Dining Across America






anmal-los-angelesAnimal JBF Award 2016: Best Chef: West (CA, HI, NV),
Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo
435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA (323) 782-9225
Trendy, minimalist New American restaurant celebrated for its offal specialties & other meat plates.



braceroBracero Cocina de Raíz JBF Award 2016: Best New Restaurant Semifinalist
1490 Kettner Blvd., San Diego, CA (619) 756-7864
Modern-rustic destination for refined Mexcan cooking, cocktails, craft beer & wine.



Cala JBF Award: Best New Restaurant Semifinalist 2016
149 Fell St, San Francisco, CA  (415) 660-7701
High-end Mexican cuisine, seafood & cocktails in bustling, rustic-chic quarters with big windows.



cassia-20150808Cassia JBF Award 2016: Best New Restaurant Semifinalist
1314 7th St, Santa Monica, CA  (310) 393-6699
Casually cool spot for upscale French-Asian fare & seafood served indoors or on the cozy patio.





grace-img_5964Grace JBF Award 2016: Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH), Curtis Duffy
652 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL (312) 234-9494
Modern business-casual dinner spot featuring New American tasting menus (wine pairings available).



42-grams-beetroot-macaroon-salad42 Grams JBF Award 2016: Best Chef: Great Lakes Semifinalist Jake Bickelhaupt
4662 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL Reservations only: www.42gramschicago.com
High-end BYO eatery with New American tasting menus
served at a communal table & a chef’s counter.

The Blanchard JBF Award 2016: Best New Restaurant Semifinalist
1935 N Lincoln Park W, Chicago, IL  (872) 829-3971
Upscale choice for contemporary French cuisine served in sophisticated environs with a patio.

intro-chicago-restaurant-cj-jacobsonIntro Chicago JBF Award 2016: Best New Restaurant Semifinalist 2300 N Lincoln Park W, Chicago, IL (773) 868-0002
Upscale à la carte American cuisine by chef Stephen Gillanders in classy digs with reservations.




spiaggia-cafe-reopens-tony-mantuano-videoSpiaggia JBF Award 2016: Outstanding Chef Semifinalist Tony Mantuano
980 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL (312) 280-2750
Longtime Chicago institution serving Tony Mantuano’s upscale Italian meals in a refined setting.

Next JBF Award 2016: Rising Star Chef Of The Year Semifinalist Jenner Tomaska
953 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL  (312) 226-0858
High-end foodie destination known for Grant Achatz’s themed tasting menus & inventive presentations.



alter-miami-cr-courtesyAlter Restaurant & Bar JBF Award Nomination 2016: Best New Restaurant Semifinalist AND Rising Star Chef Of The Year Semifinalist Bradley Kilgore
223 NW 23rd Street, Miami, FL (305) 573-5996
Refined New American fare served up in a  spare, industrial setting with an open kitchen and a garden.



berns-steakhouse-ep-140429851Bern’s Steakhouse JBF Award Winner 2016: Outstanding Wine Program 2016
1208 S Howard Ave., Tampa, FL (813) 251-2421
Perfectly aged steaks. The largest wine collection in the world. An internationally famous dessert room.



stregisbalharbourjandggrill102-copyThe St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort JBF Award 2016: Outstanding Pastry Chef Semifinalist
Antonio Bachour 9703 Collins Ave, Bal Harbour, FL  (305) 993-3300




barbuto-new-york-timesBarbuto JBF Award 2016: Best Chef: New York City (Five Boroughs), Jonathan Waxman
775 Washington St, New York, NY (212) 924-9700
The roast chicken is renowned at this chic Italian eatery where the walls open up in warm weather.



maison-premiereMaison Premiere JBF Award 2016: Outstanding Bar Program
298 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY (347) 335-0446
Oysters, cocktails & small plates in a New Orleans-styled setting
with an atmospheric garden.


fishandgame_nataliechitwood_1Fish & Game JBF Award 2016: Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NY STATE, RI, VT), Zak Pelaccio
13 S 3rd St, Hudson, NY (518) 822-1500
Former blacksmith’s shop-turned-eatery serving a seasonal menu of farm-to-table New American fare.



brooks-house-dsc_0240-copyBrooks’ House of BBQ JBF Award 2016: America’s Classics
5560 State Highway 7, Oneonta, NY (607) 432-1782
Welcoming, long-running BBQ joint prepping its celebrated chicken in a giant indoor charcoal pit.




locando-verde-chickenfor2Locanda Verde JBF Award 2016: Outstanding Chef Semifinalist Andrew Carmellini
377 Greenwich St, New York, NY  (212) 925-3797
TriBeca hot spot showcasing rustic Italian cuisine in a lively atmosphere.




roses-luxury-restaurant-dc-pasta-copyRose’s Luxury JBF Award 2016: Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA), Aaron Silverman
717 8th St SE, Washington, DC  (202) 580-8889
Eclectic New American tapas menu crafted in a cozy, converted townhouse with an upstairs lounge.



dabney-celery-rootThe Dabney JBF Award 2016: Best New Restaurant Semifinalist
122 Blagden Alley NW, Washington, DC (202) 450-1015
Chef Jeremiah Langhorne serves Mid-Atlantic cuisine at this rustic spot set in a former row house.






Underground-Baked Rugbraud

By Erick Rodriguez  & Ryan Jay

The island-state of Iceland is home to a novel means of  harnessing a renewable energy resource and applying it to the culinary craft to create a result that is difficult to reproduce anywhere else. One particularly famous concoction, known as rugbraud, is produced by the use of unique geothermal bakeries. The bakeries utilize special ovens that redirect the earth’s heat from Iceland’s hot springs and bake a product that many refer to as “volcano bread.” Since the country runs on roughly 99 percent renewable energy, of which 85 percent is geothermal energy, there is a historic tradition of using this heat for various purposes. The heat producing this energy comes from the Iceland hotspot or plume that is known for originally creating the island and characterizes it as one of the most active volcanic regions in the world.

