Prime Blue Grille and Il Gabbiano Are Just What Downtown Miami Needs

February 4, 2008 by Lucas Lechuga

Prime Blue Grille & Il Gabbiano Miami

Miami needs high-end restaurants, grocers, hair salons, pharmacies, book stores, cafes and department stores. These services exist today in Downtown Miami but they likely wouldn’t be considered “high-end” by the standards of most who inhabit the newly constructed $350-plus per square foot condos that surround the eastern exterior of Downtown Miami.

This is something that will one day become a realization. However, restaurants and other establishments aren’t going to jump to acquire the empty commercial spaces, which abound at the bottom of these newly built condo high-rises, until they feel that there are enough year-round residents to justify such a commitment.

Case in point is One Miami. This is a condo development that began delivering its condos at the very end of 2005. Closings began at a time when the real estate market was questionably still going strong. However, it wasn’t until the fourth quarter of 2007 that two fine restaurants, Prime Blue Grille and Il Gabbiano, decided to open their doors to patrons in the commercial spaces found at the bottom of One Miami. Two years! Summary of the story is that it will take at least another two years for the commercial spaces found at the bottom of the new condo developments to open their doors to patrons. Once they do, however, Miami will slowly start to become a true urban city.

By the way, Prime Blue Grille is an excellent restaurant! I highly recommend it if you’re looking for an enjoyable fine-dining experience. Prime Blue Grille is a steak and seafood restaurant. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Il Gabbiano, an Italian restaurant, but I’ve yet to dine there myself.

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28 Comments on "Prime Blue Grille and Il Gabbiano Are Just What Downtown Miami Needs"


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Anonymous
8 years 7 months ago

I can vouch for Il Gabbiano and I agree these are two great additions to Downtown Miami. I’m sure many more will follow in the coming years!

Anonymous
jcrimes
8 years 7 months ago

PB is alright. however, for my money, it’s mortons for lunch and CG for dinner.

Anonymous
cyrus
8 years 7 months ago

lucas, it may take a good 3+ yrs to finish some of these buildings before any commercial hits the bottom retail spaces…but you’re right…at some pt, it will be a nice place to go to and hop from place to place and have a wide range of choices. first they have to fill up the condos w/owners though!

Anonymous
Omar
8 years 7 months ago
Gotta go with Lucas on his praise of Prime Blue. They really offer good cuts of meat (especially the filet and rib-eye) with great service to boot. Appetizers like the Black Bean Scallops and Grilled Calamari are nice changes of pace. To accompany your entree there are few sides anywhere as good as their Proscuito & Fontina Potato Gratin. Prime 112 offers a similar dish, but this is better. (as you can tell, I’m a fan) The owners came from Smith and Wollensky and by design they share a similar approach. Not as stuffy as other the other DTWN steakhouses,… Read more »
Anonymous
8 years 7 months ago

Cyrus,

Exactly! My point, which I should have made clearer, is that One Miami filled up its condo units much faster than we’ll see with these newer condo buildings because the market was much stronger at that time. If it took One Miami two years to get two restaurants to fill up its commercial space, then how long will it take the newer buildings to fill up their spaces when it still remains to be seen how many of these condo units will be occupied by year-round residents.

Anonymous
8 years 7 months ago

Omar,

The last time I was at Prime Blue Grille, I had the rib-eye and Alaskan King crab legs. The rib-eye was amazing! I wasn’t so impressed with the crab legs but that may have been because I was so stuffed after eating the appetizers and the steak. You are correct in that the room is not stuffy. You definitely don’t feel like you are sitting right next to the table to your left or right. I like to sit in the second level dining area to overlook the restaurant. Great atmosphere!

Anonymous
8 years 7 months ago

Lucas,

I have a feeling most of the people buying these condo’s will be eating Raman noodles, not steak :)

Anonymous
8 years 7 months ago

Chris,

Oh come on! That’s a bit outlandish!!!!!!!!!!!

At least let us eat some Campbell’s Soup every once in a while. Raman noodles though! Come on. That was something I had to endure during my college years when I misspent my grocery money on going out and having fun. Please don’t curse us with those words ever again!

Anonymous
kim
8 years 7 months ago
Agree with all on the quality of food at Prime Blue. I wonder about Gabbiano, though. The food is good — the prices, NYC high, however. The restaurant was delayed time and time again, and even now, it is usually empty, despite the pedigree (successful NY/NJ restaurant) and positive reviews. The novelty of Prime Blue has also seemed to wear off. Living in One Miami, I used to eat there several times/week. It was so crowded that there was talk of extending the bar (especially since the Wachovia types were constantly present after working hours). However, the crowd has thinned… Read more »
Anonymous
Raffi Anac
8 years 7 months ago

hopefully we will get some mid-ranged restaurants also, I wouldn’t want downtown to be full of only upscale dining. then you might get a restaurant crash due to too much supply (sound familiar). hopefully downtown wont screw things up again.

