Another newcomer to the Miami dining scene is Joliet Restaurant, located at 1209 17th street in South Beach, across from Trader Joe’s.
South Beach is a wasteland of low-quality options with just a few exceptions. Joliet is a welcome addition, a neighborhood seafood bistro, with Gulf Cajun and Low Country flavors. Opened in December of 2022, the place was packing in the flavors shortly after.
A super cute, 1,700 square foot space that can seat 60 indoors and shortly will be able to seat double that outdoors. White washed walls, cane chairs, marble top tables, lots of mismatched art, and greenery, with bistro style curtains. The two bars (a raw bar and an alcoholic bar) see lots of action, the music is loud and the place is lively. By 8pm the music was drowned out by the loud chatter of patrons having a good time.
The menu created by chef Juan Garrido has lots of small, shareable plates like oysters, caviar, salads, New Orleans-style BBQ prawns, Johnny cakes, and seafood towers. For entrees, they offered items like fried fish po’boy, seared scallops, gumbo, blackened red snapper, and cornmeal fried yellowtail or lobster. For non-fish eaters, there is a delicious hangar steak, a grilled bone-in pork chop, or grilled chicken jambalaya. There also is a blackened cauliflower steak for vegetarians.
Of course, there is the requisite cornbread, but I’ve had better renditions. Accompaniments included creamed corn, braised and smoked Sea Island red peas, potatoes Joliet, and hush puppies.
There were three dessert options. We tried the chocolate banana bread pudding that tasted more like chocolate banana bread.
The Southern-inspired cocktail program offers something for everyone. However, there were selections of wine from Spain, Italy, France, and California, with lots of natural wines and a focus on boutique champagne and sparkling wines. Several beers were on offer too. The food was not outstanding, but it was very tasty and inspired by the sweet, spicy, and soulful flavors of New Orleans.
We found the staff friendly and attentive and were impressed with our server Hayley. Joliet is a more sophisticated spot than the majority in South Beach, and their Southern-inspired menu and hospitality were delightful and fun.