When the oil crisis of the 1970s began, the Icelandic government encouraged its citizens to take advantage of the resources available to them and the result has been an overhaul the likes of which has revolutionized the lives of the nation’s citizens.

Iceland has historically been known for its geothermal activity, gaining international recognition for its resourceful use of the natural energy resource, but its culture has celebrated the ingenious use of the bountiful heat rising from below the earth’s crust for generations before the first geothermal heating plant opened in Reykjavík in 1928.

The tradition of baking Icelandic rugbraud hails back to the trade monopoly instituted by the king of Denmark in 1602, which made rye bread the predominant cereal in Icelandic cuisine. Even further in the island’s past, descendants of Viking settlers found ways to use the natural source of hot water, making bathhouses, hot tubs, and areas to launder clothing long before the state of Iceland was even formed.

The tradition of baking rye bread with below-ground geothermal heat has continued to this day and has become a quintessential part of Icelandic culture. However, there are varieties of the traditional rye bread that have been created by adding wheat and whole grain to make the resulting bread less dense while retaining the same rugbraud name.

Traditionally, the bread was baked in a pot or steamed in a wooden cask built for the process of burying it in the ground near a hot spring. The bread, which acquires a cake-like consistency, is often served with butter, mutton pate, smoked lamb, or pickled herring. Otherwise, it can be ground and mixed with buttermilk in order to create a porridge, soaked into a soup, or served as a dessert with variations on the ingredients added to produce a sweet bread. The consumption of this bread is known to cause flatulence, which has earned it the nickname “thunderbread” or “prumari” in the Icelandic tongue.



Venezuelan bistros are popping up all across Miami

By Alona Abbady Martinez

Most people know Venezuela as the oil-rich South American country that has struggled with political and economic turmoil for almost two decades. What they may not realize is that it is a country filled with a varied, vibrant and delectable cuisine. With the growing number of  Venezuelan expats settling in Miami, the memorable food of “The Land of Grace,” as dubbed by Christopher Columbus, is taking center stage. Here’s a preview of a few favorite spots in Miami:

Boca’s Grill
3399 N.W. 72nd Ave., Miami, FL 33122  • Tel:  305-592-6333
Chef Cesar Gonzalez hails from San Cristobal and settled in the Miami suburb Doral where he owned a marketing company while pursuing his culinary hobby he shared on Instagram. Soon he had 350,000 followers, so when the opportunity arose to open his own spot, he didn’t think twice. Guests enjoy Arepa Reina Pepiada, grilled cornmeal cake filled with avocado chicken salad, and Pabellón, Venezuela’s national dish of seasoned shredded beef, black beans, rice and fried plantains. Beverages include fresh tropical fruit juices and homemade Venezuelan chicha, a rice milkshake sweetened with condensed milk, the beverage of choice for Venezuelan children.

El Saman Arepas Bistro
4709 NW 79 Avenue, Doral, FL 33166   • Tel: 786-391-1297
In 1977 Jose Blanco sold food from a tiny kiosk nestled under a monkey-pod tree in Maracay, Venezuela. Almost 30 years later, Samán Arepas Bistro came to Florida, both in Orlando and in Miami, serving grilled cornmeal cakes – staple street food in Venezuela. Highlights include Arepa Pelúa, shredded meat and yellow cheese, black beans and grated white cheese, and Catira, or “Blondie,” shredded seasoned chicken and yellow cheese. Other must-try Venezuelan treats: Tequeños (a rich pastry crust wrapped around salty queso blanco then deep-fried) and Cachapas, sweet corn pancakes nestled with fresh mozzarella-style Venezuelan cheese.

Doggi’s Arepa Bar
1246 Coral Way, Miami, FL  33145  • Tel: 305-854-6869, and 7281 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138 • Tel: 786-558-9538
This tiny jewel is packed with Venezuelans (always a good sign). Favorite arepas include the Arepa Santa Barbara, marinated steak with thick avocado slices, tomato and shredded white cheese, and the Arepa with Asado Negro, traditional Venezuelan stew cooked with papelón (raw brown sugar). Venezuela’s national sauce, Salsa Rosada (a combo of mayo and ketchup), is drizzled on practically everything. Doggi’s also offers Patacones, a specialty from Maracaibo: thick slices of deep-fried green plantain that get smashed thinner, then refried again and topped with Salsa Rosada and shredded cheese. Wash it all down with Polar, Venezuela’s signature Pilsen beer.
Cardón y El Tirano
3411 S.W. 8th Street, Miami FL 33135 • Tel:  305-392-1257
This cozy establishment is the brainchild of Venezuelan-born chef Francisco Anton. The restaurant boasts a fusion of dishes from Venezuela, Mexico, the Caribbean and Peru. For Venezuelan inspiration, don’t pass up the Seafood Arepitas, mini cornmeal cakes served with clams, mussels, tiger shrimp and calamari, along with avocado mousse, marinara sauce and Guayanés cheese. Meat lovers will enjoy the Tostones Picanha, tostones with seared Brazilian beef, white cheese, or Pork Belly Cachapas. End the meal with their signature dessert, Plantain Bombolini, served on a bed of Nutella with pistachios and avocado ice cream.

Amelia (opening Fall 2017)  
Venezuelan-born Javier Ramirez, celebrated Miami restaurateur with award-winning restaurants Alter and Cake Thai, will soon launch his latest concept, Amelia, which has strong ties to his homeland. Amelia, described as a “Latino diner,” will feature creative spins on Venezuelan standards like the Arepa Reina Pepiada and Cachapa Con Queso Guayanés. Ramirez has partnered with Venezuelan chef, Carlos Garcia, named one of the “Best Chefs in Latin America” by S. Pellegrino, as well as Nidal Barake, a food writer, world traveler and co-founder of Gluttonomy.

