Chef Gonzalo Rivera Makes Waves

Since he took the helm of La Marea at the historic Tides South Beach in Spring, executive chef Gonzalo Rivera (protégé of famed chef Michael Mina) has been developing a buzz for his eclectic, internationally-inspired cuisine.  Now, Rivera is introducing new lunch and dinner menus for La Marea and a bar menu for Coral Bar.  Embracing the global flavors and elements he loves, the new menus also echo Rivera’s heritage.  “My Mexican roots definitely play a part in my food,” says Rivera.  “Beyond giving our diners a delicious experience, my goal with the new menu is to blend traditional flavors with more contemporary ones reflecting the diversity that makes South Florida such an exciting place.”  Diners may enjoy the new menus in the chic, 120-seat indoor dining room on the hotel’s ocean-front terrace, or in one of the new 60 seats La Marea will have on the sidewalk of Ocean Drive in Winter 2010.

A delicious international journey at La Marea begins with appetizers ($10-$18) including an Acapulco prawn “cocktail.” Additional appetizers include a basket of freshly-baked and grilled naan with a chipotle hummus, tempura shrimp fritters (tempura battered and fried), and Australian wagyu beef sliders topped with fried onions and dressed with Rivera’s delicious, house-made BBQ sauce. Lighter offerings from sea and land include a crudo ($15-$36) menu with fresh offerings as well as salads ($14-$18), such as organic baby arugula with roasted candy cane baby beets, Florida oranges, and a tarragon citrus vinaigrette and Trinidad tuna nicoise salad with quail egg, haricot verts and frisée, drizzled with yuzu vinaigrette.

Pastas ($24-$28) and main plates ($32-$45) are generously portioned and sure to please.  Carb lovers will enjoy tagliatelle served with wild mushrooms, red pearl onion jam, Humboldt Fog bleu cheese and porcini velouté, as well as the Asian-inspired udon noodles served with miso-glazed black grouper, coriander scented broth and bok choy succotash.  Rounding out the menu items are a slate of reasonably priced sides ($6) including sautéed spinach, grilled asparagus, sautéed broccolini, BBQ fries and sautéed wild mushrooms.

Although a handful of dinner dishes are available during lunch, the lunch menu at La Marea features sandwiches ($15-$18) including a delicious falafel wrap with tahini smoked paprika sauce, cherry tomatoes, pickled red onion and parsley, a daily “fishwich” served on brioche with Creole tartar sauce, pickles, and fried green tomatoes and the Tides Burger with Rivera’s BBQ sauce, pepper jack cheese, buttermilk aioli and pico de gallo.

Offerings at Coral Bar include a vast variety of selections such as calamari with a fish sauce vinaigrette, cilantro, garlic and almonds; crispy fish tacos made with black grouper, served with coleslaw, chipotle mayonnaise and salsa verde; and kobe skirt steak quesadillas with Monterey Jack cheese, guacamole, salsa fresca, and sour cream.

To wash it all down, La Marea offers a complete list of wines, Champagnes and cocktails ($11-$13).  Desserts ($10) on offer include piping hot buñuelos with caramelized mango, tamarind coulis and house-made Mexican vanilla bean ice cream and caramelized banana tarte tartin with maple-sugar ice cream, among others.

Located on the lobby level of The Tides South Beach, La Marea’s interior design by Kelly Wearstler makes the place all the more enjoyable, with an elegant dining room, seating 60 that is adorned with a stunning wall-to-wall display of faux resin tortoise shells that hang above plush banquettes upholstered in leather and bleached wood chairs carved to resemble rope, accented by vintage brass palm tree sculptures and floor to ceiling sheer, silk window treatments.  Tucked away, across the dining room is Coral Bar, boasting an eye-catching bar beneath a 22kt gold-leaf antique mural of shimmering fish.  Steps away, La Marea’s front-terrace, seating 60, features a shady canopy of trees and umbrellas.

La Marea is located at The Tides Hotel, 1220 Ocean Drive on Miami Beach, Florida.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner served daily–7:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; noon to 5:00 p.m.; 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.  Saturday and Sunday brunch from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  To make a reservation, call (305) 604-5070.