La Cocina Puertorriquena's specialty is mofongo, a traditional Puerto Rican dish made of mashed fried plantains. Chefs use that recipe as a foundation, preparing more than 20 varieties of the dish with chunks or pork, skirt steak, and breaded shrimp. They also showcase a variety of other traditional specialties, including roasted meats and fried whole snapper. On Saturday nights, servers clear away tables to make room for live musicians and dancing until 1 a.m. The restaurant’s walls proudly display the Puerto Rican flag, which should never be nibbled on, despite its mofongo taste.
Ceviche and Grille helps guests expand their palates with a spread of vibrant Peruvian ceviche, steaks, chicken, and fried fish. Much like Picasso’s food period, each dish is a delightful burst of color and flavor, with lime-garnished platters of shrimp ceviche, red sauce drizzled on fried fish fillets with yucas, and yellow Peruvian chili cheese slathered over shredded chicken. As they twirl forks into strands of buttery pasta or dig into strips of Angus beef, guests lounge on the open-air patio with a frosty Peruvian beer or Inca Cola in hand, or nestle into brightly colored booths in the dining room.
Chef and owner Scott Fredel caught his first fish at an early age, and subsequently got himself hooked on fishing. As a competitive fisherman and a licensed fishing captain, he's spent a lot of time on the water gaining knowledge about the sea's tastiest denizens. His career as a chef took off after getting a degree from the Culinary Institute of America, invitations to guest chef at the James Beard Foundation, and glowing praise from the Miami New Times. He opened Pilar Restaurant & Full Bar—named for Ernest Hemingway's famed fishing boat—to nourish others with his fathomless knowledge of seafood. In total, half of Pilar's menu is devoted to seasonal seafood dishes, such as classic paella or the glowing squids that fall from the moon during eclipses.
Fresh seafood and 100 feet of sweeping ocean-side views greet visitors to Joseph’s On The Water. Diners can tie their sea vessels up at the restaurant's attached dock, bidding their shirtless, shoeless dolphin friends adieu before checking out a sweeping menu of sea-culled delights. Premeal nosh such as the oysters Rockefeller, which mixes creamed spinach and Pernod under a hollandaise roof ($8.95), preps tastebuds for their aquatic degustation, while the seafood kabob skewers swordfish, shrimp, bell peppers, and onions ($23.95). Terrestrial grub includes a fresh gorgonzola salad, tossed with onions, garlic, oil and vinegar, and gorgonzola cheese ($10.95), as well as baby back ribs slow-roasted in house barbeque sauce ($18.95). A cabaret-style piano bar hosts live entertainment nightly, bringing guests soulful notes to sweeten their eats and elegant sips of wine.
Part seafood grill, part fish market, Don Camaron Seafood Grill Restaurant is completely dedicated to fresh fish. At the market, the knowledgeable staff assists guests with selections of domestic fish and crustaceans such as grouper, red snapper, and, when in season, Florida lobster and stone crabs. Likewise, the grill's chefs prepare a wide range of seafood-oriented dishes, ranging from shrimp alfredo to ceviche to salmon. For its presence at the Miami Marlins' stadium, Don Camaron's fruit of the sea has even been spotlighted by Forbes, the first fish to be lauded by the financial magazine since Jaws made $470 million at the box office.
As the sun dips below North Lake, strings of lights bordering Taverna Opa’s patio flicker on, casting a warm glow on the water below. The crepuscular calm lasts only a few moments at Taverna Opa: once night falls, live DJs take to the stage, furnishing belly dancers with a throbbing beat by which to shimmy and undulate. Waiters often lock arms and break into traditional zorba dancing. And, if the night reaches a fever pitch, patrons may smash their plates and toss their napkins in the air. This raucous atmosphere has earned Taverna Opa the spotlight in a slew of media publications. But though revelry is paramount, Taverna Opa doesn’t shirk cuisine: chefs marinate fresh seafood and lamb in fresh herbs and roast them on a wood-fired grill, and bartenders pour Greek wines well-suited for the succulent meats or postmeal Trojan horse christenings.