Weekend brunch is arguably the most delicious meal of the week. Leisurely, decadent, gourmet — it’s the perfect way to enjoy a laid-back weekend with family and friends. With unique flavors, local ingredients and an upscale ambiance, these five Miami area brunches are worth waking up for. Whether you’re staying at the hotel or are just dying to eat at the restaurant, be sure to call in advance for reservations.
Cioppino at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami
A luxurious island escape, the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star resort on Key Biscayne is just a short drive away from the bustling city. While the hotel’s signature restaurant, Cioppino, offers an Italian-influenced menu, Sunday brunch also highlights mouth-watering dishes from around the world. The carefully-crafted buffet features fare from the U.S., Europe, Asia and South America.
Standouts include fresh local seafood stew; bright citrus-roasted cornish game hens; a spread of 15 variations of nigiri and maki sushi; and a new charcuterie station of domestic and international meats and cheeses. Another novel addition, the “country’s table” also features international dishes prepared by guest chefs. For a sample of the restaurant’s more Italian-themed dishes, try the rich penne alla Bolognese or creamy lobster risotto. When it comes to traditional brunch cuisine, the “chef de omelet” will whip up made-to-order eggs any style. Add to that a new crêpe station with a whimsical plethora of savory and sweet toppings. For dessert, choose from an array of delectable panettone, tiramisu, mousse, tarts and sorbets. As for cocktails, enjoy some prosecco, a Bellini or mimosa, or 12 variations of Bloody Marys, all made to order.
Fontana at The Biltmore Hotel
Nestled in the ritzy residential neighborhood of Coral Gables, The Biltmore Hotel is a National Historic Landmark, and the resort’s Sunday champagne brunch is a local favorite. Served in the stunning Fontana restaurant, guests can dine indoors or alfresco in the courtyard with its center fountain and views of The Biltmore’s Mediterranean architecture. Fresh, local ingredients dominate the menu, and a wide array of delectable serving stations offer something for everyone.
In line with the restaurant’s Northern Italian menu, brunch offers chef’s special rotating dishes such as tangy olive focaccia with tomato-basil coulis. Unique offerings include everything from chef-prepared sushi to artisanal charcuterie and cheese boards. On the lighter side, choose from nearly 20 different greens and salads, which include flavorful selections such as watermelon with feta cheese, stuffed grape leaves, blue crab and avocado with fresh mozzarella, and marinated imported Cerignola olives. For a taste of more traditional brunch fare, there are omelets, pancakes, Belgian waffles and French toast. No doubt the best part — Fontana’s famous “dessert wall” prepared by executive pastry chef Olivier Rodriguez, that serves tempting sugar-coated treats such as cheesecake, chocolate fondant cake, crème brûlée, flan and chocolate bread pudding, as well as an ice cream and crêpe station, and a chocolate fountain for fondue. Also delight in free-flowing libations — champagne, mimosas, Bellinis and Blood Marys are available.
The Restaurant at The Setai, Miami Beach
The Restaurant at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Setai extends the Asian-inspired detailing and décor seen throughout the Miami Beach hotel. The entrance area features a welcome table created with pavers from Beijing’s palaces and gray antique bricks transported from Shanghai create the flooring. Custom paintings by Christian de Laubadère, a renowned French artist living in Shanghai, enhance the look and flair with paintings, prints and embroideries depicting ancient Chinese people.
On the weekends, The Restaurant’s Sunday jazz brunch delights the senses with exquisite gourmet dishes and a lively Mediterranean jazz trio playing soft, upbeat tunes in the background. Led by executive chef Mathias Gervais, the culinary team cooks at live stations, preparing and serving traditional dishes reflecting global flavors, with an emphasis on the East. Favorites include: Provençale Bohemian ratatouille with potatoes gratin Dauphinois, fresh tabbouleh and organic farro Greek salad and Taggiasca olives, and curries and masalas. Some must-try grilled dishes are the caramelized leg of lamb and truffle roasted chicken. A raw bar also shells out fresh local catches, such as crab, oysters, mussels, and gulf shrimp. Finish with your choice of scrumptious macarons, pastries and tarts. Pair it with bottomless Taittinger champagne, mimosas or Bloody Marys.
Toro Toro at InterContinental Miami
The Pan-Latin restaurant and lounge is situated in the lobby of InterContinental Miami in the Downtown area. The trendy New York City-esque environment combines dark wood, wrought iron and leather seating, creating a sophisticated, sleek feel.
The contemporary steakhouse centers on unique South and Central American ingredients and flavors and creative sharing plates. On the weekends, Toro Toro offers a “bottomless” brunch with endless eats crafted by famed chef Richard Sandoval alongside unlimited brunch cocktails. Start with a refreshing cold small plate of ceviche made with yellowtail sashimi, soy sauce, lime, sweet potato and Tajin spice. Meanwhile, hot tapas range from short rib arepa Benedict (succulent braised short rib atop a crispy piece of dough) to cachapas (corn pancakes with melted cheeses and tomato jam). For carnivores, sample the churrasco-style meats, which include Omaha ribeye, Achiote-marinated chicken and Argentinian chorizo sausage. Also try some of the noteworthy new offerings — beef barbacoa grilled cheese made with braised short rib and bel paese cheese on toasted brioche; Mexican chocolate waffle with Abuelita chocolate, cajeta (caramel syrup), Nutella and crema fresca ice cream; and Mexico City-style hot dog topped with bacon, black beans, pickled chilis and creamy slaw. On the side, ask for patatas bravas (fried potatoes). Enjoy free-flowing tropical-inspired mimosas (think strawberry and mango), Bloody Marias and Micheladas Mexican beer. Keep in mind there’s a two-hour limit per table if you partake in the bottomless brunch.
Neomi’s at Trump International Beach Resort
Located in Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Trump International Beach Resort in Sunny Isles, Neomi’s provides an elegant, yet warm and inviting family atmosphere. You can dine indoors for a more intimate dining experience or outside on the terrace overlooking the hotel’s stunning pool. The restaurant’s contemporary American menu incorporates the many culinary flavors and traditional tastes of the tropical islands that surround Florida, and it serves a special spread on Sundays and holidays.
Chef-action stations present signature dishes that use fresh, local ingredients, showcasing Caribbean, Latin American and Mediterranean flavors. Always a hit, the “paella-to-order” station focuses on fresh seafood, chorizo, saffron-scented rice and aromatic vegetables. Another noteworthy dish is the whole baked fish in an herb salt crust featuring local catches Florida grouper and yellowtail snapper. Mediterranean-style mezze platters with tapas-like hummus and baba ganoush make a flavorsome dish for sharing. For the little ones, a kids’ station allows them to create sweet confections such as cupcakes, cookies and s’mores to relish themselves or give to Mom and Dad. Sip refreshing rosemary and grapefruit martinis, and tropical fruit caipirinhas and mojitos.
Photos Courtesy of Trump International Beach Resort, The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company LLC and The Setai