There are a lot of factors that go into making a successful restaurant - partners that share a vision, culinary talent and creativity, a diligent and knowledgeable front of house and a concept that will take off. The Pubbelly group in Miami checks all of those boxes, plus has some of the most fun and exciting food that you want to eat over and over again. Pubbelly as a group comprises four restaurants: Pubbelly Gastro Pub, Barceloneta, Pubbelly Sushi and, the newest, Macchialina. All of the partners are Chefs and Hospitality Professionals and, most importantly, they are hands on every single day. The vision and expertise (plus pure FUN!) of the partners make the Pubbelly restaurants a true culinary adventure. One of our goals has been to complete the Pubbelly Crawl - a tour of all four of the restaurants and to sample their signature and seasonal dishes. We did it and our primary takeaway was - When can we go back? Pubbelly Gastro Pub There are no distractions from the menu at the Pubbelly Gastro Pub. Brick walls, wood tables and a neighborhood feel allow you to be comfy while perusing an inspired menu full of imaginative, reasonably priced plates. Our server was incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the menu and steered us in the most delicious directions. We oohed & aahed over the Dates avec Chorizo with goat cream and bacon and scooped forkfuls of the perfectly formed Housemade Gnudi with pumpkin and black lager jus. The signature McBelly slider is a must-have with a crunchy and flavorful kimchee and delicious barbecue sauce. The wild plate that was surprisingly scrumptious was the Foie and Nutella. I am all about Foie anything, but the Nutella even gave me pause. Crispy toasts, melted Nutella and creamy, rich Foie mousse made this a mindblowing experience - the first bite is all about processing the rich ingredients. The second bite is pure heaven. Pubbelly Gastro Pub has seasonal offerings as well as an occasionally changing menu - look for the Braised Berkshire Pork Cheeks with potato foam (I am addicted!), horseradish cream, and caviar jus. It will complete your life. Barceloneta When you think Barceloneta, you should think Catalan Bistro; a lively atmosphere, always busy and an open kitchen that allows you to see the innovative Chef Juliana Gonazalez at work. She never disappoints! Service at Barceloneta follows along the same stellar path as Pubbelly Gastro Pub - the servers are full of information and happy to guide you through the menu according to your preferences. The Bistro Plates are my favorites. Barceloneta allows me to eat how I love to eat - multiple plates to share with each bite introducing a new flavor experience. Dinner is a winding journey through dishes like the mandatory Barceloneta Pulpo a Feira - octopus, fingerling potato foam, pimento and chorizo (the best I have ever had); and the exquisite head-on Gambas con Chocolate - langoustines, garlic, sherry, and chocolate picada. Don’t overlook the signature shishito peppers with candied walnuts resting on a scoop of Valdeon cheese or the mouthwatering Ensalada de Alachofa - baby artichokes, frisse, arugula, wheat berries, Serrano ham, and Manchego cheese finished with a truffle vinaigrette. Dessert is not meant to fill you up further, but rather sweep you away on clouds of salted caramel delight that are enhanced with chocolate crumbs and layers of raspberries. Pubbelly Sushi In a complete departure from the Gastro Pub and Barceloneta, Pubbelly Sushi opened in October 2011; however, the Pubbelly brand is completely present in the decor, neighborhood conviviality and stellar service. The Pork Belly and Clams Sushi Roll could also be a giveaway (and a definite recommendation!). Pubbelly Sushi is not your traditional sushi but experiential eating with intriguing combos. One of our favorite dishes is Tostones con Ceviche - hamachi ceviche served with fried plantains. The tang of the ceviche combined with the just-perfect mild crunch of the tostones will get me back again and again. We stayed on the non-traditional path enjoying delights like the Maine Lobster New England Style roll (with Yuzu!) and the Southern Fried Soft Shell Crab with Kimchee, Mustard Slaw, and Shiso Ranch. The unusual combos make it so much fun to choose different bites from the menu! Two of the must-try dishes (although there is not anything that we would not recommend so far!) are the Bigeye Tuna roll - spicy tuna, arroz Pegao, rocotto cream and sea salt and the Hamachi Jalapeno sashimi. Both are flavor explosions and both have the same result - you want to request another order, hoard it from your friends and eat it immediately. Macchialina Since I am a Northeast transplant, Macchialina felt a bit like coming home. It is the latest addition to the Pubbelly group and front of house and kitchen are under the deft Northeastern-influenced vision of owners Chef Michael Pirolo and General Manager Jennifer Chaefsky. They have created a neighborhood haven with a generous daily Happy Hour with Pizza and Peroni for $10, a menu filled to the brim with rustic Italian plates and servers that present the menu famously. The motto on the menu is "Life is a combination of magic and pasta" (Federico Fellini) and the dish that brought the magic most particularly for me was the Beet Filled Mezzaluna - perfect al dente ravioli half moons filled with ricotta salata and topped with finely diced beets and brown butter and sprinkled with poppy seeds. Sublime, magical and unforgettable. As I was waxing poetic on beets and mezzaluna, the Creamy Polenta with sausage ragu and cipollini arrived to distract and delight. Mounds of Broccolini al Cesare is compulsory - the toasted garlic and pile of deliciously dressed greens will change how you think about Caesar anything. Cavatelli Macchialina with baby meatballs was satisfying and only lacking in that I wanted about 20 more of the meatballs. To round off dinner, you must have the Tiramisu. The espresso granita and chocolate crumble is paired with a mascarpone pudding that can make you weep. As with all of the Pubbelly restaurants, picking favorites is hard to do and I won’t even attempt. Each restaurant has something so unique to offer but always with the consistent Pubbelly stellar quality present. Just when you think you have experienced something completely amazing, there is another plate, another dish, another experience. Ambiance, a distinctive vision, neighborhood comfort, and pocketbook friendly prices are all part of the adventure on the Pubbelly Crawl. I'm ready to do it again!Read More
