EAST, Miami, the first U.S. outpost for hospitality magnet Swire Hotels, which has properties in Hong Kong and Beijing, is taking reservations for rooms and tables at the hotly anticipated Quinto La Huella. The incarnation of Parador La Huella might be off the sands like that of its original Latin American location, but the emphasis on grilled meats is the same. A small but broad menu features flatbreads straight from the wood-fired oven, a plethora of cuts, and even a sushi menu. Up on the 40th floor, cocktail garden Sugar mixes up Asian-inspired handcrafted libations amidst some of the sweetest views anywhere in Miami. A small tapas bar menu is an added treat. Quinto La Huella, EAST, Miami, 788 Brickell Plaza, Miami, FL 33131, 786-805-4646.
What started out as a family-run food truck slinging hot dogs under a bridge in Brickell now has two locations dishing out some of the city's best arepas. We're talking about Doggi's, which recently expanded from its Coral Way flagship to Biscayne Boulevard in Miami's Upper East Side (or MiMo). Housed in the same shopping center as Ni.Do Cafe, Doggi's is a welcome and much-needed quick-casual addition to the neighborhood. Though the restaurant has a more modern look (with hashtags lining the walls) than its former counterpart, the menu remains the same, with more than a dozen arepa varieties, a plethora of patacon, pepitos and burgers, and favorites such as tequenos and empanadas. Doggi's Arepa Bar, 7281 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138, 786-558-9538.
The Salty Donut will have some serious competition when Philadelphia-based Federal Donuts opens in Wynwood. Though no date has been announced, the donut shop best known for its gourmet and unique doughnuts (think strawberry and lavender) and Korean-style fried chicken confirmed that it is opening a 2,200-square-foot space in the hip Arts District. Federal Donuts, 250 NW 24th St., Miami, FL 33127, no phone.
With the 58-story SLS Hotel & Residences in Brickell almost complete and on target for an October debut, SBE and Related Group have announced plans for the property's culinary partnerships and concepts, which include chefs Jose Andres and Michael Schwartz. With The Bazaar a smash at the South Beach SLS property, Andres will be expanding his horizons to include the vast ocean with Bazaar Mar. The restaurant will feature seafood from Caribbean and local waters, dishing out a sea of snacks ranging from ceviches to crudos to tiraditos. Menu favorites from The Bazaar will also make their way onto the menu. Likewise, Schwartz will be introducing an Italian concept (his first in Brickell) Fi'lia, which will open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and follow the chef's philosophy of simple and honest cooking with hand crafted breads, pizzas, and pastas. SLS Brickell, 1300 S. Miami Ave., Miami, FL 33130, no phone.
From the guys who brought Miami gourmet burger joint LoKal and craft beer bar Kush comes The Spillover, a cider and mead bar and sustainable fish house in the heart of Coconut Grove and in the historic Mayfair Hotel. The emphasis here, as it is in owner Matt Kuscher's other concepts, is local ingredients and food that's good for you. Only instead of focusing on burgers and beer like his other concepts, Kuscher's taken to the sea. To that end, he's dishing out a lobster BLT and Reuben (both packing an entire Maine lobster), conch strips, Ocean City crab cakes, pan con minuta, spear-caught Florida grouper sandwich, and fish and chips (among other things). A new burger -- the bababooey -- is also on the menu, as is guava bread pudding and treats for pups. More importantly, there is the diverse selection of ciders, meads and sours, ranging from Spain, Italy and France to California, New York, and Missouri. Lunch & Dinner Daily. The Spillover, Mayfair Hotel, 2911 Grand Ave., Miami, FL 33133, 305-456-5723.
