tortilla strips, cilantro and cashews. Tossed in our citrus-honey dressing and peanut vinaigrette
We’ve had mammoth-sized salads at places like Cheesecake Factory and Grand Lux before. This “lunch size” salad from Nexxt Cafe was equally impressive. The chicken was decidedly on the dry side, but the brightness of the mango and the crispness of the tortilla pieces helped to counter that.
An Affordable Miami Retreat
Make no mistake. Nexxt Cafe is far from being a fine dining establishment and the food offered here isn’t going to wow you. What you do get is a decent meal at a reasonable price, all while people-watching from the al fresco dining area. Just make sure you’re here for happy hour. Our light dinner for two–including a couple of cocktails, sales tax and gratuity–came to $45.