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Small plate eating is running rampant in Miami and it’s a trend that I embrace fully. Tapas has always been a preferred eating style for me - after all, one entree is never enough for The Hungry Goddess. I want to experience multiple delectable bites and I don’t want it to break the bank. To identify a small plate, I have a loose definition. It should be under $15 (or in that area), ultimately shareable and it should communicate its gastronomic punch in that one bite. Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink has a menu full of small plates that just beg to be shared. Their Steamed Mussels is a completely social small plate. Everyone can pick a perfectly cooked mussel, spear a generous chunk of house made bacon and a fingerling potato and complete it all with the grilled sourdough bread dipped in the savory juices gathered at the bottom of the bowl. Lest you think that Bacon or some form of pork figures in all of my food excursions, let me tell you about Blue Collar. Their Veg Chalkboard is priced at $4 per veggie plate and Chef Daniel Serfer is serving up some of the freshest food in Miami. Be greedy and order the Veggie Plate that gives you 4 of the veg dishes for $14. Yardbird and Chef Jeff McInnis serve up Southern favorites with a flair! The best small plate is the Fried Green Tomato BLT - a stack of perfectly fried green tomatoes with pork belly, greens, tomato jam and house made pimento cheese. The seasonal Butter Bean Risotto with Grilled Hen of the Woods mushrooms is a great dish for several forks and don’t discount the Grilled Endive Salad with generous amounts of Virginia Ham, Blue Cheese and candied pecans. Yardbird is open for lunch during the week and is just the excuse you need to share some food over a business meeting. The Bazaar by Jose Andres takes traditional Spanish cuisine and makes it new, modern and droolworthy (not that it already wasn’t but...). The Bazaar menu meets small plate standards and exceeds them (by about 60 shareable plates). Weeks could be spent reveling in Chef Jose Andres’ creations. The Cubano Sandwich with Iberico Ham and a mouthwatering foam inside the sandwich which makes it easy to end up with some of it down the front of you but you really won’t care. Delicate cones and skillets and plates filled with gastronomic wonders abound - this is small plate paradise. Michy’s by Chef Michelle Bernstein encourages “half” selections on the menu - all the better to eat a varied smorgasbord. Serrano Ham and Blue Cheese Croquetas as well as Ceviche and White Gazpacho are siren calls of small plate delight. Warning, you may end up just ordering one entree for the table to share as well! The Pubbelly Restaurants could be known as the Small Plate Empire - each restaurant has a slew of delectable bites that can be eaten with one or more companions, enabling you to sample more than one (or five if you are greedy like me) dish. The Pork and Scallion Dumplings at the Gastro Pub ensure everyone in a party of four gets a flavorful bite. The Barceloneta Pulpo a Feira is a requirement to savor a spoon of potato foam, grilled octopus and the house made chorizo (best I have ever had!).Read More
At street level, it’s easy to forget how beautiful Miami can be. But a handful of Miami restaurants offer great vistas of the city's modern skyline and waterfront while serving up cuisine representative of the Miami’s Cuban, Latin, and American traditions. Named for the expanse of Atlantic, Gulf, and Caribbean waters around Florida where chefs source sustainable fish and shellfish, the EPIC hotel's Area 31 delights guests with both fresh flavors and spectacular views. The restaurant's Terrace Bar, perched on the 16th floor of the hotel, opens up to panoramic views of the Miami skyline, designed to complement the sophisticated cocktails from mixologist Jacques Bezuidenhout. Acclaimed chef E. Michael Reidt displays precision and creativity through a tasting menu and dishes that incorporate cooking techniques from around the world. Nearby, a different hotel holds another of Miami's best views—this time, closer to the ground. Mandarin Oriental's Azul is known for its Mediterranean and Asian fusion cuisine served alongside sprawling views of Biscayne Bay through floor-to-ceiling windows. The indoor views stun in equal measure, with gleaming white marble decorating the open kitchen, raw bar, and the long wine table flanked by heavily stocked wine cabinets. These climate-controlled safes preserve the more than 700 wines hand-picked by sommelier Claudio Giordano from well-known vintners and boutique wineries. From inside an enormous old residence on the southern tip of South Beach wafts the aroma of prime porterhouse steaks that have been dry-aged for four long, tenderizing weeks. At Smith & Wollensky's Miami location, breezes drift across outdoor tables shaded by massive umbrellas while, a mere fork's throw away, ships cruise through the Government Cut channel. The two floors of dining-room seating feature water-view private rooms for parties that range from 20 to 450.Read More