Michael Schwartz has done it again and made culinary magic with Fi’lia at SLS Brickell Hotel & Residences. The James Beard Award-winning chef has proved worthy of his stellar reputation with the creation of a cozy-yet-modern, hearty-but-not-heavy, Italian restaurant downtown.
The restaurant, which boasts natural, airy design by Philippe Starck and wood-burning ovens, is the chef’s first Italian concept. “It’s not specific to a particular region. This is the way I like to cook and eat Italian — straightforward and with handmade touches,” says Schwartz.
In keeping with Schwartz’s ethos that good food should speak for itself and Fi’lia serves unpretentious food with the freshest ingredients from the hearth and the attention to warm hospitality for which he’s known. Warm, artisanal bread comes out of the oven and onto the table served with high-quality olive oil and fresh oregano snipped right from plants sitting on the table.
Chef de Cuisine Tim Piazza comes to Fi’lia from his post as Sous Chef at Michael’s Genuine, bringing to life Schwartz’s food and approach in this new kitchen. Dinner draws guests in with irresistible “snacks” including Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta with stracciatella and basil and Charred Eggplant Spread on freshly grilled bread with grated bottarga. Working down the menu, dishes are conveniently listed by size, ranging from light but satisfying “small” dishes like the bright Citrus Salad with pistachio and aged piave vecchio, to large ones like the flavorful traditional cut in the 42oz Bisteca Fiorentino, executed simply on the wood grill with Meyer lemon and rosemary.
A special, not-to-miss part of the Fi’lia experience is its Tableside Caesar, a classic salad presented the old school way – made right in front of the table, dressing and all, which is the point – and tuned to perfection with garlic croutons toasted on the cart.
Pasta is made fresh daily and are creative and worth the trip alone. There is a nod to the classics in Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe with black pepper and pecorino coating the noodles with just the right amount of sauce, and amore modern approach in Bucatini with the salty, briny punch of bottarga to balance the comforting heat of chile flakes, garlic and breadcrumbs.
TThe wood-fired pizza is something to write home about as well, weather you command favorites like Margherita with tomato, mozzarella and basil or a more unique combination like Leek & Potato with pancetta, rosemary and trugole, or Pistachio Pesto with house made ricotta, charred onion, pecorino.
Desserts and drinks treats too, meant to be explored. Sam Nazarian, Chairman and CEO of sbe, boasts his own dish on the menu “Sam’s Chicken Parm.” Clearly it’s his favorite dish on the menu, one which, he thinks while help Brickell’s growing restaurant profile. “We are looking forward to making SLS Brickell a true culinary destination,” says the CEO.
The location is in the lobby of the brand new SLS hotel and sits at the corner of South Miami Avenue and 13th Street. Fi’lia serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as afternoon snacks and small dishes from 3-5:30pm. To make a reservation, call 305.912.1729 or email [email protected].