The guys behind the insanely popular My Ceviche are doing the fast-casual yet locally sourced and ingredient conscious thing again, except this time they're going Mediterranean. At Zuuk Mediterranean Kitchen, former BLT Steak executive chef Sam Gorenstein enlisted the help of former colleague (and BLT Steak's latest executive chef) Daniel Ganem to bring the concept to life. The idea is simple: Build your own Mediterranean bowls. Start with the base (either salad or rice) then add up to three dips or spreads (options include roasted red pepper hummus, kalamata olive yogurt dip, za'atar-feta, baba ghanoush, mint tzatziki, and traditional hummus) before moving on to proteins and veggies. Think hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken seasoned with turmeric, oregano and lemon; baked falafel; seasonal roasted vegetables; or slow roasted beef or spiced lamb kefte for an additional $1.95. Lunch & Dinner Daily. Zuuk Mediterranean Kitchen, 1250 S Miami Ave. #105, Miami, FL 33130, 305-200-3145.
Fusing the best of Japanese and Spanish cuisines, and then spiking it with Miami flavor, Kueno is the newest and most delectable addition to culinary incubator and hipster mecca Wynwood Yard. The brainchild of Ricardo Sanz from Kabuki in Madrid and Miami natives, cousin and pro-soccer star Anthony Ricci and Matias Ricci, Kuenko offers a plethora of donburi (rice bowls) ranging from spicy tuna to butterfish to fish tempura --- all with a fried egg on top for good measure. Bowls are priced at $10.38 and there are vegetarian options for non-pescaterians and non-carnivores. For dessert, hit the neighboring Korean shaved ice truck. Lunch & Dinner Daily. Kuenko, Wynwood Yard, 56 NW 29th St., Miami, FL 33137, 908-858-3656.
Camila Ramos got her start brewing and pouring coffee at Gainesville’s Volta Coffee, Tea and Chocolate in 2008. She then joined the Panther Coffee opening team in 2011 and went on to become the director of retail operations for the brand while also competing in a plethora of national competitions giving her serious barista street cred and national recognition. All this ultimately led Ramos to go off on her own with All Day, a coffee and eggs joint sandwiched between The Corner (and in partnership with owner Chris MacLeod) and Fooq's in downtown. The aptly named All Day is open all day (from 7 a.m. to midnight and pun intended), boasting a menu made up of several java choices (from pour over and hot drip to cold brew and nitro), eggs, tartines, and sammys. The after-five menu features heftier options such as pink shrimp and grits, sous vide steak tartare and Brussels sprouts cooked by former Gigi chef Michael Lutka. All Day, 1035 N Miami Ave., Miami, FL 33136, 305-699-3447.
If you are a tea drinker, chances are you've sipped one of JoJo Tea's many seasonal teas at restaurants all over town. For the last five years, the Miami-based tea company has been supplying the city's top eateries the likes of Zuma, Eating House, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Yardbird and more with tea straight from the source. And now founders Michael Ortiz and Tico Aran have taken their tea game to the next level by opening the Tasting Room in Coral Gables. The “reservations only” tea experience will give tea lovers a chance to have their very own private tea party where they will taste from one or five different teas whilst getting some serious tea history, and maybe even a little meditation. Yes, there are meditation cushions (Ortiz found tea through teaching meditation). Teas change seasonally and have been specifically curated by Ortiz. JoJo Tea Tasting Room, 951 S. LeJune Rd., Miami, FL 33134, no phone.
Olympic gold medalist and two-time NBA Champion Ray Allen can now add restauranteur to his impressive resume. The former Miami Heat player along with his wife Shannon opened Grown, a fast-casual organic concept in South Miami. Born out of a need to feed their children something fast yet nutritious and delicious, Grown puts special emphasis on seasonal and sustainable products, with a lot of vegetables and herbs coming straight from the restaurant's rooftop garden. For menu development and execution, the Allens have tapped executive chef Todd Kiley from Chicago restaurant group Rainforest Cafe. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are offered -- everything from small-batch, from-scratch soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps, gluten-free backed goods, made-to-order cold pressed juices, fruit smoothies and fair trade coffees and teas. Grown features a drive-thru as well as a grab-and-go section. Grown, 8211 South Dixie Hwy., Miami, FL 33143, 305-663-GROW.