Alona Abbady Martinez lives in Plantation, Florida. She writes about food and family on her blog, Culinary Compulsion, and is currently working on her book, My Culinary Compulsion, a global food memoir with recipes. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.



oysterThe only New England-inspired concept restaurant in South Beach, Izzy’s Fish & Oyster – by esteemed chef/restaurateur Jamies Derosa – is now open at 423 Washington Avenue. “We wanted to bring a taste of New England to Miami,” said Derosa. “My wife, Amy, is from Rhode Island where seafood is a part of everyday life. We treat our guests with fresh oysters from New England, lobster from Maine (don’t miss our lobster rolls!), steamers from Rhode Island and, of course, an amazing clam chowda,’ thin, light but very flavorful.”

Oyster Bar Dreams
Izzy’s Fish & Oyster is the namesake of Derosa’s young daughter Isabela. When she was 6 weeks old, the family drove from Florida up the coast to New England – a trip that inspired their dream to open an oyster bar in Miami Beach. “I want our guests to feel as if they’re transported to the Cape or Vineyard for the summer,” said Derosa. “When you walk in, you shouldn’t feel as if you’re in Miami Beach, but instead like you’re visiting your favorite lobster shack or oyster bar from a more simple time period in Nantucket.”

Does little Izzy like to eat at Izzy’s? You betcha. “She loves the whoopie pies,” Derosa said.”Izzy has many food allergies – peanuts, soy, dairy; so she loves ceviche, vegetables, shrimp and chicken nuggets that we prepare allergy friendly. We enjoy having children and families here. We even bring Izzy’s old coloring books, crayons, markers and Play-Doh so everyone feels right at home.”

“I can personally attest to that,” said Robin Jay, Editor in Chief of Opulence. “We brought our family to Izzy’s to celebrate my husband’s birthday. Our 9-year-old son had so much fun dressing his oysters with marinades that he asked if he could have more for dessert – and whether he, too, could have his next birthday party here. That says volumes!”

The menu design at Izzy’s is a culmination of Chef de Cuisine, William Crandall and Derosa. Together, they spent months on research, testing and traveling through Boston and Maine for inspiration. “During one of our trips through Maine, we fell in love with the Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth. They had an amazing rhubarb pie, and since we’re familiar with strawberry season in Miami, we had to have this as part of our menu. It’s a simple pie, with fresh pie dough, beautiful Florida strawberries and softly whipped cream.”

151023_Izzys_0145“Don’t let the simple description fool you,” said Jay. “The whimsical-looking homemade miniature pies were decadently prepared with fresh, tiny wild strawberries and the flakiest of pastry crusts – phenomenal.”

The New England Look
The petit, airy 40-seat interior space welcomes with grey stone-tiled floors, antique tin and reclaimed wood ceilings, metal mesh suggestive of lobster traps, plush leather banquettes and even fish-shaped ceramic water pitchers that gurgle to surprise guests when servers pour their drinking water. Two oversized windows illuminate the sweeping mural by Claudio Picasso featuring an octopus that drifts across the white-washed brick walls. A gleaming raw bar harboring the fresh catches of the day also echoes the sounds of oysters being shucked and prepared in that moment. If you haven’t yet visited Izzy’s, it’s about ‘shucking time’ that you stop by!

 TRAYMORE— Tre delicieux!

A celebration of fresh seafood at the historic luxe Metropolitan Hotel in South Beach

By Gina Woods

traymoore-foodThe Traymore Restaurant and Bar at Metropolitan by COMO, re-imagined by Italian designer Paola Navone, sets the standard for sophisticated, approachable dining in South Florida with Executive Chef Juan Loaisiga.

Located at 2445 Collins Avenue, The Traymore occupies an authentic pre-war Art Deco building, originally designed in 1939 by celebrated American-born architect, Albert Anis. Originally named The Traymore hotel, The Miami Design Preservation League listed it as an historic landmark after it served as a hospital during the Second World War.

The Traymore offers American seafood showcasing seasonal dishes freshly harvested from local Florida waters. Signature dishes include Grilled Jumbo Octopus, Fragrant Seafood Stew and Whole Roasted Market Fish.

“This is a hidden gem for those in-the-know,” said Robin Jay, Editor in Chief of Opulence. “The seafood platter offers oysters, clams, mussels, ceviche and lobster on a silver tureen of shaved ice. The yellowtail snapper with caper sauce was superb. For dessert, try the orange chocolate texture – once awarded best dessert in South Beach. It’s delightful with a glass of Hungarian Royal Tokaji.”

Collins-Park-(left)_and-Traymore-1939-Gin-Cocktails_Traymore-Gin-BarA TOAST TO MIAMI’S ONLY GIN BAR!

The Traymore Gin Bar offers a unique gin cocktail menu of innovative creations carefully crafted using a combination from the bar’s eclectic collection of more than 40 domestic and international brands from around the world.  The signature cocktail menu includes:

“Traymore 1939” (Noilet’s Gin, Rosemary Syrup, Orange Curacao, Grapefruit, Pomegranate)
 “Singapore Sling” (Miami Style) (Gordon’s Gin, Benedictine, Cointreau, Cherry, Pineapple)
“Blood Orange Beluga” (Beluga Vodka, Aperol, Orange, Orange Bitters)
“Sleeping Volcano” (Jose Cuervo Tequila, Habanero, Syrup, Lime, Cucumber, Canton, Cilantro) 
“Caipirinha by COMO.”




Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 3.55.15 PMTanzy

Wolfgang Puck would be proud! His former right-hand gal, Chef Sherry Yard – herself a Food Network Star and James Beard Award Winner – is now blazing a whole new culinary trail at Tanzy in Boca Raton. Along with Master Mixologist Adam Seger – the Charlie Trotter of cocktails – the duo are wowing guests at the venue uniquely located at the iPic Theaters. Must-tries include the Housemade Meatballs, Tuna Crudo, Tuscan Kale Salad, Quinoa and Almond Crusted Goat Cheese Salad, the Strozzapretti and Pappardelle with Forrest Mushrooms and Roasted Chicken.  For dessert, be sure to indulge in the decadent Italian Donuts. If you’re imbibing, Seger’s signature mojito is amazing!