Anonymous
Retail?
8 years 7 months ago

Echoing the above point, there can only be so many restaurants in the area. Eventually a good chunk of the ground floor space in many of these buildings is going to have to be filled with real stores. Of course the opening of real retail is more dependent on actual residents than restaurants are (a good eatery attracts people from all over the area). Owners aren’t as necessary as simply putting warm bodies in each unit, renters work just as well (perhaps better since they are more likely to live in the units year round).

Anonymous
RMP
8 years 7 months ago

Wait until the celebrities designate one of these restaurants as a hot spot. Then it will be packed daily, like Prime 112

Anonymous
dreaming
8 years 7 months ago
hmmm…..prime blue looks good, but how many times are people going to go there and pay over $100 for one meal? and the ital joint is empty because it is stuck at the back of one miami and no one knows it’s there, despite the water view. also, unless you are on foot, who wants to pay $15 or $20 valet to eat there? over on brickell key, the condos have been full for years. yet what amenities exist over there? there is a restaurant, so-so, and a deli and a dry cleaner and a bank. you can attempt to… Read more »
Anonymous
Julian
8 years 7 months ago

Wait until the celebrities designate one of these restaurants as a hot spot. Then it will be packed daily, like Prime 112

RMP – I needed a good pick giggle, thanks

Anonymous
dreaming
8 years 7 months ago

prince already went to prime blue, twice, a couple of weeks ago. nobody seems to be following.

Anonymous
Chip
8 years 7 months ago

The comparison between Brickell Key retail and the potential for retail and dining in downtown proper is not a good one. Not a single one of the condos on Brickell Key were built with retail space at ground level to begin with…the retail spaces “dreaming” mentions there are just in one purpose built strip at the base of the main parking garage. So no matter how many businesses Brickell Key could support, there is simply no space for them to actually exist.

Anonymous
cyrus
8 years 7 months ago

julian, the only celebrities that actually try to strut their stuff around miami nowadays is Trick Daddy, Luther Campbell and Rasheed Wallace!

miami’s come a LOOONG (and very sad) way since the days of real celebs…would YOU come to south beach now if you were a real celeb?

Anonymous
8 years 7 months ago

50 Biscayne has two pretty large retail/commercial spaces on each corner at ground level. (one side has room for outdoor seating) I’ve heard talks of a bar/lounge on one side and a Gino’s Pizza on the other. This could be a rumor, but I think the two would be nice additions.

Anonymous
8 years 7 months ago

There are also a bunch of small retail/commercial spaces on the rear of the building, but I haven’t heard anything about these. Anyone hear anything?

Anonymous
Julian
8 years 7 months ago

Cyrus. Yup..if you want celeb go to West Hollywood, Vegas, New York or London. South Beach – nice beach, faded glory and underinvestment. To be fair – up close and personal it’s hard to beat, Lennox Lewis and Michael Jordan in Prime 112 and Jerry’s in one night a couple of years ago.

Anonymous
Julian
8 years 7 months ago

http://www.bergproperties.com/blog/actor-rupert-everett-lists-his-two-bedroom-apartment-in-miami-for-115m/3003/celebrities

So he reckons he doubled his money in a year? Essentially prices stopped rising in mid to late 2005 in South Beach.

Anonymous
cyrus
8 years 7 months ago

…rupert everett and others like him are exactly why people who want to purchase in this market (very few of them left…) still refuse to buy because of this total disconnect between reality and hope.

Anonymous
8 years 7 months ago

Alex G,

I remember the retail spaces on the back of 50 Biscayne being available for purchase. I thought this would be a great opportunity. To be able to purchase the retail space, be right in downtown and in a very nice building would be great.

Anonymous
cyrus
8 years 7 months ago

….samir, wouldn’t you be MUCH better off buying these places for MORE $$ AFTER the buildings have proper residents in them? when do you think these downtown buildings will 1) be filled up 2) turnover the speculators and bring in people who want to live in them and 3) have this happen to all the buildings 4) wait for the retail spaces to start filling so you’re not the 1st fool buying retail space and thus taking the biggest risk? this is a 10 year plan (at least)!

Anonymous
8 years 7 months ago

I can at least attest to the quality of the food and service at Prime Blue. Though there only once, I found it MmmMmmMmm, Tasty!

Anonymous
charlie tomato
8 years 7 months ago

il gabbiano is the best italian restaurant i have ever eaten in the usa. .. i hope the quality of the food and service continues…..i hate to see what will happen once the secret gets out!

Anonymous
Simo
8 years 6 months ago

Charlie, I am from Italy, and the best Italian place here in my opinion is Ago. My friend from Prato and I went there last week. He is a longtime fan of the place. I will try Il gabbiano, but I doubt it will beat Ago. About the condos, most of my grad school classmates are living there right now. The building seems to have a high renter capacity but not much in the way of owners. The last time I checked, there were close to 140 units on the market in both buildings.

Anonymous
rachael
7 years 11 months ago

at least there are some new dining options. what’s lacking is retail, though i did happen to find a cool store 2 blocks from 50 biscayne – la epoca. they have some pretty good stuff if you don’t feel like driving all the way to the beach or south miami. i would definitely check it out. anyways, glad to see downtown miami is starting to gain some ground.

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