Earlier this year, Tatel Miami was listed in my “hot” list of restaurants to watch for the opening. With celebrity owners including music superstar Enrique Iglesias and Spain’s tennis legend Rafael Nadal and NBA champion Pau Gasol, plus a successful mother restaurant in Madrid, it was on my “to do” list. In March Tatel opened in the Ritz Carlton South Beach, and I was finally able to make a visit.  It turned out to be different from what I expected. We went on a Friday night last month. It was not one of those restaurants-cum-party-scenes. Much welcome was a comfortable setting with leather banquettes and spacious tables (white tablecloths), flattering lighting, diners obviously enjoying conversations and lingering, lovely muted colors inspired by the works of Spanish impressionist painter Manuel Sorolla, and attentive service. There’s a stage in the back with a singer (jazz style) on select nights, but not the night we were there.

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Avocado with bite size pieces of carabineros, the prized red Spanish shrimp.

The elegant circular island bar is at the entrance to the restaurant off of Collins Avenue, illuminated by a sculptural metal chandelier of over a thousand bronze tubes with hundreds of LED lights. They have some neat cocktails happening like the Verano de Tatel made with Belvedere Vodka, lemonata, mixed berries, and citrus fruits topped off with Ribera del Duero red wine. A selection of martinis also star.

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Crispy artichokes with Iberico ham

A waiter carving a leg of Spanish ham was a reliable sign that the culinary emphasis here is Spanish cuisine, both traditional dishes and modern takes. Executive Chef Nicolas Mazier, formerly of NOBU Miami, creates the dishes based on the Madrid menu. If you order wisely, you can eat very well. Our starters of choice were the crispy artichokes with Iberico ham – whole baby artichokes lightly fried with thin slices of the uber Spanish ham, and super creamy melt-in-your-mouth avocado with bite size pieces of carabineros, the prized red Spanish shrimp.

Tatel Miami - MiamiCurated

Monkfish in green sauce with baby clams and porcini mushrooms,

A section of Spanish rice and pasta eschews paella for the more contemporary take of rices with lobster, or shrimp or vegetables; a rigatoni like pasta called paccheri served with a demi cream sauce au gratin, with manchego cheese and truffle; and a fave of the evening, creamy and nutty barley risotto with shaved truffle that was totally addictive.

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Fried pimientos de padron

Besides the crowd pleasers from the sea and land of grilled branzino, charcoal grilled baby squids with caramelized onions and pine nuts, and a selection of steaks, there are creative entrees that show the collaboration of the ex NOBU chef and the Madrid team. Eating the delicate flavor monkfish in green sauce with baby clams and porcini mushrooms, I thought I was in Spain (would love to see a dish just with the baby clams). Ditto the grilled Iberico (ham) secreto – a loin of ham that was sliced and served with broccoli rabe (ask that it not be well done). We accompanied the entrees with an order of the small green lightly fried padron peppers (similar to shishito peppers), which are happily showing up on more restaurant menus. Just wish I could find a place to buy them for home cooking (any suggestions readers?).

tatel miami

“Brutal” chocolate cake with housemade vanilla ice cream

Desserts are weighed heavily to Spanish classics – from the cheese flan and arroz con leche,  to torrijas – milk infused brioche that’s caramelized and served with fresh milk ice cream. The standout dessert and a favorite dish of the evening was the “brutal” chocolate cake. It was moist, deeply chocolately, multiple layered, and served with house made vanilla ice cream. The apple tart with ice cream also scored high.

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Apple tart with vanilla ice cream

The chef is also proud of other dishes I had hoped to try, but we just ran out of capacity – like a runny Spanish omelet made with confit potato, truffles and potato foam; fresh milk croquettes; and an intriguing duck wellington.

Starters are mainly priced in the teens and twenties, more for the gourmet items such as the Spanish prawns and Iberico ham; rice and pasta range from $28 for one to $42 per person based on a service for two (lobster); entrees in the high twenties to low forties; sides, $10; and desserts average $11.

tatel miami

Fresh milk croquettes with Iberian ham at happy hour

Happily, they just launched a great happy hour that’s well priced and has light bites of some of their signature dishes like the crispy milk croquettes with Iberico ham, crispy artichokes with ham,  thinly sliced marinated tuna, “Grandma style” meatballs, and more. They’re $6 to $8. Wine is $6; cocktails $10; champagne $12; and beer $5. Happy hour is a good way to sample the restaurant. It’s Monday to Friday, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

With validation parking is $15.

Tatel Miami, 1669 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach (T.305-604-0523).

Photography by William Oberheiser

TATEL Miami Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 



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