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The beautiful 6,000 square feet space that housed Carlo Casgrande's Amici's Gourmet Market is now home to L'Épicerie, "a French Gourmet Market like Fauchon or Lenôtre in Paris, "explained owner, Mathieu Giraud. Giraud, a seasoned restaurateur, operated two restaurants in Paris, and specified that "one was a Bouchon Lyonnais and the other was a trendy restaurant in the Bastille quarter." He hired chef cuisinier Nicolas Vienne, former second chef de cuisine at the two Michelin star restaurant at Le Meurice under chef Yannick Alléno, and pastry chef Jerome Lasalmonie, formerly of Le Crillon Hotel in Paris. French architect and interior designer Philippe Grelié has created a minimalistic environment for the market - " the important thing is to enhance the products," says Giraud; and a living-room feel with booths for the dining room with 40 seats indoor and 40 outdoor tables. While the emphasis is on the catering business, customers will be able to eat in or take out a vast choice: from a salad bar to a beautiful array of prepared foods, baked goods, charcuteries, fromages, wines, entrees, appetizers, and pastries. With valet Parking. Open from Monday through Saturday 7:30 8 p.m., closed on Sunday till further notice. L'Épicerie, 2301 Galiano Street, Coral Gables. (305) 461-4343, Fax: (305) 461-5221.

Ensconced in a brand new mall with such giant tenants as Publix and Cosco, Paul, the new Bakery Café with a marquis that discreetly states 'Maison de Qualité founded in 1889', brings a whiff of France to North Miami. The 3200 square foot location with an in-house bakery and seating for 40 indoors and 40 outside is the first US location of Paul USA , a branch of the Appétit Group, a corporation which owns 300 bakeries and cafés throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia. According to PAULUSA CEO Vladimir Alfa and vice president Luc Bansay, the new location serves as a starting point in the company's plan to roll out an additional 100 bakery/cafés in the Southeast over the next 10-12 years, including 30 in Florida. "Everything is baked in-house with a special flour Camp Remy T55 brought in from France, and according to corporate recipes," said Manager Kevin Bruce as he set samplers for customers. The shelves are lined with 40 different types of freshly-baked loaves and baguettes: Pain de Campagne, Walnut bread, fougasse, flutes, ficelles, and the counters piled with croissants, viennoiseries ($0.95), quiches ($4.45) and pastries like fruit tarts, tarte frangipane, au chocolate, flan normand, etc… ($3.45) and Paul's macaroons brought from France. The café's extensive and very affordable menu ($1.95 to $11.95) includes gourmet plates with charcuteries and cheeses ($6.95); sandwiches ($6.45) including roast beef, tuna, cheese Bagnat and Parisian with French ham, butter and cornichons. On the menu there are also choices of omelettes, eggs of all types, soups, hot plates and salads such as salade grenobloise -gourmet lettuces, beetroot, eggs, bacon, Swiss Emmental cheese, chives and vinaigrette., as well as crêpes and desserts. Paul is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 14861 Biscayne Boulevard, Biscayne Commons shopping center, North Miami Beach. 305-940-4443.

Chispa Restaurant & Bar has announced that construction of its second location in the city of Doral is ready to commence at a ground-breaking ceremony on, February 18, at the project site. According to Chef and partner Robbin Haas, Chispa Doral will be twice the size of the Coral Gables flagship; with over 7,000 square feet, the 200 seat restaurant will have two outdoor terraces, and one outdoor dining area. The projects is slated to be completed in December 2005. Carl Meyers, the architect and interior designer who designed Chispa Coral Gables will duplicate the architectural style and design of the first locale with authentic Latin America tiles, "sparked" shaped lights, large goatskin lampshades and authentic saddle leather seats, and a rustic Spanish style wood ceiling. The menu bursts with flavorful interpretations of Latin favorites will feature a grand selection of innovative dishes reflective of traditional Hispanic food customs including an extensive selection of cazuelitas, creative ceviches and tartares, crispy flatbreads, unique salads, hearty plates, and more. Chispa Doral, 11500 NW 41 St., Doral, Miami

After a decade long run Mezzanotte in Mayfair, Coconut Grove has closed its doors following the demise of Borders Bookstore in Mayfair last month. The 200-seat Italian eatery, one of restaurateurs Piero Filpi and Tom Billante signature restaurants - a sister and namesake of the original Mezzanotte in South Beach, which closed a few years ago, and of Mezzanotte in Fort Lauderdale which was recently sold -became a hot spot in the 90's when Yuppies and Yucas ended up the evening dancing on the tables. "During our time there, the Mayfair was a great location for me and my partners Tom Bilante and Manuel Cabrera," said Piero Filpi, owner of Filpi restaurants. But, according to Filpi, the walk-in traffic has considerably slowed down. Filpi and Billante own Carpaccio in Bal Harbour Shops and two Mezzanottes in Mexico and Acapulco. Piero Filpi is the owner of Il Toscano in Weston, Carnevale in South Beach, Puccini and Pasta in Dadeland Mall, and Splendido in Coral Gables.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle officially changed the name of the restaurant-cum-nightclub Spiaggia into Spazio - 'space' in Italian - at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by owners Leone Padula, A.J. Yarri and Lior Avidor. "When we first opened people asked if we were affiliated with Spiaggia in Chicago," explained Padula. "While they have a well deserved reputation in the restaurant industry, we want to create our own identity and have SPAZIO become the same landmark in Fort Lauderdale as they are in Chicago," he concluded.
The 160-seat indoor/outdoor beachfront restaurant on the corner of las Olas and A1A with a hip bar, steel ceilings and mood lighting is "high-tech chic," with a modern, minimalistic South Beach look, says GM Saverio Viola. The owner Leone Padula who also owns Café del Mare, another casually upscale restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale hired Michael Smith, formerly the executive chef at the Riverside Hotel, to create an Italian and Mediterranean menu with appetizers ranging from a Raw Bar with oysters, clams, shrimp and Oysters Spiaggia with spinach, artichoke and basil glaze ($9.95) to salads ($7.95 to $9.95) and fire brick oven for a variety of 12" pizzas like cheese ($8.95) and fresh clam with tomato and garlic ($12.95). Pastas are both asciutta and homemade like ravioli, gnocchi and fettuccine($14.95) with a choice of sauces, and tagliatelle mare monti ($18.95). The menu offers entrees of meat, poultry and fish and ends with homemade desserts including warm chocolate truffle cake ($7.95), amaretto panna cotta ($6.95), " the abyss;" an almond cup with Grand Marnier Zabaglione and fresh season berries. With live music every night, and the beach nearby, Spazzio is an all-day hangout. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., everyday. 239 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale. 954-764-8191.

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