As A-list hospitality luxury real estate and blue-chip retail continue to thrive in Miami, restaurants are following suit with both local favorites and big international names stirring the pot.
We’ve heard it before: The restaurant business can be a fickle one. Today’s hot favorite is tomorrow’s has-been. But that’s not deterring top chefs and seasoned restaurateurs from setting up shop in Miami. As we head into summer and fall, the number of eateries opening their doors is overwhelming. Here’s a look at what’s cooking.
Attention sushi lovers. There’s a change of venue for Nobu when the Robert De Niro co-founded eatery leaves The Shore Club for what will become The Nobu Hotel at Eden Roc Miami Beach. Scheduled for August and clocking in at 10,000 square feet, this new restaurant ($37 to $120, 4525 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305.695.3232) will be the largest Nobu of its kind in the world. Guests will watch chefs prepare ultrafresh creations in the exposed kitchen from custom teak tables and chairs.
Another major name adding a fourth entry to our shores is Stephen Starr with the summer debut of The Continental Miami (Aloft South Beach, 2360 Collins Ave., Miami Beach), his retro/bohemian dining concept that launched Starr Restaurants onto the scene 20 years ago in Philadelphia. We’ve been told to expect a menu of Continental classics, new dishes and Chinese specialties that are sure to become quick favorites—after all, previous Starr efforts have never disappointed.
It seems Top Chef alums can’t get enough of Miami these days. Spike Mendelsohn (season 4) is opening shop late this summer at The Hall boutique hotel with Sunny’s (1500 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305.531.1251), a casual eatery that promises breakfast offerings like sandwiches with ham, American cheese, a sunny- side up egg and root vegetables.
Dale Talde (season 4) is busy with Talde Miami Beach, a local version of his beloved Brooklyn and Jersey City eateries, which opens this fall at the Thompson Miami Beach (4041 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 786.605.4041) with a menu that honors the chef’s Asian- American heritage. We’re talking Korean fried chicken with spicy kimchee yogurt sauce ($23) and pretzel pork and chive dumplings ($8).
Former Top Chef Masters (season 5) contestant Herb Wilson is also getting in on the game with the launch of Red Ginger (736 First St., Miami Beach, 305.433.6876) this summer. The Asian-influenced eatery will offer patrons a sushi program, a binchotan charcoal robata and an omakase menu, along with what Wilson calls “local inspirations” ($25 to $130).
Beloved for his Tongue & Cheek, chef and owner Jamie DeRosa is going for No. 2 with Izzy’s Fish & Oyster (423 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, 305.397.8843). Named after his toddler and opening in July, the menu will bring authentic New England flavors to the tropics. Diners will have to judge after sampling the clam chowder ($10)—and at least two dozen bluepoints.
Also doing double duty come autumn will be local legend Cindy Hutson of Ortanique on the Mile with Zest and Zest Mrkt (200 S. Biscayne Blvd., Miami), which will feature more of what she calls her “cuisine of the sun” (as in Caribbean)—this time influenced by the cooking traditions of Asia and South America. The 3,500-square-foot restaurant is expected to dazzle with a centralized, open-concept kitchen and alfresco dining for 75 guests, while the market will feature grab-and-go breakfast and lunch options.
Two is also the magic number for chef Jean Paul Lourdes, a New Zealand native with Michelin and James Beard Foundation pedigree, who will be in charge of Marion (1111 SW First Ave., Miami), a Mediterranean cafe and open-air market opening this summer, and the adjoining El Tucán (1111 SW First Ave., Miami), a late-night modern-day cabaret featuring Caribbean and South American fare. Marion is expected in late summer, with El Tucán following in September, and you can bet Bon Appétit devotees have already marked their calendars.
No one can call chef/co-owner David Blonsky and famed restaurateur Burt Rapoport slackers. The duo opened the progressive Mediterranean-themed Apeiro in Delray Beach in January and they already have a wraparound Midtown location (3252 NE First Ave., Miami) slated for fall. Main plates will run about $14 to $38, but the Moroccan-spiced lamb ribs with rosemary-fig barbecue sauce and pistachio yogurt appetizer ($16) seems the right place to start.
Wynwood is getting a gem with Alter (223 NW 23rd St., Miami, 305.573.5996), the chef-driven restaurant co-owned by Brad Kilgore. If the sound of entrees like grouper cheek with black rice, shoyu hollandaise, nori and dill nage ($24) served in an industrial setting appeals, then this is the place to indulge.
Chef/owner Brian Nasajon says the goal of Wynwood’s Beaker & Gray (2637 N. Miami Ave., Miami, 305.699.2637), debuting this summer, is to create cuisine with “an element of surprise.” To that end, he promises to use organic and humanely farmed products in his progressive American dishes ($10 to $26) like grilled oxtail with ponzu and peaches. We’re officially intrigued.
After years of South Beach hits, the Pubbelly Restaurant Group is trying its hand in the mainland with PB Station and Pawnbroker (121 SE First St., Miami, 305.537.7040), a new American eatery and rooftop cocktail bar, respectively, in the Langford Hotel (set to open in August). Designed to attract Downtown types and non-Beach-bound foodies, the menu excels at off beat selections like skate wing Milanesa ($26) and parrilladas to share ($45 to $75).
It’s back! Phuc Yea!, the Vietnamese- themed pop-up that started it all in 2011 for Aniece Meinhold and Cesar Zapata, the power couple behind The Federal, will come full circle with a permanent location (7100 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) where the culinary couple will once again serve dishes like five-spice cola duck and Cajun- Vietnamese specialties ($6 to $35) in a much lager environment.
Sure to lure diners to Coconut Grove this fall is Glass & Vine, a so-called “intimate garden by the sea” where chef Giorgio Rapicavoli has been tapped to create the hush-hush, still-under-wraps menu. Rapicavoli has delighted us many times before at his own Eating House, so you can bet hardcore foodies will be watching what develops.
Miami Beach is getting three new concepts from all around the world, and each focuses on Mediterranean cuisine. First there’s Byblos (1535 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305.508.5041), which just arrived from Canada and is already making its mark. Executive Chef Stuart Cameron integrates unique flavors from far and wide, especially in his duck, lamb, octopus and fresh fish dishes ($7 to $45), and guests are invited to partake in a spirit-infused cold-tea trolley that rolls from table to table.
Surfers from Israel caught a swell and brought the gargantuan 9beach Fusion Kitchen & Lounge Bar (1628 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 786.327.6073) to our shores. The indoor-outdoor restaurant and lounge offers classic Mediterranean cuisine all day and late into the night. We’re thinking a dill cucumber martini ($17) paired with baked whole branzino ($34) here sounds like just the thing.
Coming from the shores of Ibiza straight to the States in November is Lío Miami (1501 Collins Ave., Miami Beach), a club/restaurant/cabaret concept. In store? Four floors spread out over 30,000 square feet with five full- service bars, seafood specialties ($30 to $65) and live entertainment. Owners are throwing around words like “hedonist,” “original” and “glamorous” to describe the overall experience. Miami will just have to wait and see.