Vita, located at 1906 Collins Ave. in Miami Beach, is inconspicuous on the outside but once you go inside—then back outside to their garden aka “Le Club”—you enter a completely unique dining landscape. Wednesday night at Vita happens to be one of the hautest parties of the week in Miami and it just so turned out that it was also the night I checked in for my latest installment of “Take’s Take: Healthier Fine Dining”. Now I’m not sure what the scene is like on any other night of the week but if you like to look at beautiful people and be around the “in” crowd then I suggest making your Wednesday night reservation in advance. But since this a healthier eating blog I’m going to move on to the menu and let you decide for yourself which night you want to go.
After having the pleasure of dining at Vita I can honestly say that, for a fine dining restaurant, I was astonished as to how many healthier selections they have on the menu. There are multiple choices from each section of the menu that would qualify for healthier status. Since I can’t write about all of them, I’ll just share with you my favorites then list my other recommendations.
The appetizer section has three parts: soups, cold appetizers and hot appetizers. From the “Soup” section the best choice is the Gazpacho. Of the cold appetizers I ordered the Ahi Tuna Tartare and the Vita Ceviche. The tartare comes with a spicy guacamole which goes very well with the raw Hawaiian diced ahi tuna. Fingerling chips also come with the tartare but I recommend leaving them out. In addition to the tuna, scallops, shrimp and lobster that is in the ceviche, it also has chunks of lychee. I am personally not a fan of mixing sweet and and non-sweet but for whatever reason the lychee worked for me—my favorite selection of the night! Other healthier recommendations from the cold appetizers include the Endive Salad, Roasted Beet Salad, Tomato Carpaccio & Burrata, Serrano Garden Plate and the Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio. If you like your appetizers hot, I recommend either the Warm Goat cheese Salad or the Artichoke & Lobster Salad.
Usually most items from a raw bar are smart, healthier selections regardless of if you get them as an appetizer, to share or as your entrée. My only disclaimer is if you order the Whole Main Lobster or the Crab Platter go easy on the butter…otherwise enjoy! Raw bar selections are always low carb and low fat.
There was one intriguing dish on the menu that I was drawn to: the Whole Wheat Spaghetti Pomodoro. Whole wheat pasta is generally considered a more nutritious pasta option. If you are in the mood for pasta, this would be a suitable healthier selection. It has a light pomodoro sauce with a “drizzle” of olive oil and is tossed with fresh tomatoes and basil.
The “From the Sea” section of the menu had two standout healthier options: Wild Scottish Salmon Darne and Chilean Sea Bass. The salmon is grilled and served with grilled asparagus, cannellini bean salad and grilled shrimp over a lemon caper sauce. The sea bass is seared then steamed and comes with edamame puree, orange segments and an orange miso sauce. I am a big fan of the edamame puree, which you can also get as a side. It’s similar to a hummus in terms of texture and is an incredible compliment to the sea bass…or any entrée for that matter. Edamame is low fat, low carb, high in protein and a great source of fiber–the quintessential healthy food. You definitely have to try it! The Dover Sole and Whole Fish of the Day would also make the cut as healthier selections.
If you must go with something not from the sea order the 8oz Fillet Mignon. It’s a small enough cut to justify ordering it and comes with portobello mushrooms, provencal tomatos and just enough red wine sauce to not underscore the flavor of the fillet as it is pretty much perfect on its own. Trust me, I know from experiencing it!
When you decide to experience the healthier side of Vita, I suggest making your reservations in advance for a Wednesday. Be sure to stick around for some late night sight-seeing and entertainment for the aptly named “My Boyfriend is Out of Town” party. Very interesting evening—especially the hairy chested host with unusually nice long hair dancing on the bar…
For more information on Vita go to www.baoli-group.com or for reservations call 305.674.8822.