Part 2 of my Miami restaurant guide:
Best for Views…Juvia
So by now you know that I love a room with a view and we discovered Juvia to be our favourite place for gazing at the gorgeous Miami skyscape.
With seating both indoors and outdoors, pretty purple touches, a water feature and vertical garden wall, this restaurant was quite different to anywhere else. A live DJ added to the ambience, without creating too much of a night club feeling, instead it felt very relaxed and laid back.
The kitchen is run by four talented chefs who all have star-studded backgrounds, including two with Nobu pedigree. They have created a menu that blends Asian cuisine with flavours and ingredients of South America and Florida but prepared using classic French techniques.
A ceviche mix of red onion, fluke, octopus and sweet potato is a must when dining Nikkei-style.
After the delicious delicacy we’d tried at Bianca (see below), we couldn’t resist the crispy tuna pizza. The base of the pizza was sort of like a chewy crispy cake (a bit like a marshmallow Square, remember Squares?) though it wasn’t sweet. That sounds weird but it was actually really delicious.
Another nibble of beef dumplings were tasty but quite heavy and chunky.
I chose a simple charcoal grilled salmon…
While Mr S had some Asian style lamb chops with bok choy and quinoa. I have to say, none of the food at Juvia really blew me away but the atmosphere and views made this place, an unmissable choice if you’re heading to Miami, even if you just pop up there for a drink.
We couldn’t visit Miami without trying at least one Key Lime Pie, a dish that originated in the Florida Keys. The traditional dessert is made of key lime juice, egg yolk and condensed milk packed into a pie crust and sometimes topped with meringue. Juvia’s version is deconstructed to feature shortbread crumble in a glass with meringue fingers. I’m sure there are some Key Lime purists out there who wouldn’t approve of bastardising the dessert, but as we’d never tried the original we loved the updated version.
We tried a refreshing mango dessert also containing crushed biscuits. Both the desserts were pretty small so we left the restaurant feeling not overly full.
Though Juvia wasn’t my favourite restaurant, for me it was the that was most unmissable. The food was good, but the panoramic views of the city from the Penthouse were just amazing!
The clue is in the name, Bianca is an all-white restaurant located in the uber glamorous Delano hotel. With huge flowing, drapes, sparkling lanterns and dramatic mirrors, the restaurant really has the wow-factor. You can choose to dine inside or outside but either way…people watching, champagne sipping and delicious Italian food is all on the menu.
We chose a gorgeously light salmon carpacccio with capers and fresh lemon as one of our starters.
And the tuna pizza with truffle oil as well. The tuna pizza was perhaps one of the best dishes I tried whilst in Miami, the musky truffle really complemented the fresh tuna…I think I’m really starting to like truffle! It’s a very unusual dish and the only place I’ve seen this in London is at Kurobuta
, where it is also to die for!
The Italian menu also contains a selection of sushi but we’d had sushi for lunch, so for once I refrained from my favourite cuisine.
Mr S went for the filet mignon…sorry there’s rather a trend for my husband having steak on this trip…I think that he thinks…when in America it’s what you do 😉
I always start a holiday with good intentions before I eventually succumb to my love of wine, bread and olive oil so I chose the simplest thing on the menu, a Branzino grilled with lemon. It was rather plain but I very much enjoyed it as it was beautifully cooked.
Mr S obviously had room for dessert…
And I think this platter speaks for itself!
Now, my major criticism of Bianca was the ridiculously high prices, particularly of the wine. The food was good but not worth the prices that were being charged. It makes you think that you’re paying just to be there.
Anyway, rant over…after dinner we popped to the gorgeous outdoor bar for some fab cocktails by the pool…
It’s a lovely restaurant and great all round experience. It’s just a shame the prices are so high.Best for a Daytime party…Nikki Beach
I’ve been to a few Nikki Beach’s in my time, but the Miami Club was the first one ever and the flagship for this luxury brand. If you’ve never heard of it, Nikki Beach is an outdoor beach club perfect for daytime partying.
Mr S and I booked a day bed and settled in to drink champagne all day…
And watch the show….
Inside is the restaurant and if you head there on a Sunday, an all-day brunch is served buffet style including salads, sushi, grills and roast dinners. To be honest, I’d rather have an a la carte menu, the sushi was prepared freshly and was delicious but some of the other food was less appealing. However, the atmosphere was electric with live music, dancing and plenty of champers flowing.
Forget the food, and go for the party!
Some of the restaurants we tried hit the right notes in terms of food, some had a gorgeous interior and others a fantastic atmosphere.
But there was one place that ticked every single box for me, and that was Scarpetta at the Fontainebleau hotel.
The sexy interior was characterised by a slightly nautical theme, navy blue sleek leather columns, mirrors and marble mosaics. The large windows give a stunning view of the Fontainbleau’s pool area and the ocean beyond.
Scarpetta also has the celebrity factor as Whitney Port and her fiance Tim Rosenman were sat at the table next to us…though they spent most of their time looking at their phones rather than into each other’s eyes…
On being presented with such exciting choices, I let Mr S have his way for once and we went for the the tasting menu…as this post is pretty long, (and sadly the photo quality isn’t great owing to the light) I’ll just give you the highlights.
James Beard award winner, Scott Conant, has created a regional Italian menu for Scarpetta which merges rustic Italian cooking with more refined flavours. The creamy polenta above, was mixed with a fricasee of truffled mushrooms and was honestly not something I expected to like. I generally find polenta a little grainy but the dish was silky smooth and I loved the way the chef has taken such a simple ingredient and completely elevated it to fine dining levels.
We very much enjoyed the trio of pastas:
Squid ink tagliolini with octopus, tomato and oregano.
A beautiful silky smooth ricotta ravioli with the finest black truffle.
A very simple tomato and basil pasta was my favourite. Apparently Conant is renowned for this dish and he only uses the freshest tomatoes and infuses extra virgin olive oil with basil and garlic to create a gorgeously feather light sauce.
I wish my photos could do justice to these gorgeous dishes and I wish my appetite could have done too. Though it was a tasting menu, portions were a little on the big side and carb heavy, so by now I was feeling full, and I haven’t even included every dish! However, the grilled orata with florida corn was one of the most perfectly cooked fish dishes that we tried in Miami, with just the right hint of acidity coming through from a pickled leek vinaigrette.
The other main course was braised veal with guanciale (cured pork), wild mushroom, onions and caper sauce.
Chocolate zeppole with a nutella center, spiced anglaise and hazelnuts was the most visually appealing of the desserts, though I couldn’t manage to try either one!
In terms of service, our waiter was incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the menu. Also when a group of people sitting behind us got rowdy, he was quick to move us to a quieter spot.
As you can see, Scarpetta was certainly the best restaurant that we visited, but my favourite remains Cecconi’s. No matter how wonderful another restaurant is, nothing can beat the feeling of going back to a place where you shared a wonderful date with someone that you love. To me, there is just a magical feeling about that restaurant and I know I’ll always return there…
1111 Lincoln Road
Bianca, The Delano
1685 Collins Avenue
1 Ocean Drive
4441 Collins Avenue