Back to Home Advertise Subscribe
Email this Article ARCHIVES Back to newsletter

The waterfront terrace with a place to dock your boat, a second floor with private rooms for parties, a sleek bar and piano lounge, DJ music on weekends, and a spectacular view of the bay of what used to be Salty's in Haulover Park is now home to the 220-seat indoor/outdoor Solo on the Bay and to chef Michael Bennett. After years at Epicure Market, as executive chef at the Left Bank and last seen at Hoeflinger and Chiarini, the talented Bennett is now offering a vast menu for all tastes with many fat-free and cholesterol free items marked with a red heart, all paired with wine suggestions. Appetizers ($8.95 to $12.95) range from Cal;ypso calamari with lemon aioli and sesame tuna loin martini with wasabi glaze and seaweed salad to Bajan mussels, Kataifi wrapped shrimp stuffed with crab and lobseter, shrimpo and chicken Satay. Salads ($3 to $12.95 for entrée salad) include the classic Caesar, the Chef salad Cubano, and the heart-friendly chicken tempura salad. The menu lists sandwiches ($8 to $11) such as pastrami cured turkey, grilled chicken and brie and wood-grilled churrasco with tomato and greens, as well as wood-grilled burgers ($8.95). A good choice of pastas vies for attention with gourmet pizzas ($10 to $15), and a good selection of fresh fish and seafood entrees ($16 to $28) ranging from corvina with red curry and guava to wood-grilled swordfish and Bimini scampi. The menu goes on with meat and poultry offerings -- from rotisserie chicken ($13.95) to flat-iron steak and filet mignon, an enticing choice of specials for children, and a dozen desserts. Solo on The Bay, is open seven days for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; and till midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.. 10880 Collins Ave., Haulover Park, Bal Harbour, 305-949-3920.

Chef/proprietor Hans Viertl and his wife Sonia have expanded the scope of their European-style cafés with Sacha's Café (named after their son), a charming 50-seat indoor/outdoor café with a shaded courtyard in the heart of Coral Gables, the fourth venture under the umbrella of Euro Table Inc. established since 1994. The other locations are Estate Wines and Gourmet Foods, 92 Miracle Mile, Fountain Bistro and Deli at the historical 800 Douglas Road in Coral Gables, and La Ficelle at Waterford Blue Lagoon. Sacha's Cafe is a sleek-looking, modern European design by Hersh, Vitalini, Corazzini with complimentary wireless internet and a new concept "breakfast club" served on the communal table for 12, "for business people who must get together before going to work or for an important meeting," says owner Sonia Viertl. It is a counter-service place with eat-in on porcelain plates and wooden trays. The menu is similar to that of their other cafés with freshly baked croissants and breads for breakfast and a fast prix fixe lunch that changes daily including soups like cream of broccoli and split peas with roasted onions and sandwiches like French pâté and mustard, and Moroccan beef, Genoa salami and provolone cheese. Sasha offers and array of Sandwiches ($6 to $8) made with an extensive variety of breads and garnishes as well as soups and entrée salads ($6.50 - $9) and desserts. Sasha's Café, open Monday to Saturday from 7am to 5pm for breakfast, lunch and afternoon quiet retreat. 2525 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, (with an entrance either through the building or through Valencia),Coral Gables. 305-569-1300.

D'vine District is slated to open soon where the tiny and lovely French Box Café used to be. Both owners have resurfaced after a hiatus to launch their new wine bar and eatery: Chef Philippe Boutinet, formerly of The Trump Sonesta, Executive chef at Fisher Island, Banquet chef at The Biltmore, had previously worked with Pascal Oudin at the Grand Bay and with Thomas Keller at the French Laundry; Florent Blanchet, with a solid formation at a hospitality management school in Lausanne, Switzerland, is a wine expert with five years of experience in the wine industry. "It's a little wine shop and restaurant with 36 seats, a full menu and a wide selection of sandwiches from jambon beurre to chicken curry and mozzarella and prosciutto. We only use high-end products," said Philippe Boutinet. The partners will have wines by the glass all day long, and will sell wines as well. "We are starting with about 170 different wines," explained Boutinet who plans to open in the evening as a wine and tapas bar. The restaurant will offer wine classes every Monday night, as well as schedule winemakers dinners. Open from Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and as wine and tapas bar from 5p.m. till 10 p.m. D'vine District, 3622 NE 2nd Ave., 305-576-7775.

A new Asian cuisine restaurant has opened where Yips once stood. After thirty years of experience in gourmet Cantonese cooking and fifteen years as the head chef of the famed Golden Unicorn in New York's Chinatown, Chef Kai Shing Lai, a winner of numerous awards, has opened his own restaurant in Fort Lauderdale where he now lives. "Asian Fusion means that we combine all the different Asian cultures for a new taste in Asian cuisine," explained Boris Lai, chef Lai's son and the manager and factotum at the handsome 80-seat indoor restaurant. The vast menu lists appetizers (from $4 to $9) including crispy crab meat onion and shell, sizzling Bay conch; and entrées ($9 to $15 and $28 for the entire duck) such as Volcano Shrimp; Forbidden City Duck, Steak Maroon; Pineapple-Lemongrass Chicken and Five-Spice Soft Shell Crabs. Open from Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday open 4 to 10 p.m. Asian Fusion 1327 S. State Road 7 North Lauderdale, 954.969.2880

No more singing at Aria. The 126-seat indoors and 60-seat outdoor restaurant that became famous when it first open with chef Jordi Vallès, has become Cioppino (meaning fish stew in Italian). The beautiful s etting overlooking the ocean with soft wood accents, and Varied tablecloths in vibrant hues of burnt orange and yellow by Garnier Thiebaut, offers a simple Tuscan menu prepared by chef de cuisine Andrés Jimenez. The listing includes fresh burrata mozzarella; Fritto Misto with Marinara sauce and seafood and salads as appetizers. For entrées: the restaurant's signature dish, Cioppino, which features fresh prawns, calamari and clams in a light tomato sauce accompanied by grilled crostini; as well as fish like Branzino, a Mediterranean sea bass with eggplant ragout; and meat dishes like Bistecca alla Fiorentina. Most ingredients are flown in twice a week from Italy for authentic regional flavors. Cioppino features live entertainment on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, as well as Sunday Brunch. Open for breakfast (7-11:30 a.m.), lunch (11:30 a.m. -3 p.m.), dinner (6-10 p.m.), Sunday through Thursday; 6-11 p.m. (Friday-Saturday), and Sunday Brunch (12-3 p.m.) Cioppino, The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscaye, 455 Grand Bay Drive. (305) 365-4500

After closing his restaurant in the Design District, chef Alan Hughes has re-opened One Ninety at the revamped dining room of the Albion Hotel where he serves dinner from Wednesday through Sunday, 6 to 12 p.m., and an à la carte Sunday Brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The full liquor bar is open Wednes through Sunday from 4 p.m., and there will be music and tango evenings. 1650 James Ave., South Beach. 305 913 1071

To submit information and tips for this column, please e-mail to:

Home Advertise Subscribe Privacy Policy About Us Contact Us Copyrights

©The South Florida Gourmet
5410 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables, FL 33146
Tel: 305-668-6270 Fax: 305-665-2423