Kiki on the River – MIAMI
Going Greek—authentically Greek—isn’t the easiest thing to do here in Miami. Sure, there are plenty of places that will serve you up a spanakopita or a Greek salad or even an insanely overpriced fish that the menu claims to have been flown in directly from the old country. But rare is the establishment that serves up delicious, perfectly prepared and presented Greek specialties—in a gorgeous, lively waterfront setting to boot. Two years ago, Kiki on the River opened, and it is just that. It didn’t take long for the beautiful people to flock, whether it was just for the happening bar scene or to actually enjoy a meal amid the twinkly lights inside and the river views along the windows. Happily, unlike many initially popular restos that draw throngs only to fade out when the Next Hot Spot comes along, Kiki continues to enchant and inspire. Simple delights such as a whole grilled branzino and souvlaki skewers with thick, fluffy tzatziki are taken to new heights. Salmon Saganaki, a grilled salmon topped with grated tomato and feta cheese, just the right amount of Greek oregano and finished with olive oil, will make your heart sing. Carnivores will be more than satisfied with the Black Angus Tomahawk (this is a large platter meant to share with friends—it’s a 40-oz. hunk of beef and will set you back $180), a bone-in simply dressed with sea salt and olive oil. And of course, you can’t go wrong with a side of lemon potatoes or orzo pan tossed with shrimp, garlic, grape tomato and feta. Finish off with traditional baklava or Kataifi, shredded phyllo with nuts, honey and mixed berries, and you’ve sealed your fate: You’ll have to return for more, and soon.
450 NW North River Drive, Miami, 786.502.3242; kikiontheriver.com
Boia De – MIAMI
Boia De is the funky new neighborhood restaurant from chef couple Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer, who until this spring operated La Pollita, a beloved Mexican food cart in the Design District. They closed La Pollita to focus on launching Boia De (which translates to “oh my” in Italian), an intimate, 24-seat space done in a retro-modern style, with a modern American menu focusing on local, seasonal ingredients. Straightforward with standout signature dishes, that menu ranges from snacks and starters to composed plates and includes choices such as Crispy Polenta with marinated eggplant, basil and ricotta salata; Baked Clams with ‘njuda and lemon; Ricotta Gnudi with cherry pomodoro; and Crispy Potato Skins with burrata, caviar and hard-boiled egg. Larger plates include Pappardelle alla Lepre, rabbit sugo with tomato and rosemary; Pork Collar Steak with fennel pollen, cherries and mustard greens, and Costata Alla Fiorentina, a dry-aged bone-in NY Strip offered with brown butter potatoes. On the lighter side, opt for Steamed Atlantic Cod with chickpeas, leeks, tomato and white wine or Grilled Yellowtail Snapper with crispy artichokes and Meyer lemon aioli. The emphasis on local resources naturally extends to the dining experience as well: bread from Miami’s outpost of Sullivan Street Bakery, coffee from Great Circle Coffee, and ice cream from Frice Cream, all located in the surrounding neighborhood. In fact, perhaps the most compelling story behind the restaurant’s genesis lies with the involvement of local artisans, artists, purveyors and friends in helping bring Boia De to life.
5205 Northeast Second Ave., 305.967.8866; boiaderestaurant.com
Amare Ristorante- MIAMI BEACH
Located in the SoFi district, Amare Ristorante’s artfully prepared Southern Italian fare is served in a glamorous setting that evokes la grande bellezza of Italy’s Amalfi coast. The restaurant, a highly anticipated collaboration between restaurateur Gino Iovino of the award-winning Girasole in Atlantic City and Franco Ricatti and Chef Cosimo Cassano of Bacco Osteria, the Michelin-starred concept in Puglia, Italy, features a menu that’s true to the time-honored dishes found in the small towns and villages along the Italian coastline. Highlights include Carpaccio, such as the Tonno, yellowfin tuna with avocado, pear, lemon and mint, and Funghi, warm, thinly sliced filet mignon with oyster, shiitake and porcini mushrooms; Spaghetti, an award-winning Pasta di Gragnano with a one-pound Maine lobster, tomato and Calabrian chili; Branzino al Sale, whole salt-baked Mediterranean Sea Bass, and Agnello al Moscato di Trani grilled Colorado lamb chops, Moscato wine, potatoes and fresh herbs. An additional special dish is offered one day every week—think classics like Lasagna di Mare and traditional family-style Sunday Dinner with Rigatoni Pasta di Gragnano, Spicy Italian Sausage Ragu, Beef Braciola and Pork Ossobuco. Small bites are available at the bar, such as Branzino Ceviche, Polpettina—meatball sliders with bell pepper, olives and capers—and Casarecce, a combination of Tuscan kale pesto, almonds, brussels sprouts and mushrooms. For a sweet finish, the bustling Dolci Station treats guests to latte arte, or “the art of milk,” offering homemade pastries, specialty cakes and desserts made fresh daily, a selection of imported formaggi, and coffee beverages brewed at the espresso bar.
1 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305.731.6999; amareristorante.com