301 Plaza Real , Boca Raton, 561-922-6699, www.Tanzyrestaurant.com



Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 3.50.33 PMYoko-San Hibachi Fusion

“From the moment owner Corey Simpson met us at the door with a firm handshake and a smile – and Japanese-style sodas for my younger brothers, I knew Yoko-San was no ordinary hibachi restaurant,” said Ryan Jay. “Not only was the table-side Asian cooking spot-on, the warm hospitality and innovative ambience made it feel like going to an upscale night club – but for dinner. The Hibachi steak, calamari, lobster, shrimp and chicken were cooked to perfection right in front of our eyes. It was so delicious that my girlfriend and I have driven to Boca Raton for dinner at Yoko-San four more times since writing this.” Yoko-San has skyrocketed into the South Florida culinary and nightlife scene. The inventive cocktails, wine and sake lists are designed to complement the menu. “To us, making sushi should be as much of an art to see made as it is decadent to eat,” said Simpson.  “Customers love our hookah bar, too.”

99 SE Mizner Blvd., Suite 110, Boca Raton, 561-430-3565, www.Yokosanboca.com


Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 3.44.01 PMMax’s Social House

Social House (SoHo) is a foodie’s Mecca, offering everything from artisanal and craft to local and sustainable. And they deliver, without being pretentious and without leaving you hungry. Although the daily menu offers “small plate” portions, the platings are sizable, encouraging sharing as opposed to merely tasting. Don’t miss the octopus a la plancha – its bath in the sous vide makes it incredibly tender and it’s finished on the grill for a crispy crust. It’s served alongside smooth gigande beans, flavorful lamb sausage, and addicting falafel croutons. The tomatoes in Vito’s burrata were deliciously sweet (think candy) and paired well with fresh, creamy, lightly salted cheese. Did we mention the drinks and desserts? Our favorites: Dueling Banjo Iced Tea and Hot Daniela Does Wimbledon. The ultimate dessert: the SoHoles, a.k.a., fluffy balls of donut-y goodness with just the right amount of fresh ricotta inside, served with Wonderberry jam and a salted caramel sauce.

116 NE 6th Ave, Delray Beach, 561-501-4332, www.maxssoho.com


Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 3.46.32 PMCafe Med Ristorante

Chef Tulio Castillla has created a delightfully refreshing casual Italian café adjacent to the Deerfield Beach pier. Each dish was a clever combination of ingredients. Tiny red teardrop sweetie peppers adorned the sculpture of prosciutto, eggplant, olive tapenade, goat cheese and asparagus – a dish to remember! The homemade pasta truffle tartufo dish served in foil  was like a gift to unwrap and enjoy. The lobster seafood ragout served in a casserole dish looked and tasted like a home-cooked meal, and the coffee-encrusted Techila Kailua marinade on the tomahawk ribeye was a delicious surprise! The homemade vanilla gelato and red velvet donuts had guests smiling like children on Christmas. And the wines paired with each dish led diners on a vivid two-hour tour of Italy.

2096 NE 2nd Street, Deerfield Beach, 954-596-5040, www.Cafemeddeerfield.com


Sebastian Inlet Clams

Sebastian Inlet Clams

Sea Level Restaurant & Ocean Bar at Fort Lauderdale Marriott HaRbor Beach Resort & Spa

Housemade Burrata, Heirloom Tomato & Floridian Hefeweizen

Housemade Burrata, Heirloom Tomato & Floridian Hefeweizen

“This seaside gem was a relaxing and delicious dining experience,” said Cara Kingan for South Florida Opulence. “I loved that flavorful freshness of the locally sourced vegetables.” Executive Chef Jason Connelly served a five-course farm-to-table inspired menu paired with locally brewed Funky Buddha beers. The housemade burrata with Palm Beach heirloom tomatoes was served with garden chive pesto and grilled ciabatta bread, paired perfectly with a Floridian Hefeweizen libation. The Sebastian Inlet Clams with Benton’s bacon and Paradise Farms kale was served with On Top Blonde Ale. It was followed by miso marinated cobia with pork fried rice, celery root puree and citrus foam – with a gutsy Hop Gun IPA. Next was a perfectly cooked New York strip steak with duck-fat potatoes with black-garlic butter, grilled broccoli rabe and Teena’s Pride cherry tomatoes. It was paired with Doc Brown Ale.

3030 Holiday Drive, Fort Lauderdale, (954) 765-3041, www.harborbeachmarriott.com




Tuna at Modern Garden at Seaspice

 Modern Garden at Seaspice

“This hot stone and crudo lounge is a spectacular addition to Seaspice in Miami,”  said Robin Jay, Editor in Chief of South Florida Opulence. The Modern Garden offers intimate dining on the Miami River in a sultry, renovated post-industrial warehouse. With an extraordinary natural wood art installation with hanging glass globes and an outdoor porch-like setting, Modern Garden offers an intriguing interactive hot-stone cook-at-your-table menu with innovative and fresh cuisine.

Hor Rock Wagyu Beef

Hor Rock Wagyu Beef

“The fresh purple watercress salad with green goddess was a delicious start to our alfresco riverside dinner,” said Karen Bivins, Director of Samuel Lynne Galleries in Dallas.

Michael Bivins, the Gallery’s CEO added, “Cooking on the sizzling hot stone right at our table made the experience so memorable. The Diver Sea Scallops with smoked potato puree and hazelnut butter was my favorite dish of the evening.”

“The Uni Canape Squid Ink Chips with citrus crème, lemon zest and smoked trout roe looked like the chef was serving us a plate of fine art,” said Michael Jay. “It was as uniquely delicious as it was beautiful.”

