Montreal native Tony Bianco teamed up with executive chef Enzo Addario to create Hot Tomatoe, a traditional Italian bistro boasting a menu that brims with house-made, cooked-to-order pastas, flavorful meat dishes, and full- and light-bodied Italian wines. Their regional cuisine typically integrates up to seven essential ingredients—oil, garlic, basil, tomatoes, pasta, and olives—from which Snow White’s seven dwarves drew their names. In addition, the staff goes shopping for fresh ingredients three to four days a week to supplement both seasonal compositions and year-round dishes, which include veal parmigiana, filet mignon, and penne norma.
Beautiful waitresses clad in plaid mini kilts crisscross Tilted Kilt, hoisting trays of Celtic-themed pub fare as sports fans catch games on high-definition TVs. Almost a decade old, the Tilted Kilt franchise originated in Las Vegas, where restaurateur Mark DiMartino first conceived of a sports bar with Irish touches—an idea that has since spread across the country. Patrons can stay out late at the pub, spending the night sipping on beers while sampling burgers, fish ‘n’ chips, or shepherd’s pie filled with beef and veggies. On a weekly basis, musicians enliven the already party-like atmosphere, strumming tunes or throwing up fistfuls of counterfeit money on the eatery’s patio.
Chef Esmeralda unites her proud Mediterranean heritage with American touches in each tapas dish her kitchen creates. Iberico Spanish-style cured ham, bruschettas, and fresh seafood—as well as larger entrees—give guests a taste of faraway cuisines as they enjoy their meals amid the trattoria’s wine-colored walls or on the patio. To complement these dishes, Esmeralda’s team of wine experts curates a menu of fine and rare champagnes and global varietals. Bartenders craft sweet sangria and margaritas, and on select nights, hookah smoke twirls upward, diffusing the soft light from the eatery’s crystalline chandeliers.
At Decor Art'z Wine & Café Boutique, the smell of lightly fried sandwiches mingles with the taste of fresh vegetables, fruit juices, and rich coffee. In the kitchen, chefs brown the sides of croque-monsieurs—grilled sandwiches that pair fruit, meat, and seafood with various cheeses—serve up a multitude of cold wraps and sandwiches, and create entrees of chicken breasts and beef tenderloin smothered in cheese and mushrooms. Decor Art'z also brews its own fine wines and encourages customers to do the same. Using the café's equipment, patrons choose blends of fruit and spend time brewing the mixture at the store, then return for bottling once the wine accepts the fact that yeast has changed it forever. After eating or brewing, guests can peruse the eatery's boutique and florist for something to give to the kitchen as a peace offering for not using its appliances.
The breadth of the Atlantic Ocean doesn't impact the reach of Alfredo Patino. As the chef and owner of Bin No. 18, the Miami-based chef draws inspiration from the casual cuisine of European bistros while using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients and contemporary technique to lend a bit of New World flair to the ever-changing menus. French, Italian, and Latin American flavors appear throughout Chef Patino's cuisine, adding a global scope to the regionally rooted dishes.
Shareable platters of imported European cheeses and cured meats are served alongside Latin staples, including octopus salad, as well as classic Italian entrees made with homemade pastas. But recreating time-honored classics isn't the only thing that Chef Patino does. He also demonstrates a willingness to experiment by fusing New and Old World influences. This culinary whimsy is evident in the kitchen's modern interpretation of a Cuban sandwich—complete with slow-roasted pork, brie, and fig sauce—which earned a spot on Food & Wine magazine's list of the Best Sandwiches in the U.S.
And much like the European bistros that originally inspired Chef Patino, Bin No. 18 features an extensive wine list. Like his menu, the wine list takes a global approach by including bottles from Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Hungary, Greece, and Austria, as well as Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa, Washington State, California, and Oregon. This variety of options ensures that numerous pairing options are available for diners looking to enjoy a glass with their meal or collection of small plates. CBS Miami was also impressed by the selection, placing Bin No. 18 on its 2011 list of the Best Wine Bars In South Florida.
The Old World inspiration shines through a bit more clearly in the restaurant's décor, which skews more toward a rustic, yet refined ambiance as opposed to a nouveau vibe. Wooden wine barrels sit beside tables with avocado-green chairs, occasionally doubling as small side tables. At the same time, the collection of crystal chandeliers dangling from the ceiling adds a bit of classical elegance to the space.
After years of running a successful contemporary art gallery, Stefano Campanini couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing. While many people enjoy contemporary art, even more people enjoy drinking wine while looking at art or drinking wine while looking at wine. Through this realization and with the aid of other enophiles with wine-business savvy, Campanini merged his passions for art and wine under the moniker Wine by the Bay, where he chooses wine like most people choose art. ?I am looking forward to offering something that everyone enjoys and in an environment where the art can be appreciated by many and in an unintimidating way," Campanini says of the new, modern, 1,200-square-foot fine-wine and art boutique, which Miami New Times named 2013's Best Wine Store and Details Magazine called one of 2012's best new wine stores in the nation. "At art openings, wine is like a sideshow, but now, it will take center stage." Similar to identifying great art or choosing the perfect shampoo, finding the ideal wine to enjoy on its own or paired with cuisine involves intensive looking, sniffing, and tasting. Campanini personally samples every wine before approving it for his ample inventory of fine Italian, French, and Californian wines that appeal to a diversity of preferences.