Wednesday December 13, 2006



Soyka is owned by the same guy who brings us News Café and the Van Dyke. It gets respect for being the first restaurant along a pretty sorry stretch of Biscayne Blvd., but too often this translates directly into bloviating about how amazing and unique it is. Sorry, but Soyka is one of the most consistently overrated restaurants in town.

The food is inconsistent at best. I’ve eaten there a couple of times, and everything seems to be prepared and conceived very well, but a lot of the dishes come out bland or otherwise unremarkable. I get the feeling that if they tightened up the menu it would be a lot better. I wouldn’t criticize it for being overpriced if the food was always spectacular, because it’s obvious they’re using quality ingredients and employing a degree of craftsmanship, but as it currently stands it qualifies as moderately overpriced.

The service has been described elsewhere as being very good. I have no idea what they’re talking about. On a recent visit, and random request to our waitress had about a 50% chance of being correctly and timely fulfilled. There was a bit of attitude at least once when we corrected her. As I recall, the service wasn’t so great on past visits, either.

The layout is nice. It sort of an industrial warehouse with a select few posh restaurant touches. The ceilings are high, with exposed concrete and steel, and are offset with nice wood, leather, and wicker furniture; it’s a very nice space to be in. Enough to overcome the other shortcomings? Actually, it might be. If you’re frequently in the neighborhood, you don’t have many nicer dining options, so you may return often enough to learn what’s really great on the menu. After that, it might be a decent place to pop in for a business lunch. The rest of us will stick with the fancy pizza place next door.

5556 NE 4th Ct

Update: Everybody but me seems to love Soyka, so maybe I need to give it another chance. See the comments.

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  1. Alex    Wed Dec 13, 12:16 PM #  

    Andiamo! (the fancy pizza place). Love it.

    I go to Soyka very often, not so much since UVA 69, Michy’s and North 110 opened, but still. I like that they don’t run you away if you show up at 11 pm and you can have a burger (very good) and a cabernet at the bar. I like the food ok but it is uneven. They changed chefs and you can definitely see the difference. They used to have a great grouper, now my fav is the half-roasted chicken, perfect. The service does suck. I think they are understaffed.

  2. whl    Wed Dec 13, 02:24 PM #  

    i love soyka. i usually order the same thing so i may not be awar eof the inconsistancy.
    for being in that location, soyka is a great venue and withfair prices.

  3. alesh    Wed Dec 13, 02:42 PM #  

    whl~ so,, what do you get?

    alex~ yes, Andiamo. my post about them is very much overdue. I’m sure the burgers are great, but for $10+, there are much much better.

    I’ll try the chicken next time.

  4. travis    Wed Dec 13, 03:06 PM #  

    a soyka martini is a dangerous thing…

  5. skipvancel    Wed Dec 13, 04:27 PM #  

    I eat out about 2 out of 3 meals and I must say when I want to make sure I won’t be disappointed I head to Soyka’s. I find the staff very friendly and prompt and if I do have an issue they correct it. However, I am a regular there so it may be that they know me.
    Sunday brunch is my favorite. The eggs benedict are usually perfect and with their home made bread toasted with potatoes all for 8 bucks there is not a better deal in town.
    Also, their banana split is the best in town!

  6. circuitmouse    Wed Dec 13, 07:00 PM #  

    (sniff) I still miss the bubbe’s calling out, “my favorite customah!” at Wolfies. Talk about consistency…
    ...and don’t get me started on the batidos at Mappy’s… (sigh)

  7. whl    Wed Dec 13, 09:45 PM #  

    alesh – ceasar salad! not very fun but i suppose u can’t mess that up!

  8. Manola Blablablanik    Thu Dec 14, 12:25 AM #  

    huh … bummer … but I’ve always had good food and service at Soyka for several years and I hope that hasn’t changed. Favorites are the calamari appetizer, any of their salads, the onion soup, the meatloaf, the mac & cheese … and the martinis, of course! Maybe the key is ordering the staple items on the menu. For comfort food, it’s a great value, considering the ambiance. I enjoy the dining room but I do find it a little loud. I prefer to sit off by that long table near the bar, where you can also order anything on the menu.

    Sushi Siam next door is also excellent. Same joint as Lincoln Road minus all the crowds.

  9. Biscayne Bystander    Thu Dec 14, 01:55 AM #  

    Soyka’s brick oven pizza (bbq chicken) is better than anything to come out of the pizza & carwash next door.

    Alesh I completely disagree with you on this one. But then again, judging by this year’s Basel coverage, there’s just no accounting for good taste.

  10. alesh    Thu Dec 14, 07:42 AM #  

    BB~ I had the pesto vegetable pizza. It was bland, but then again, I think we had to order it without mushrooms or olives, and normally I make a point of not ordering anything that I have to get “without” something.

    Maybe I need to try it again. Article updated.

  11. KH    Thu Dec 14, 08:00 AM #  

    Soyka looks exactly like several restaurants in Austin, Texas from the mid-1990’s. I like to go there when I’m in the mood for a Texas warehouse feel . . .

  12. mkh    Thu Dec 14, 08:35 AM #  

    I used to go to Soyka almost on a weekly basis, and it has lost some of its points. The service is no longer anything special (too much like the “whatever” service I get on Lincoln Road), but the food is still pretty good, if inconsistent.

    Then again, I like the meatloaf dinner and the macaroni & cheese, so your mileage may vary.

  13. Rick    Thu Dec 14, 09:43 AM #  

    Alesh: If you don’t like it, you don’t like it. You say you’ve eaten there a couple times and it’s not your thing. Fine. Now because most everyone else says they enjoy it, you’re going to back off your opinion?

    If I come back here in the future and find you raving about how great the place is now that you’ve given it a 3rd or 4th chance, I’m going to wonder what’s going on.

    It’s your opinion. Stick with it.


  14. alesh    Thu Dec 14, 10:45 AM #  

    I’ve been there twice, though the first time was long enough ago to be somewhat shrouded in memory. Like I said, there are few options in that neighborhood (most are on the same block), so it’s inevitable that I’ll eat there again.

    The chicken liver thing might be worth a shot. Chicken livers — mmmmmm!

  15. cohen    Thu Dec 14, 02:01 PM #  

    its a cool place,,, to see even cooler people,,, but the price on what you eat is a bit much…. better off going to lost and found

  16. Yoda de Marin    Thu Dec 14, 02:23 PM #  

    I agree with you about Soyka: great space but inconsistent food and service. However, if you live in the ‘hood and don’t have the energy to make a Beach or Gables run, it is a great choice.

  17. alesh    Thu Dec 14, 05:09 PM #  

    The Gables?! People from Miami make restaurant runs to the Gables?

    And yes, KH — the mood and atmosphere is the best thing about it for me. I know what you mean.. the warehouse and the huge rustic chandelier …

  18. BB Foodie    Fri Dec 15, 01:18 AM #  

    Soyka really should be renamed “Sucka” for all the poor fools who go there and waste a lot of money on mediocre food. It’s astounding that Mr. Soyka has been able to keep all of his restaurants open, considering their lackluster service, high prices, and underwhelming cuisine. But whoever said Miamians had good taste — or even know food? I agree that Andiamo does good pizza, but the service there hasn’t been good in years either! Amazing that people around here don’t demand more from their restaurants.

  19. Soyka regular    Sat Dec 16, 05:15 PM #  

    I have eaten at Soyka over 200 times. The food is fine. The service is sometimes great and usually at least fine. The restaurant has very high ceilings and an interesting look. Who can argue with the plentiful free parking?