Add Modern Garden to your summer plans for sure!

422 NW North River Drive, Miami, 305-440-4200, www.seaspicemiami.com


Tuna Tartare


“From the moment we entered Bagatelle – with the comic book art mixed with chandeliers, white linens, fresh flowers and groove music – I knew we were in for a special experience,” said Michael Jay, husband of editor Robin Jay.

Lam Horiataki

Lam Horiataki

Jay and son Ryan, a third-year culinary student at Johnson & Wales University,
ordered the chef’s tasting menu.  “We started with Yellowfin Tuna Tartar with avocado salad and lime soy vinaigrette, and the
Ceviche de la Mer – the freshness and blend of herbs was spot on. The Gnocchi Truffles a la Parisienne – a very difficult dish to make homemade – was to-die-for. Executive Chef Matthieu Godard, who has worked all over the world and with celebrity Chef Daniel Boulud, is a genius in the kitchen,” said Ryan.

“Do try the rack of lamb with chickpea hummus, sweet pepper piperade, tzatziki and harissa. The savory baked chicken with caramelized cipolini and button mushrooms was outstanding. Without doubt, this was the BEST meal I’ve had in Miami — ever!” Michael said.

2000 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, 305.704.3900 , www.bagatellemiami.com




Chef & Owner
Giovanni Rocchio

Valentino Cucina Italiana

“One step inside the doors of Valentino Cucina Italiana in East Fort Lauderdale and you feel the energy,” said Erika
Buchholz of South Florida Opulence.  “We were greeted warmly by Stephan and shown to a cozy table by the window. The restaurant has a hip, California feel to it, with mission-style arches, open beams and iron scroll work.  There is a warm, comfortable, energetic vibe – lots of people for a Monday night! The meal started with the popular Calamari Artichoke Tart.  The calamari is baked in a black skillet with artichokes and breadcrumbs, giving it a delicious healthy crunch, and served over bitter greens. Then came delicious Plins, ravioli-like pillows stuffed with beet puree and goat cheese and finished off with a poppy seed puree.

Grilled octopus

Grilled octopus

“We were pleasantly surprised by the intermezzo that was presented.  Arugula sorbet with pickled cucumbers and watermelon radishes – delicious and oh so refreshing!”

Entrees included two specials: homemade spaghetti with sea urchin butter, oven roasted tomatoes, zucchini, toasted breadcrumbs, and Alaskan king crab out of the shell. “My favorite!” said Buchholz. Next was roasted, pan-seared cobia with roasted local corn, cherry tomatoes and salsa verde.  Chef also brought the Casoncelli – pasta stuffed with veal, guinea hen and golden raisins, with a brown butter sauce and topped with prosciutto. “It was phenomenal.” Dessert included bombolini,  an Italian donut with a dulce de leche center and mascarpone crème fraiche; and a flourless chocolate silk cake with banana sorbet and peanut butter dirts.  “Both were delicious – I was so full by then!” After the meal, Stephan took
Buchholz next door to see the new space. It is going to be more casual tapas and wine bar, open for lunch, called One Door East. It’s opening in the spring sometime – stay tuned. 620 S. Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale, 954-523-5767,www.valentinocucinaitaliana.com


La Ferme beet salad

La Ferme beet salad

La Ferme

La Ferme promises – and delivers–delicious food with a touch of Mediterranean flavor.  Its owners and executive chef bring a solid heritage of culinary prowess. Bobby, Laura and Alexandra Shapiro own  the dining spot, as well as two Flex Mussel restaurants in Manhattan. Chef John Belleme, who worked at the former Stephane’s, and with renowned restaurateur Burt Rapoport, has joined them.

Dale King and wife, Julia Hebert, contributing writers of South Florida Opulence, found the menu fulfilling, with dishes like Narragansett Dayboat scallops and herbed risotto hinting at New England roots. The menu adjusts seasonally, but currently offers kale Caesar, escargots in the shell, a variety of seafood, forever braised short rib Bourguignon, authentic Moroccan tagines for two with potato pie and accoutrements. Diners can also feast their eyes on the more than $100,000 worth of exquisite artwork. Wines from boutique vineyards, beers from micro-breweries and a list of uniquely crafted cocktails round out the menu.
9101 Lakeridge Boulevard, Boca Raton, (561) 654-6600, laferme.kitchen


IMG_3412Perfecto Gastrobar

Step into Perfecto Gastrobar and you’ll feel transported to an eatery in Barcelona.

“We loved the distressed eclectic interior and spunky yet industrial-casual ambience. The dishes were definitely authentic to the Spanish Capital, starting from the hand-carving of the scrumptious aged
prosciutto ham,” said Robin Jay, Editor of South Florida Opulence.

Perfecto features dishes such as Canelon de Aguacate Y Cangrejo,Tataki de Atun, Patatas Bravas and Croquetas de Pollo. Chef Manresa’s goal is to provide an environment based on a fusion of both food and music. The quaint Brickell restaurant offers traditional Spanish fare with an emphasis on quality ingredients, creating a Europe-meets-Miami dining concept unparalleled by other Miami restaurants. “The service was superb. Our server, Pedro, was well-versed on the dishes and made our culinary journey a fantastic part of the experience. Sensational location, too!” 1450 Brickell Avenue, Miami, 305-372-0620, www.perfectomiami.com



69667457Brother Jimmy’s BBQ

Step outside of present-day Miami and into the Old South at rustic eatery Brother Jimmy’s BBQ. After 20 years in business, Brother Jimmy’s prides itself on specializing in authentic North Carolina slow smoked barbeque. Test your rodeo skills on their mechanical bull or try one of their 22 variations of bourbon – a Southern favorite.

“Brother Jimmy’s expertly seasoned meats and generous portions are a carnivore’s delight,” said Melissa Bryant, Editorial Assistant of South Florida Opulence. “The rib platter featured a tasty country sausage-flavored dry rub paired with a Memphis-style rub. I couldn’t get enough of the humongous bbq nachos with bbq beans, chili, cheese and brisket which seamlessly blended sweet with savory.”

