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Review

Nik Koenig

Los Fuegos

Written by
Nik Koenig

On your way to Los Fuegos, you will walk through the lobby of Mid-Beach’s Faena Hotel, which feels like being in a special Egyptian Pharaoh episode of “MTV Cribs.” If you take a short detour, you can pass an actual woolly mammoth skeleton covered in gold leaf. When you make it to the restaurant itself, you’ll find a red carpet, leopard print booths, and a chandelier that looks like the last thing one might see before being abducted by aliens.

It all feels like the lead up to the performance of a lifetime. But dinner at Los Fuegos is less like Cirque du Soleil and more like a traveling circus with an above-average juggler and a hungover clown. Unfortunately, by the time you’ve sat down, the most exciting part of the meal is over.

Nik Koenig

Before we get to the bad stuff, we should tell you about the one thing here that’s almost as impressive as a $15 million gold woolly mammoth skeleton: the meat parrillada. It’s a $175 platter of beautifully cooked red meat that can feed three to four people, and comes with a selection of skirt steak, ribeye, chorizo, morcilla (blood sausage), lamb rack, and some very boring potatoes you will ignore. It smells like a butcher shop caught on fire and makes every table within eyesight debate whether or not they should order whatever the hell that is. If that sounds like it’s worth $175 to you, go for it.

But even if you do enjoy your huge, expensive steak - which is really the only thing that’s good here - Los Fuegos just isn’t that fun. It’s stuffy and feels like if you get up and touch anything, you’ll be asked to leave. There’s also no old-school tableside carving or grand displays that one might expect from a restaurant full of $135 steaks. From the dining room, you can watch people at the adjacent bar drink $20 cocktails and dance to a cover of “Englishman in New York.” But it feels less like you’re eating at a party and more like a party is invading your dinner.

The misses at Los Fuegos - both on the menu and off it - are bad enough, especially considering how much dinner here can cost. But the experience feels especially disappointing after trudging through this swamp of luxury, expecting to be as blown away by the food as you were by the extinct work of art outback.

Food Rundown

Meat Parrillada

Get this and you might walk out of here not feeling completely scammed. It includes slices of a beautiful ribeye, a big spiral chorizo, lamb, blood sausage, and a skirt steak more tender than we thought skirt steak could be. There are a couple pieces of lit charcoal that keep it all warm while you wait for your second and third wind.

Wood Oven Empanada

It’s a good - but small - empanada, and you only get one per order. Order it if you really love empanadas. Hopefully yours isn’t served room temp like ours.

Wood-Fired Artichokes

The artichokes are pretty soggy and when you run them through the sesame yogurt, it just doubles the sogginess, making this taste more like a chunky artichoke soup.

Whole Florida Lobster

This looks sort of exciting on the menu. There’s allegedly a saffron butter sauce involved and a basil and parsley salad. But that butter stuff is nowhere to be tasted and that “salad” just looks suspiciously like a random pile basil and parsley that contributes absolutely nothing to the meh lobster.

Hanging Prime Boneless Ribeye

This is a big steak that’s cooked properly and has a nice fat ratio. But it’s also not remarkable for any specific reason, and we’ve had equally good or better steaks in a few different spots around town.

Roasted Cauliflower

This came to the table cold, but even if it was hot, we’re not sure it would have mattered much. The cauliflower has some color on the outside, but still tastes pretty raw inside. Also, you need a hammer to eat the solidified crispy rice underneath.

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