An eclectic bunch of restaurateurs are infusing Miami’s dining scene with fashion and flair, elegance and edginess, street style and sophistication this month. Here are some of the new standouts where foodies and fashionistas alike can feast this winter.
Cavalli Miami Restaurant & Lounge
Haute couture meets fine dining at this blingy spot that opened in late December. Renowned designer Roberto Cavalli brings his fashion artistry to life both in menu and décor in this Miami Beach eatery with the help of Italian-based architect Italo Rota. The two-story, villa-like restaurant has an intimate dining room on the ground floor and seating on the terrace as well as an upstairs lounge. Cavalli’s signature is seen in the zebra- and jaguar-printed chairs and floral-patterned tablecloths, pillows, wallpaper and floors. Executive chef Stefano Mazzi brings his Tuscan roots and global palate to the kitchen. Expect to find dishes such as organic lamb ossobuco à la Milanese, carnaroli risotto with Ligurian prawns, and gnocchi casarecci with blue crab meat and lobster zabaglione. Savor dinner with a taste of Tenuta Degli Dei, a red wine produced at the Cavalli Family’s Tuscan winery.
With a location already making waves in New York City, Lure Fishbar’s fresh, seafood-driven concept has set anchor in the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Loews Miami Beach Hotel. Headed by famed NYC restaurateurs John McDonald and Joshua Pickard with chef Josh Capon, the South Florida outpost opened in early December. Influenced by the Queen Mary ocean liner, teak wood paneling, step moldings, brass and chrome details, sleek white banquettes and floor-to-ceiling windows create an airy, maritime feel. A private dining room boasts a raw bar and sushi bar, as well as a stone-carved Art Deco fireplace and a Queen Mary replica. A patio also has a private bar. Menu highlights include coconut curry steamed shellfish, Taylor Bay scallop ceviche and Florida pompano atop fregola sarda (a semolina couscous from Sardinia) and Manila clams as well as the flagship’s popular Bash-style burger. Mixologist Robert Ferrara will steer the beverage program with nautical-themed libations such as the Catch and Release (Absolut, Dolin Blanc, fresh-pressed watermelon, and lime and orange bitters) and the Master at Arms (Tequila Ocho Reposado, Pierde Almas mezcal, passion fruit, honey, lime and chili-coffee tincture).
The classic steakhouse gets a green slant at the new Porcão Farm to Grill, a spot that opened early December in downtown Miami. The spacious area has dark wood banquettes and red leather accents, and showcases a viewable dry-aging room, wine cellar and an herbs and greens garden. Executive chef Jeff O’Neill’s menu highlights clean, premium meats, local produce and sustainable seafood. There’s a raw bar cart with items such as Gulf prawns and oysters and a cart with a selection of charcuteries, cheeses and fruit preserves. True carnivores should try the 14-ounce bone-in filet or the signature 16-ounce Kao steak, which is dry-aged for 28, 36 or 48 days, served à la carte. Offerings also include sweet water trout with preserved lemon quinoa and chorizo, and hand-rolled taglioli with crookneck squash and pioppini mushrooms. Ramsey Pimentel, formerly of Ritz-Carlton Hotels, oversees the beverage program, creating innovative cocktails such as Bubbly Passion (Grand Mariner, aged rum, champagne and passion fruit puree). There’s also a selection of brews, cordials and wines by the glass. Techies will appreciate iPad menus that assist with pairing wines and cocktails with meals. Afterward, head upstairs to Kao Lounge for dancing or grab an after-dinner cognac and stogie at Kao Smoke, a speakeasy-esque cigar room with a separate entrance.
Chef Richard Hales helped create Miami’s food truck craze with his Dim Ssäm à Gogo truck, while his Sakaya Kitchen’s Korean street-inspired concept has developed a cult following. Now, he’s opened this 50-seat, hip but unpretentious spot in downtown Miami. The menu at Blackbrick — the name stems from black tea that was once used as currency in China — is a hybrid inspired by Hales’ travels that highlights Chinese classics and regional eats. Dishes include everything from smoked pork with housemade soy milk pancakes and wok-fried marrow bones with cornmeal congee, to whole lamb and pig and Chinese charcuterie, plus a full dim sum menu and a selection of handmade, hand-cut noodles.
Photos Courtesy of Cavalli Restaurant and Lounge Miami, Lure Fishbar and Porcao Farm to Grill