The lunch menu's star starter is hot and sour popcorn shrimp served with Thai vinaigrette ($9). To whet an evening appetite, the dinner menu offers littleneck clams ($12) and soft shell crab ($13). Main courses, such as locally caught grouper ($24) and mahi ($22), are as fresh as a rapper buried in iceberg lettuce. An Indonesian-influenced skirt steak with shiitakes gets high marks ($22) and can cross other transnational borders with a side of Chinese eggplant with red curry ($7) or faro risotto ($8). For dessert, the difficulty of choosing between the drunken grape parfait ($8) and the blueberry meringue pie ($8) can be mitigated by ordering both or by kidnapping Oompa-Loompas to work in an abandoned chocolate factory.
Sushi Leno’s chefs merge Japanese and Chilean dishes to satisfy cravings for empanadas and sashimi in one stop. After visitors enter the 75-seat restaurant and take a peek behind the sushi bar, the diverse menu diverts their attention to pasta dishes and Chilean-inspired sandwiches such as the chacarero, with steak, steamed green beans, and an avocado spread. With dishes that cater to a wide range of tastes, Sushi Leno can whip up a memorable meal after a long day of disposing grass clippings down a neighbor’s chimney.
Tutto's Mare chef Juca Oliveira draws on his own life experiences to craft his menu of international fusion cuisine. Inspired by his childhood in Brazil, he crafts escondidinho de camarão—shrimp creole layered with yucca mash and baked in a wood-burning oven. Drawing on his Italian culinary training, he simmers classic pastas such as al dente black linguine and gnocchi with wine-mushroom sauce. From the cosmopolitan culture of Miami—his home for more than 20 years—he borrows still more eclectic tastes, from Japanese miso to Peruvian spices. He also gathers seafood, fresh fish, and Cordon Bleu–trained mermaid sous chefs fresh from the ocean.
A thick white column supports the high ceiling of Tutto Mare's bright and airy dining room, filled with sleek black tables or cream-colored banquettes. Patrons may also opt to sit at additional outdoor tables or stay inside to pluck utensils from the food-themed graphic art on the walls.
Chef Willy Hernandez is an international man through and through—and the evidence can be tasted at Zielo Restaurant. His Dominican Republic heritage presents itself in the Caribbean-steeped trio ceviche, with shrimp, whitefish, and coconut-ginger tuna, or the ahi tuna tartare, served over a plantain nest. But influences from Asia, Italy, and France weave their way into the dinner entrees, resulting in such dishes as truffle-infused risotto. And the time Chef Hernandez spent in New York while training in the William's Culinary Institute also gets some face time with the cowboy ribeye and rack of lamb dressed in mustard sauce.
Guests pair this culinary voyage with sips of wines curated by general manager Ervin Machado, a sommelier and wine judge. The deep red of a Louis Martini cabernet sauvignon or Charles Krug pinot noir pops amid the predominantly ivory color scheme, joining the russet tones of the leather-bound volumes upon backlit bookshelves. Calculated swathes of cobalt add another dimension throughout the restaurant, resurfacing on water glasses, lampshades, the front of the bar, and the faces of those competing in breath-holding competitions.
On a white tablecloth, bright red slices of tuna steal glances from everyone in the vicinity before a plate of king crab legs arrives to take over the show. Kone takes its culinary inspiration from the food of the Japanese immigrant community in Rio de Janeiro, resulting a seafood-driven menu that fuses colors, flavors, and ingredients from distant points of the globe. A typical meal here might open with lobster tempura maki or Gulf oysters served fresh on the half-shell. But it's hard to ignore the lengthy list of housemade pastas, from classic lasagna to gnocchi bolognese. As they dine on the open-air patio, diners mingle over mojitos and wine, taking in the surrounding ambiance of Espanola Way's palm-lined streets, the restaurant's charming cafe-style facade, and the distant wail of jealous seagulls.
In addition to saying AltaMare has “the freshest fish in town,” South Beach Magazine, praised owner Claudio Gordano for creating a “menu that showcases the best catches from local fishing boats intermingled with classic Italian dishes.” Diners can watch every step of the preparation process, thanks to the restaurant’s open kitchen, where chefs batter local yellow-eye snapper and blanket it with cucumber crème fraîche, or lightly sear wahoo before plating it with baby artichokes and arugula.
Not to be outdone by the entrees, many of the desserts are creative takes on classic dishes: a “ceviche” swaps seafood for a mélange of tropical fruits swimming in citrus dressing, and the deconstructed tiramisu combines mascarpone mousse, ladyfingers, and shots of espresso and Bailey’s.