Haute Cuisine: Global Fare Debuts in Miami at Three Haute Spots

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Estefan Kitchen, Miami Design District Palm Court

Estefan Kitchen

The buzz: Estefan Kitchen comes to Miami from power couple and music moguls Gloria and Emilio Estefan, bringing something that the city has long been needing: high-end, authentic Cuban cuisine. The couple has impeccably incorporated two things they love—music and Cuban food—into one luxurious setting, located in the posh Palm Court of the bustling Miami Design District, a neighborhood dedicated to enriching culture, fashion, art, architecture, music and more. All staff

at the restaurant come from a musical background, with singing servers and bartenders along with nightly performances on deck that give the crowd a taste of the Estefan charm.

What’s on the menu: Chef Odell Torres helms the kitchen, maintaining the ethos of fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create bold, flavorful Cuban cuisine, in which he has crafted a vibrant and authentic menu. His lunch and dinner menus skillfully showcase the heritage of Cuban culture with dishes like lechón flatbread, created with their award-winning roasted pork, mozzarella cheese, sweet plantains, organic honey and truffle oil; Vaca Frita, with crispy shredded flank steak marinated with Estefan Kitchen’s signature Cuban mojo and topped with grilled onions, white rice and black beans; the Cuban Style Churrasco, a fire-grilled 9-oz. skirt steak with white rice, black beans and delicious homemade Cuban chimichurri sauce; or for a fresh taste of the sea, the Crispy Local Fish—the fresh catch of the day served with crispy yucca and the flavorful avocado salad.

Drink up: If you’re headed to Estefan Kitchen, no matter what time of day, it goes without question that you will have one of their signature, world-famous Mojitos in hand. They offer a selection of the classic Cuban cocktail, including the Traditional Mojito made with Bacardi Superior Rum, as well as the traditional mojito in additional flavors of mango, passion fruit, watermelon and strawberry. They also offer the Mojito De La Havana, which is crafted with Cuba’s prized Havana Club Clasico Rum. If you’re looking to up your mojito game even further, they additionally offer the Chusma Fina—a champagne mojito—made with Bacardi Superior Rum and Rossi Prosecco. Another favorite is the Sangria, which comes in mango passion sparkling, white and red flavors.

Décor: Located in the artistically rich Miami Design District, the restaurant keeps with the theme in that it is, in itself, a work of art. Decorated in a monochromatic scheme with colors of white and blue, Estefan Kitchen evokes Cuba in the 1950s, paying homage to vibrant design with dramatic mosaic murals by Aaron Kirsch—which, if you look close enough, feature Gloria and Emilio Estefan on opposite sides of the restaurant—and an oyster shell-mosaic indoor-outdoor bar where guests can sip on cocktails throughout the day and night. The interior is accentuated by stunning art sculptures and mosaics, including Carlos Betancourt’s Re-Collections XVI, Azul, 2011, a stunning blue circular art piece on the left-hand side of the restaurant.

La Petite Maison, Brickell

The buzz: Brickell’s newest French dining destination, La Petite Maison, marks the first U.S. location of the prestigious London-based eatery brought by famed restaurateur Arjun Waney, the hospitality king behind hotspots Zuma, Coya and DÔA. The renowned restaurants under Waney’s growing Rolodex are some of the finest in the world, with a great following from Europe, Asia and beyond.

What’s on the menu: The authentically French-Mediterranean menu features five-star dishes from chef Raphael Duntoye, who has a three Michelin-star pedigree after having spent five years alongside chef Pierre Koffman of La Tante Claire. Bringing a taste of the French Riviera to Miami, the Nicoise micro-cuisine introduces light, refreshing dishes that are rich in flavor like the Crevettes Tièdes à l’Huile d’Olive—warm prawns with olive oil—the Tartare de Thon—a decadent tuna tartare topped with Oscietra caviar—and the Burrata et Tomates—a honey-glazed burrata with Datterini tomatoes and basil, to start. Must-try main dishes include the Daurade au citron, which is a fresh whole sea bream baked en papillote to crisp with lemon, herbs and olive oil—the perfect dish to share, as well as the Turbot with artichokes, chorizo, white wine and olive oil. For dessert, the Cheesecake is a must—it is quite possibly the best in all of Miami.

Drink up: The standout of the inventive cocktail list is the Tomatini, made with Ketel One vodka, fresh tomatoes and white balsamic vinegar, and seasoned with salt and pepper. While the ingredients may sound surprising, the end result is truly spectacular and the perfect complement to the light, Mediterranean meal.

Décor: With a classic, elegant interior, La Petite Maison is undoubtedly one of Miami’s most fashionable spots. Guests are greeted in the entry by a stunning bar accentuated by gold finishes and a beautiful display of the finest spirits, which leads the way to the open kitchen, decorated by copper finishes and mason jars filled with vegetables, as well as bowls of fresh fruits and vegetables. The white walls pop with color against the varying pieces of renowned artwork decorating the interior, creating a very modern, French aesthetic in an elegant environment.

Kiki on the River, Miami River

The buzz: Miami’s developing waterfront has welcomed a new eatery that offers a fresh Greek cuisine, which complements the breathtaking waterfront. A new destination for daytime lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch festivities, Kiki on the River has the unbeatable atmosphere, food and cocktails to win over even the most discerning Miamians.

What’s on the menu: Executive chef Steve Rhee, an industry veteran who opened Estiatorio Milos in Miami Beach, specializes in Greek/Mediterranean fare, crafting up a menu that features simple, rustic cuisine with impeccable finesse to create flavorful dishes using minimal ingredients. Everything on the menu is made in-house and many of the ingredients actually hail straight from Greece, including the spices,

herbs and olive oil, which give it a unique and authentic touch. Standouts include the charred Octopus dressed simply with capers and olive oil; the classic Greek Salad made with heirloom tomatoes and topped with creamy feta cheese; and crisp Zucchini and Eggplant chips that come with a side of the homemade Greek tzatziki dip, to start. For mains, the Lavraki—a crispy grilled whole Mediterranean sea bass seasoned with fine herbs, lemon and olive oil served with grilled langoustines and head-on prawns—is an absolute must, showcasing the chef’s expertise at its finest. For meats, the Lamb Chops are another favorite.

Drink up: For a Greek twist on the classic Lychee Martini, order the “Let’s Have a Lychee” cocktail—made with Nolet’s Gin, lychee puree, dill and lemon. The cocktail is a light and refreshing accompaniment to the Mediterranean cuisine.

Décor: The indoor-outdoor garden space is made even more magical by the breathtaking views of the Miami River. With a design envisioned by Mark Lehmkuhl’s Ghosthouse Creative Group in collaboration with Jay Wall of Thirlwall Design, every aspect of the dining destination references an Eastern Mediterranean seaside village, from the wrought-iron gates that greet guests upon entry, to the vine-draped outside terrace, rustic wooden tables and lantern lighting. The interior features vintage touches from its lounge chairs to rich leather Chesterfield sofas, a bookcase lined with leather-bound tomes and intricate seashell chandeliers, creating a whimsical, Mediterranean getaway on the Miami River.

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