The New York City speakeasy, Employees Only, will makes its first foray outside the Big Apple with a Miami debut at the Washington Park Hotel in winter 2016. In addition to Miami, the beloved watering hole will be opening locations in Singapore and Austin, Texas. Employees Only will be the signature restaurant and bar for the Washington Park Hotel, comprising four landmarked Art Deco hotels with 181 guest rooms. The Employees Only New York counterpart pours 183,000 cocktails per year, and dishes up impressive food from an exotic menu. No word yet on what the Miami location has in store, but expect a long line of people eager to sip classic and modern cocktails. Employees Only, Washington Park Hotel Complex, 1050 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139, no phone.
Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Honored at Tales of the Cocktail
Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply with the return of legendary barkeep John Lermayer (who helped pioneer Miami's craft cocktail movement), has taken home the coveted title of Best New American Bar at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans --- the country's premier craft spirits trade event and drinking festival award show. The late-night bar and eatery, which opened last year, has quickly become a favorite for locals looking for a safe haven amongst South Beach's velvet ropes and overpriced drinks. Besides proper cocktails in a laid-back environment, Sweet Liberty also proffers a bites menu conceptualized by Michelle Bernstein (her hubby David Martinez is an owner-partner). It's these little things that aren't advertised --- like their seven day a week rose and oyster happy hour where bivalves are just 75 cents --- that make this drinking den extra sweet. Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company, 237 20th St., Miami Beach, FL 33139, 305-763-8217.
Cena Crew Resurfaces at DUSK Pop-Up at Michelle Bernstein's Crumb on Parchment
If you didn't get to say your goodbyes to Mike Mayta and the kitchen crew of the shuttered Cena by Michy, fret not as they've found a temporary haven at the chef's popular lunch spot Crumb on Parchment in the Design District. Every Thursday through Saturday, when Crumb on Parchment closes (from 6 to 10 p.m.), DUSK comes alive with items such as Caesar salad croquetas, ratatouille, ajiaco potpie and brisket saltado. Expect sweet endings from the guy who also runs Illegal Bakery. DUSK will be popping-up three nights a week through September 30, 2016. Crumb on Parchment, Design District, 3930 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33137, 305-572-9444.
A Cool Summer Pop-up
The only thing that makes a hot day on Miami Beach tolerable is Salty Donut’s summer pop-up at The Confidante Miami Beach (what used to be the Thompson) through Labor Day. That's right: the city's first craft donut shop is now baking up a storm on our velvety sands. You can get your fix of signatures (the guava & cheese or maple bacon) and new, ever-rotating specials every Thursday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. And, if you need a pick me up with your hole in one, there’s cold brew with ginger, honey and lemon syrup concoction to do the trick. Disclaimer: a sugar rush might follow. The Confidante Miami Beach, 4041 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33140, 786-605-4041.
Uber On the Menu
Uber, the ride sharing company, has added food to its offerings, bringing the dishes from Miami restaurants you know and love to you in "Uber-speed." Yes, you might need to download one more app to your phone as the service is independent of Uber (look for UberEats in the app store), but with more than 100 restaurants to choose from (including local favorites such as Ms. Cheezious, Mandolin, the Salty Donut, DIRT, Bachour Bakery & Bistro, Zuuk Mediterranean Kitchen, Baby Jane and many more), be assured you never have to go out for food again. Delivery is available daily from 8 a.m. to midnight in an area from Brickell to Hollywood and all of Miami Beach. The catch? There's a $4.99 delivery fee but, no surge pricing ever. As with Uber, there's no need to tip your driver and you can rate your experience. Just remember, drivers can also rate you.
Amazon Restaurants Expands to Miami
Amazon Prime members have another reason to love the online marketplace, and it involves food from local restaurants delivered to your door in under an hour. That's right: Amazon Restaurants, which has already launched in major markets such as New York, Houston, San Francisco and Seattle (where Amazon was born), has expanded to Miami. Thus far, more than 50 restaurants are on the platform including local favorite Taquiza, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Ten Fruits, La Latina, Ice Box Cafe, Bunnie Cakes and Doraku, with more promised to be coming in the very near future. Non Amazon prime members can take full advantage of the service for free should their order exceed $20. Hungry? Visit the official website and have food at your door in less than 60 minutes.
