Unless you’re familiar with the original New York eatery, Upland doesn’t sound like the name of a restaurant. It sounds like a beautiful place.. perhaps in upstate New York with lakes and trees. But it is indeed a beautiful new Stephen Starr restaurant South of Fifth that is giving Miamians a new hot spot to buzz about.
As at Upland NYC, Chef Justin Smillie, a Jean-Georges Vongerichten alum known for his stunning California-inspired cuisine, created the menu and helms the kitchen. Smillie first rose to prominence as chef at Il Buco Alimentari before partnering with Stephen Starr and has received critical acclaim – including nods from The Wall Street Journal and New York Times – for Upland NYC’s contemporary California-inspired cuisine. He has also authored a cookbook Slow Fires: Mastering New Ways to Braise, Roast, and Grill.
Upland Miami boasts an open kitchen, along with a bar-type seating offering a front-row view of the show in the kitchen. Wood and copper finishes, green leather banquets and jars of brined meyer lemons set the distinctly American scene, which was created by Roman & Williams.
Named for the southern California town where Smillie was raised, Upland showcases Smillie’s sophisticated sensibility with a menu featuring rustic and seasonally influenced fare that mirrors the New York location. Dishes range from expertly prepared fresh pastas, pizzas, vegetables and wood-fired proteins. Highlights include Wood-fired prawns; Pappardelle with spicy sausage ragù, kale and parmigiano; and Roasted Short Rib for Two with castelvetrano olives, walnuts, celery and horseradish.
Satisfied guests aren’t the only ones that think the restaurant is a good fit. “South Florida and Southern California have similar tastes in food – health conscious consumers with sophisticated tastes – and we think Upland will be a great fit for Miami Beach,” says Smillie. “The partnership with Starr has been fantastic and I look forward to joining Starr Restaurants’ Florida family.”
Situated at the southernmost end of Collins Avenue, Upland features indoor and outdoor seating and a gorgeous modern bistro setting with an open exhibition kitchen. Design elements — including walls lined with wine and preserved lemons and artichokes – pay homage to Upland’s New York City counterpart. Meanwhile, the kitchen is outfitted with state of the art equipment and thoughtful details including a wood-fired grill and pizza oven and humidity controlled room that ensures perfect pasta and pizza dough all year round.
Upland is open for dinner from 5:30 – 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5:30 p.m. – 12 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Lunch and brunch services will launch in weeks to come.