Hey Frugs! I have good news! I am a new “spokesblogger” for Restaurant.com. What does that mean for you? Look for occasional reviews from yours truly, giving you all the insider scoop on restaurants from the frugal and fabulous point of view! I’ll also let you know what it’s like using Restaurant.com to save money on the cost of the meal! I’m excited about the new opportunity and even more excited to share with you my first review of Atrio Restaurant, in the Conrad Hotel in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood.
Atrio is a Good Restaurant for the Cosmopolitan and Comfortable
Yes, Miami’s beaches are beautiful, but as a Chicagoan living in South Florida, I will always be a sucker an urban sophisticate location like Brickell. I’m a fan of skyscrapers, but I also like to keep my luxury dining costs from going sky high! I used Restaurant.com for help!
Restaurant.com is a favorite for Frugalistas because it offers you discounts on dining. The rules of the game are that you can buy gift certificates to the restaurants at a discount, but there is a minimum purchase in order to be able to use it. In this case, I used a $50 gift certificate that only cost $20. By using that gift certificate, I had to spend $100 before tax and tip. Cool.
When redeeming my gift certificate from the site, there were some warnings – minimum two entrees, 18 percent gratuity added prior to discount and the deal was valid for dinner only. I get the sense that Restaurant.com likes to attract frugals – people who like a good value- and is anti-cheapie – people who don’t like to tip.
I called up my workout partner and party friend Thatcher(yes, we’ve hit up some of the best nightclubs and happy hours), and asked her to if she wanted to check out the restaurant. Of course she was game for a night on the town for upscale eats! I slipped on my black, cotton, Cynthia Rowley tank dress and slipped on my two-inch sandals with a cone-shaped heel. Thatcher wore a maxi-length dress in turquoise. We looked Miami beachy chic!
Atrio is on the 25th floor of the hotel. As soon as you step off the elevator, the scent of citrus fragrance entices you to walk to the left around the corner and to Atrio. We were greeted and seated immediately.
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Atrio wasn’t crowded. The diners were diverse mix of couples, young professionals, and families. The bordeaux-colored restaurant gave off a professional and serious dining vibe, but the Top 40 techno music that played in the background allowed us to not get too stuffy. We sat on the side that overlooked downtown Miami’s skyline, which allows you to literally feel on top of the world.
Our waiter, Juan, was extremely helpful, helping what to decide what to eat off the global fusion menu. Up first was soft shell crab with fried green tomatoes and smoked corn relish appetizer which was a serving of bliss on a plate. The mix of fried foods and vegetables was the best of both worlds for my palate. I requested Tabasco (served in adorable mini-bottles) to give it an extra kick. It was my favorite of the night.
For dinner, I ordered grilled Florida yellowtail snapper, seasoned with red grapefruit salsa and basil aioli. The presentation was delightful and the meal tasteful. I suggest diners request that the chef to go easy on the basil aioli, a green sauce on the bottom of the plate. I must admit, though, that I secretly wanted the steak, but I wanted to eat lighter. My friend Thatcher ordered the skirt steak and I had meal-envy all night. Thatcher’s medium-rare steak (which she allowed me to taste) thrilled me. We also shared a side of grilled asparagus which was extremely satisfying -hearty enough to be it’s own light meal. We paired our meals with a delightful Riesling that was a perfect pitch between sweet and dry.
For dessert, I ordered a blueberry and peach cobbler that was good, but in the future, I will order the donut bread pudding as the waiter suggested. I’m convinced that all cobblers are best made from the home of a trusted aunt. Thatcher got the Key Lime pana cotta, which was a refreshing way to serve one of Florida’s favorite flavors. Yes, I had another case of meal envy.
After dining I handed the server my restaurant.com print out and he took it gladly! The bill came up to $149.86 with gratuity included but we were only charged $99.86. We got a $30 discount on the meal because we were able to get a $50 gift certificate for only $20. Yay!
Here are the “Frugalista Five” to Remember When Eating at Atrio using Restaurant.com:
1) Listen to the server’s suggestions. All of my food was good, but our server was spot on with insider tips on what to order. The soft shell crab appetizer is something that makes my mouth water when I think of it!
2) Be sure to use valet parking and get your parking ticket validated for free!
3) Restaurant.com is welcomed there and I didn’t experience a snotty attitude for using a savings site. I made sure to tell the waiter before being seated that I had a restaurant.com gift certificate.
4) Atrio has a beautiful wine room at the side of the restaurant. You MUST order wine when you are there or you are wasting an experience.
5) Atrio is a great place to go when you want have a finer dining experience, but you still want to feel comfortable. Miami can be a bit “extra” and Atrio offers all the looks of a cosmopolitan scene, while having warm and relaxing service.
I was comped for the meal by Restaurant.com.