Brother Jimmy’s BBQ Doral location is open for lunch and dinner Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 11p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
11401 NW 12th St. (Dolphin Mall) • Doral • (305) 517-5124• www.brotherjimmys.com


Nick's-Pizza-shotNick’s New Haven-Style Pizzeria & Bar

For a taste of Italy in the suburbs of Coral Springs, look no further than Nick’s New Haven-Style Pizzeria & Bar. There you’ll find thinly-crusted New Haven-style apizza (pronounced ah-BEETZ) and a team dedicated to producing the finest interpretation of this classic Italian dish.

“It’s definitely worth a drive to the ‘burbs’ to try this unique New-Haven style pizza — I’ve never tried anything quite like it. They take their pizza very seriously; only chefs from New Haven are allowed to make the dough because it requires perfectly adapting the flour to our humidity, it uses live yeast and it is allowed to rise three times before it’s baked.

The signature white clam pizza is very similar to how the original pizzas were first made centuries ago for fishermen in Naples, Italy.”
Nick’s New Haven-Style Pizzeria & Bar is open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from noon to 10:00 p.m.
2444 N University Drive • Coral Springs • 
954-800-7603 • 


Salad_RestaurantThe Restaurant at The Setai Miami Beach

Mathias Gervais, Executive Chef at The Restaurant at The Setai Miami Beach, believes in true farm-to-table cuisine. As a child, Mathias and his grandmother combed village markets in Provence, France, for fresh produce like cantaloupe, zucchini flower and eggplant to use in homemade ratatouille. This inspired his culinary career. Chef Mathias went on to work as the Chef de Partie and Sous Chef for famed Michelin-star-rated establishments in Florence, Italy, and Monte Carlo, Monaco. Now, his traditional style of simplistic cooking is on display at The Restaurant.
“Chef Mathias‘ tasting menu was exquisite — my favorite dishes were the zucchini blossom stuffed with goat cheese, and the spicy strawberry gazpacho,” said Robin Jay, Editor of South Florida Opulence. “Also divine was the lobster citrus salad.”
“I like to be an individual with my cooking and in my kitchen; I work to be original with my recipes and flavors – and not like other chefs nearby or beyond,” said Chef Mathias. “It’s important for me to stay true to my Mediterranean and French roots – and not compromise my passion for this cuisine due to ever-changing trends or what’s the “in” ingredient or method. Oftentimes, chefs want to follow trends; I prefer to create trends.”

The Restaurant at The Setai Miami Beach is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. for breakfast and noon to 3 p.m. for lunch. Dinner is served from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday. Sunday Jazz Brunch is from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday.


La-Gazzetta-3La Gazzetta Miami

Modern Italian café, La Gazzetta’s delicately combines Italian Riviera cuisine with international influences for a break from the traditional. Enjoy a glass of environmentally friendly Keg Wine while people watching on their stunning sidewalk café in Mary Brickell Village. With clever concepts, fresh ingredients and a serene ambiance, La Gazzetta has everything necessary for what is sure to be a Miami hot spot.

“I’m a news junkie, so I was fascinated by the use of “La Gazette” newspapers as menus,” said Robin Jay, Editor of South Florida Opulence.
“The sushi pizzetta with the wasabi mayo and candied ginger and the pulled pork with sour cream and pickled shallots were delicious. Chef Stephen said they got the crispiness from running the dough through the pasta press. The blend of crunchy, sweet, spicy, salty and creamy was absolutely fabulous. And butterscotch salmon? I don’t normally like salmon…but this dish was sensational.”

La Gazzetta is open from 11:30 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays, 12:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturdays and 12:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays.
1010 S Miami Ave. • Miami • 305) 523-2393• www.lagazzettamiami.com


Le Tub Saloon

What was once a Sunoco gas is now Hollywood’s best kept restaurant secret. After this former station closed in the early 1970s, Russell Kohuth purchased it, then spent a year hand-building what is now Le Tub out of flotsam, jetsam and gems he collected from Hollywood Beach. With no forms of advertising, this open-air saloon located on A1A is so secret that some people who have resided in Hollywood for years don’t know of its existence. Of course, this was all before Le Tub was named ‘The Best Burger in America’ by GQ Magazine and appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Le-Tub-Burger“Le Tub’s 13 oz., 100 percent sirloin burgers are seasoned, then charbroiled to perfection,” said Michael Perry. “The laid-back atmosphere offers a serene vibe on Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway with quirky objects d’art like decorative toilets, worn wooden picnic 
tables and old painted bathtubs. It’s no coincidence why Le Tub continues to garner accolades from television shows, magazines, and average ‘Joes’; they simply make the best hamburger!”
Le Tub is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. weekdays and noon to 2 a.m. on weekends 365 days a year.
1100 N Ocean Dr. • Hollywood• (954) 921-9425• www.theletub.com




Prohibition Restaurant 
and Speakeasy

Although it’s 2014, and the period of Prohibition from the 1920s and early 1930s has ended, Americans fascination with the swanky saloons and undercover clubs of this bygone era has endured. Prohibition Restaurant and Speakeasy elicits all of the allure and excitement of these undercover taverns by serving classic cocktails reminiscent of the Roaring ’20s in the energetic environment of Midtown, Miami.
Whether you prefer your drink the “old fashioned” way, with Crown XO, superfine sugar and dashes of bitters poured over an orange slice or more “cosmopolitan,” with Ketel One citrus vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice and lime juice, Prohibition has its fair share of quality spirits to quench any thirst. Elegant small plates like truffle lobster mac & cheese and grilled octopus feature top-notch ingredients. While savory large plates like shrimp chorizo and wagju skirt steak feature the best from land and sea.
Prohibition Restaurant and Speakeasy is open from 5:00 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday and 5:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Turn to page 6 of our Fall issue to read Deirdre Capone’s intimate portrayal of her great-uncle “Al” — Chicago’s most notorious mobster, who became infamous during the Prohibition era.
3404 N Miami Ave. • Miami
(305) 438-9199 • www.prohibitionmiami.com


