The two passionate pastry chefs at Astrid & Stephanie blend French and Argentinean flavors into eclectic café fare and desserts. For lunch, pairs of patrons can choose sandwiches such as the Chivito from Uruguay (a $11.90 value), which stamps its bread passport with layers of tenderloin beef before toothy customs inspectors tear apart its ham, egg, and mozzarella baggage in search of contraband Tickle Me Elmo dolls. Alternately, opt to browse the dinner menu, where specialty lamb foreshank floats over savory pools of meat moisture on a raft of fried sliced potatoes (a $19.90 value). After either meal, wash down a duo of desserts, such as meringue-topped lemon pie (a $3.85 value) and a slice of the cake of the day (a $3.85 value), with beverages such as piping-hot coffee drinks or tea (a $2.10–$3.90 value for a large). Then duos of diners can sit back to digest as the disparate dishes in their stomachs negotiate carefully worded international treaties for extradition to the small intestine.
The kitchen staff at Oggi Ristorante, which Frommer's dubbed a "neighborhood favorite," makes fresh pastas every day. But according to Gayot, this feat is nothing new. Formerly a homemade-pasta supplier for other restaurants, Oggi now stands on its own. Its chefs draw inspiration from homestyle Italian recipes and culinary techniques to creating a menu of comforting, Old-World staples. In addition to making whole-wheat spaghetti and perfectly square meatballs by hand, the chefs also create what Gayot described as "some of the most delicate stuffed pastas and supple seafood dishes in the city." Grilled scottish salmon arrives perched atop a bed of wilted spinach, and tilapia alla livornese is sautéd in a mixture of fresh tomatoes, capers, onions, and black olives. Other options range from classic chicken or veal parmigiana to filet mignon topped with a green-peppercorn sauce and accompanied by champagne risotto. The wait staff ferries these dishes across the dining room, whose white tablecloths and exposed-brick walls combine to create a rustic-yet-elegant atmosphere.
Varanda’s menu deposits delicious Brazilian cuisine in hungry stomachs, ensuring they're happily filled with ingredients from South America. Guests such as Lady Gaga and Ricky Martin have dined at Varanda’s, and the eatery can also satisfy inner celebrities with starters such as asinha de frango (chicken wings, $7.95) or pastel de queijo, a popular cheese-filled pastry ($1.95). Meat eaters can enjoy the muqueca de peixe—a fish fillet simmered in coconut sauce and spices and served with beans and rice ($13.95)—plunge their teeth into a picanha steak ($13.95), or sample linguica, a Brazilian-style sausage served with beans, rice, and a side ($12.95).
Cultures collide in the most delicious way possible at Capri Sushi and Italian. From house specialty sushi rolls to rich risottos, pizzas, and pastas, the chefs prove their grasp of both Italian and Japanese cuisine. Other original mash-ups include the Capri Asian pasta, which is tossed in a sweet and spicy soy sauce with seared ahi tuna, and the orange pecan french toast. All of the cuisine is kosher.
Café food goes kosher at Montefiore Café & Restaurant. This breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot’s French- and Italian-inspired menus contain only Cholev Yisroel and Pas Yisroel food, all certified by Kosher Miami supervision. And that includes everything from the chocolate croissant and cheesy mushroom crêpe to the paninis, pastas, and personal-sized pizzas. Montefiori’s team includes English, Hebrew, Spanish, and French speakers who can accommodate a wide variety of guests and share in how weird the word “cushion” sounds out loud.
Giraffas Steaks and Burgers channels 30 years of history in Brazil to tackle American appetites and remix American classics. A diverse menu harbors a lineup of American favorites forged with an exotic twist and imbued with a sense of justice, such as a 5-ounce burger outfitted with gouda cheese and giramayo sauce ($7.90). Three choice sides, including black beans, quinoa, and haricots, offset meaty mouthfuls of picanha ($11.90), and the tri-tip steak of sliced maminha ($8.90) sidles up to teeth alongside Brazilian farofa—hunks of eggs, bacon, and onion atop peaks of toasted manioc flour. Dive fork-first into the leafy canopy of a salmon and greens salad ($14.90), which plays host to bruschetta and a balsamic dressing, or fuel future adults with a nutrition-packed option from the kids' section, including spaghetti and meatballs ($4.90).