Shake Shack Introduces Chicken Sandwich
After 12 years of flipping patties and dishing out arguably some of the best burgers in the country, Danny Meyer's burger empire Shake Shack has introduced a crispy chicken sandwich. Dubbed Chick'n Shack, the creation stays true to Shake Shack's commitment to using 100-percent natural, antiobiotic-free meat. Priced at $6.29, the Chick'n Shack is composed of crisp chicken breast, lettuce, pickles and buttermilk herb mayo between a GMO-free potato roll. Like with their burgers, it pairs exceptionally well with cheese fries and a milkshake. Shake Shack, Lincoln Road Mall, 1111 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, FL 33139, 305-434-7787.
Cindy Hutson is a name synonymous with Miami flavors. Her restaurant on Miracle Mile, the aptly named Ortanique On the Mile, has been serving Caribbean-meets-Floridian fare (dubbed "Cuisine of the Sun") for more than 16 years. And now, she's bringing her notorious coffee and cocoa encrusted wild salmon and jerk chicken pasta to downtown with the opening of Zest. Located in the Southeast Financial Center in the heart of downtown, Zest is open for lunch and dinner daily, with an adjoining Zest Mrkt dishing out breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Think grab-n-go gourmet delights such as a shawarma of the week. As for Zest, the menu features Ortanique On the Mile favorites and new creations such as root beer braised heritage pork belly, crispy buttermilk oysters and grits, curried octopus, and lobster rundown doused in a scotch bonnet pepper coconut sauce. Zest, Southeast Financial Center, 200 South Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33131, 305-374-9378.
MIAMI RESTAURANT CLOSINGS
Following a change in name and concept, The Fed Food + Drink has shuttered. The Fed Food + Drink, 5132 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33137, no phone.
Randazzo's Little Italy, a classic red sauce Italian joint on the end of Miracle Mile, has closed its doors and folded its red checkered tablecloths permanently. With a surprising 13-year run, the place grew to be a favorite among locals and visitors who came for owner and former boxing pro Marc Randazzo and the Randazzo’s meatballs with Sunday gravy. Business, according to partner Jim Ferraro, was not doing well. No word on what will happen in the future, though Ferraro hopes to contract with an operator who would keep the place as a restaurant. Randazzo's Little Italy is No More, 385 Miracle Mile, Miami, FL 33134, no phone.
French chef Laurent Tourondel has unexpectedly shuttered his Ocean Drive mainstay BLT Steak, which opened in 2009, to make way for a fresh concept: LT Steak & Seafood. Like BLT Steak, LT Steak & Seafood will showcase seafood as well as steaks, and will continue an "extensive" selection of raw fish and sushi. So what has changed? New dishes such as crunchy curried crab and grilled red snapper are on the menu, and there will be ample and more inventive takes on sushi and ceviche. The restaurant has also undergone a makeover to match the property's larger expansion that will include two other restaurant concepts by Tourondel scheduled to open in Fall 2016. LT Steak & Seafood is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. BLT Steak, The Betsy Hotel, 1440 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, FL 33139, 305-673-0044.
Miami's culinary sweetheart, Michelle Bernstein, has shuttered her MiMo namesake Cena by Michy's. Bernstein opened the original Michy's in 2006, immediately becoming a neighborhood joint renowned for its elevated yet approachable fare (fried chicken, anyone?), as well as putting the locally acclaimed chef formerly of Azul on the culinary map. She continued to open concepts such as Sra. Martinez, Crumb on Parchment (still open), and Seagrape at the Thompson (now Hyatt), from which she parted ways earlier this year. Then, in 2015, after nearly a decade, Michy's closed for renovations and reopened after a couple of months under the moniker of Cena by Michy's. Apparently the restaurant's revamped mid-century space, boozy slushies, and new and improved menu wasn't enough to sustain it. The closure has been tied to lease negotiations with the landlord. Bernstein and husband David Martinez are in talks about other possible concepts, but nothing concrete is in the pipeline just yet. Cena by Michy, 6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138, no phone.