 wynwood-logoWynwood Kitchen & Bar (WKB), Miami’s Global-Latino dining destination with cutting-edge art, innovative cocktails and live music, will launch ‘Taste of the Americas’ – a three-month series celebrating the signature cuisine of Latin American countries.  The series kicks off in May, when Executive Chef Miguel Aguilar will showcase specialty dishes from Mexico, available each Thursday throughout the month.
“Our menu is all about exploring Latin American cuisine from around the globe.  Taste of the Americas allows me an opportunity to spotlight some of my favorite cuisines and share those with our diners,” says Aguilar. “I’m excited to start with Mexico because the food is simple yet fun and packs a lot of flavor.”

Taste of the Americas: Mexico will be available for lunch and dinner Thursdays throughout May (2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th ) at Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, 2550 N.W. 2nd Avenue. Ample street parking and valet are available. Telephone: 305-722-8959; www.wynwoodkitchenandbar.com and www.facebook.com/wynwoodkitchenandbar.


ceviche-logoCevíche Tapas Bar & Restaurant Delray Beach Unveils Spring/Summer SpecialsTapas Tuesdays, Wine Wednesdays and Happy Hour

Photo, Ceviche, Albondigas (veal, chorizo and pork meatballs in piquant tomato sauce) download

Ceviche Albondigas
veal chorizo and pork meatballs in piquant
tomato sauce

Cevíche Tapas Bar & Restaurant in Delray Beach has unveiled spring/summer promotions, including Tapas Tuesday, Wine Wednesday and weekday happy hour.  Ceviche, located at 116 NE 6th Avenue in the historic home formerly occupied by Falcon House, opened in December; it is a popular Spanish tapas restaurant with five other locations statewide. Happy hour takes place Tuesday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. and features a $4 tapas menu, including homemade garbanzos hummus, Esparragos, Gambas y Guacamole, Albondigas (veal, chorizo and pork meatballs in piquant tomato sauce), Chorizo al Brandy (grilled sausage flambéed with Spanish brandy over roasted potatoes and onions), Gambas al Ajillo (tender shrimp served sizzling in garlic and extra virgin olive oil with red pepper flakes), Mejillones Catalana (fresh mussels sautéed with anisette, garlic, a touch of cream and parsley), and other specialties.  Happy hour drink specials are $3 well drinks, select beers and house wines and $4 sangrias and calls.

Ceviche-Gambas-al-Ajillo shrimp served sizzling in garlic and extra virgin olive oil with red pepper flakes

Ceviche-Gambas-al-Ajillo shrimp served sizzling in garlic and extra virgin olive oil with red pepper flakes

Tapas Tuesday features $4 tapas and sangria all night, along with $6 Mount Gay Rum Mojitos.  The $4 tapas include the items mentioned above as well as Higados de Pollo (crispy chicken livers, mushrooms and smoked bacon in a Spanish sherry sauce), Champiñones al Ajillo (sautéed wild mushrooms with extra virgin olive oil and garlic, flambéed with Spanish sherry), and Gambas Bravas (tender shrimp lightly dusted and fried and tossed with spicy homemade aioli).  In addition, Ceviche offers Solomillo a la Parilla for $8 (beef tenderloin grilled and sliced with wild mushrooms and brandy cream sauce) and Salmon a la Gaditana for $6 (grilled Norwegian salmon served with saffron sauces and leeks).
Each Wednesday all bottles of wine from Ceviche’s award-winning list, priced at less than $100, are half off throughout the night.

About Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant
Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant is a unique restaurant concept where atmosphere, culture and food blend perfectly into one.  The flare and flavors of Spain are carefully fused together to create a unique dining and entertainment experience.  The menu consists of over 75 tapas to share with recipes influenced by traditional dishes from old Spain.  House specialties include an incredible selection of Ceviche’s, Paellas, Piquillos Rellenos, Gambas al Ajillo and their famous Patatas Bravas.  Traditional Spanish desserts including Flan and Tres Leches are homemade in the restaurant.  The award-winning wine list includes an extensive selection of wines from the Iberian peninsula.  Red, white and sparkling Cava pitchers of Sangria are prepared tableside.  The unique dining ambiance provides for an intimate dinner, casual night with friends or dancing the night away in the Flamenco lounge.  For more information, visit www.Ceviche.com or www.facebook.com/CevicheDelray.


toro-toro-logoBRUNCH WITH BRAVADO Since opening in October 2012,  Toro Toro has drawn raves for its ultra-modern setting and innovative Pan-Latin steakhouse cuisine by acclaimed Chef Richard Sandoval. Located on the lobby level of the eclectic InterContinental Miami, the restaurant recently introduced a not-to-be-missed “Brunch with Bravado,” offering endless eats and unlimited cocktails.

