Cvltvra – MIAMI
Executive chef Fabian Di Paolo is cooking up his magic in the Magic City, now at Cvltvvra, a concept born from a combination of experiences and travels throughout Latin America. Di Paolo, who has cooked with Jean-Georges Vongerichten at the W hotel in Washington, D.C., melds the flavors and cultures of his Latin roots with inspiration taken from the Mediterranean food market. Go with friends—the best way to experience meze-style dining–and pick a couple of options from each category: Corvina Ceviche “Apaltado” with avocado, lime, maiz cancha, sweet potato and cancha corn as a cold starter; Braised Short Rib tacos with charred veg and chili sauce, avocado crema, watermelon radishes and fried chicharron from the taco list; and succulent Pork Ribs with guayaba glaze and red pepper chimichurri from “Shared.” Heartier appetites can go for one of the extraordinary main dishes, such as Seafood Carbonara, consisting of spaghetti, lump crab, shrimp, English peas and pancetta in parmesan cream; Pollo Asado, a free-range grilled chicken served with Latin rice, pineapple, plantain, coconut and sofrito; or Argentinean “Bife Ancho” New York sirloin with sautéed potatoes. Desserts range from the rich—Dulce de Leche Panna Cotta with salted caramel popcorn, cocoa nibs and helada crema de dulce de leche—to just a feather-light sweet ending in the form of a Passion Fruit Souffle alongside ginger ice cream and passion fruit caramel. Downtown Miami continues to rock the culinary scene, with no signs of letting up, and Cvltvra is indicative of that.
1100 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305.808.3507; cvltvra.com
Dragonfly Izakaya + Fish market – DORAL
Izakaya has become almost as common a term in the South Florida dining lexicon as sushi. The concept is an informal Japanese gathering place, often a tavern or bar, that serves cocktails and snacks; in Japan, they’re a popular place for people to get together and drink after work. Here in Miami, perhaps no other spot excels at it the way Dragonfly Izakaya does. While the eatery has firmly established its place among Doral’s restaurant community as a local favorite, there’s a refreshed menu that’s just been put in place that even diehard fans of the familiar will be excited to try. Dragonfly’s newly created three-tiered omakase (“I’ll leave it up to you” in Japanese, referencing the tendency to let the chef decide) program includes Nigiri Omakase, a chef’s selection—around 13 pieces—of local and imported fishes paired with chef’s choice of toppings; Toyoso Market Omakase, an array of Toyosu Market imports from the famous wholesale seafood market of the same name along with local fishes finished with the chef’s choice of toppings and paired with select izakaya house dishes (be hungry—this totals around 17 dishes); and the Emperor’s Omakase, at 21 pieces/dishes, the big daddy of them all, a selection of Toyosu Market imports, local fishes and A5 Wagyu beef finished with chef’s choice toppings
and paired with select izakaya dishes. All this, and the old favorites remain, adding yet another reason to get yourself over to Dragonfly ASAP.
5241 NW 87th Ave., Doral, 305.222.7447; dragonflyrestaurants.com
Mila Restaurant – MIAMI BEACH
A rooftop water garden? Yes, please. That’s what you’ll find on the second floor of Mila, new to Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, which in January launched its Mediterranean-Asian fusion cuisine. French-born Greg Galy and his wife, Marine, relocated to Miami to open a restaurant, with Greg fresh off his gig as president of the Fig & Olive chain. Despite the recent departures from Lincoln Road of South Beach stalwarts Nexxt and Sushi Samba, the couple—who named their new eatery after the daughter they never had (they are parents of two boys)—enlisted the talents of French chef Nicolas Mazier, who’s drawing diners with his renditions of sushi (dubbed “Mediterrasian” in nature), specialty dishes such as togarashi Japanese bouillabaisse with sansho-sesame croutons; shawarma-spiced Wagyu dumplings with butter ponzu; and flavorful entrées like diver scallops with foie gras and squid ink tuile and Colorado rack of lamb with roasted heirloom carrots and shiso-macadamia pesto. Sides lean toward grilled, roasted and charred vegetables, while of the desserts are mostly fruity, from spiced-poached pineapple with saffron espuma, pecan crumble and tofu ice cream to blueberry mousse with yogurt ice cream and a shiso biscuit, although there is a delightful chocolate royale with Japanese whisky-coffee ice cream in the offing. One visit on a breezy, not too balmy South Florida night, and you’ll be convinced that this rooftop is the place to be on a weekend—or weeknight—evening.
800 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 786.706.0744; milarestaurant.com