Chef Richard Sandoval

Chef Richard Sandoval

“The menu features dishes that are a fusion of Latin and Asian ingredients – and they’re served in small-plate tapas style for sharing so that everyone can enjoy a little of everything,” said New-York-based Chef Joseluis Flores, who is in Miami overseeing the new venue. “Come in on Sunday and have a party – relax and enjoy as many of the brunch  tapas and cocktails as you like!” Lobby level of the InterContinental Miami  • 100 Chopin Plaza in downtown Miami  •  (305) 372-4710  •  www.torotoromiami.com

Images left to right: Heirloom Tomatoes; Pan Latin Small Plates; Arepas
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chef Paula DaSilva (1)1500-logoThings are hotter than ever at 1500°, the acclaimed farm-to-table restaurant with a steakhouse sensibility. Entering its 3rd year at the historic resort,  executive chef Paula DaSilva, sous chefs Tony Velazquez and Adrienne Grenier, along with mixologist Rafa Dulanto, have unveiled a host of new temptations sure to set taste buds tingling this winter.  “Since we’re very dedicated to seasonality, our menu is ever-changing,” says DaSilva, whose work helped make 1500° one of Esquire’s “Best New Restaurants in America” in 2011. New entrees include grilled black grouper with Beluga lentils, Benton’s smoked bacon, roasted root vegetables and pea tendrils, as well as a killer paella for two inspired by DaSilva’s recent trip to Spain. Eden Roc Renaissance • 4525 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach • (305) 674-5594 • www.1500degreesmiami.com

Left to right: Grilled Octopus with Charred Artichoke; Florida Wahoo Ceviche;Pork Belly Taco with Kimchee

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Serafina-logoAt Serafina Dream South Beach,restaurateurs Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato offer a memorable Northern Italian dining experience. Serving more than 24 pizza varieties and a wide selection of salads, pastas and grilled fish and meat, diners enjoy recipes that use the highest quality ingredients. Sommelier Alessandra Rotondi has curated a wine list featuring highly rated wines from Italy, France, New Zealand and the U.S. “Serafina’s homemade pastas areto-die-for, as are the truffle pizza and truffle risotto,” said Robin Jay, Editor in Chief. “Ask for Enio to serve you – he’s a one-man show!”1111 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach • (305) 534-8455 www.serafinarestaurant.com/serafina/miami

Images Left to right: Homemade Fettuccini; Grilled Salmon on a bed of spinach and capers; Pizza (24 varieties);
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Jacob-Anaya in action

Jacob-Anaya in action

Azul-hi-res2As you travel over the quaint bridge to Brickell Key,  you’ll see the stunning curved architecture of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel – shaped like the signature fan in the five-star hotelier’s logo. It’s no wonder that Luciano Pavarotti was the very first guest when the hotel opened in 2000. You, too, will feel like singing opera when you visit the hotel’s signature fine dining venue  – Azul. “Chef Jacob Anaya is as delightful as his menu,” said Robin Jay, Editor in Chief of South Florida Opulence. “I recommend starting with the Grand Azul Platter.

On a mound of crushed ice comes the finest oysters, stone crab claws, jumbo shrimp and other delicacies of the sea. If you love caviar, don’t miss the “Elit”  Vodka caviar service. You’ll also adore the grilled Spanish octopus, the heirloom beet salad, the handmade tortellini and, my favorite of all, the acquerello risotto made with roasted chestnut, prosciutto di parma and a delicious port wine reduction. 500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami • (305) 913-8358

Chef Angelo Elia

Chef Angelo Elia

DAngelos_LogoSouth Florida’s culinary maestro Angelo Elia, who has received numerous awards and accolades for his flagship fine dining restaurant Casa D’Angelo, recently opened the second outpost of his hip, affordable Tuscan dining concept, D’Angelo Pizza • Wine Bar • Tapas in Weston.


Veal and Pecorino Meatballs

The menu – under the auspices of Elia and Executive Chef Tony Sassi, who hails from Barletta, on the southeast coast of Italy and previously worked for the Mezzanotte company – focuses on fresh, seasonable ingredients imported from Italy.

“Chef Elia has truly outdone himself with this new venue! Just a week after opening, the place is packed,” said Robin Jay, Editor in Chief of South Florida Opulence. “The creamy burrata with roasted figs is the most amazing flavor and texture combination ever. The veal meatballs melt in your mouth and the stuffed zucchini flowers are delicate and delicious!” 1370  Weston Road, Weston • (954) 306-0037 • www.dangelopizza.com



Chef Jaime DeRosa

Chef Jaime DeRosa

Saturday & Sunday Brunch Launches June 1
Located south of Fifth in the heart of South Beach, Tongue & Cheek is the whimsical new restaurant owned and operated by Chef Jaime DeRosa and restaurateur Michael Reignbogin. Opened since April, t has been wowing diners with its creative menu and locals-friendly service and setting. In fact, most nights, the bar bustles with locals grabbing a drink and a few tasty bites from the restaurant’s “snack bar” or family meal – a complete meal with beverage available from 5 p.m. Served every Saturday and Sunday beginning Saturday, June 1, the à la carte weekend brunch menu will feature classic brunch staples as well as unique offerings profiling DeRosa’s unique culinary style. Eggs come in a number of varieties, from a King Crab Benedict with Tobasco® hollandaise and baby arugula ($15) to an omelet with heirloom tomatoes, burrata and sweet basil ($9). Additional savory selections range from lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry jam ($10) and Cuban sandwich with pork cheeks and pickled cucumbers ($11) to a fried clam roll with pickled peppers, smoked aioli ($10) and a well-selected Raw Bar consisting of east and west oysters, Key West peel n’ eat shrimp and Taylor Bay scallops, among other. House-made Pastries include a basket of donut holes in three varieties ($2 per person) and sticky buns with brown butter pecans ($4). Rounding out the menu are Cereals, Fresh Squeezed Juices and, of course, brunch cocktails, including Bloody

Lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry jam and Amarena cherries

Lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry jam and Amarena cherries

Mary’s in a variety of fashions ($8). To sweeten the deal, DeRosa and Reginbogin are offering $10 valet during brunch and are happy to let diners looking to hit the beach post-brunch leave their cars at the restaurant. Brunch is served 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.pm.; cars must be picked up by 3:00 p.m. and valet must be validated prior to leaving the restaurant. Miami Beach residents looking to get a jump on things can enjoy complimentary coffee/periodicals on the T&C patio from 10 a.m. to noon. Dinner is served nightly, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; ’til midnight on Friday and Saturday. The snack bar opens at 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Brunch is served Saturday and Sundays, 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Tongue & Cheek located • 431 Washington Avenue • (305) 704-2900 • www.tandcmiami.com 



Dining Across America