Best baguette in The Magic City, six new restaurants in Miami , leading fine dining and party spot ups the ante, a late night happy hour, “Made in Dade” at SUGARCANE, and a new bakery for Brickell, all in Eating News for March.

And the winner of the baguette battle 2019 award for the best baguette in Miami went to Madruga Bakery in Coral Gables. The winner was chosen by a panel of judges, many French of course. Judging by looking at them, they took their responsibility seriously, very intent throughout the process.

 

Five bakeries competed and believe me, after tasting the samples, they were so crusty and delicious, I couldn’t have chosen a best. That being said, another I really liked was from Buon Pane Italiano which has a bakery at 729 Fifth Street in South Beach (I wrote about them earlier, delicious crostata fruit tarts too) and soon to open on Espanola Way.

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Villa Azur Miami

 

Villa Azur was the first  to bring the fine dining and party life as it’s enjoyed in the South of France to Miami. Seven years later, on its anniversary,it recently showed it is upping the ante with an exciting new menu and a serious people watching and instagrammable scene.

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Cauliflower “crab” cake with kadaifi and avocado remoulade

 

New menu items include truffle French ravioli; wagyu cheek canelone with morel mushroom cream, shaved parmigiano, citrus micro and hazelnut gremolata; smoking pekin duck with orange bulleit bourbon au jus; and pate a la meule – linguini, mushroom sauce, fresh truffle and cognac.  Enhance the experience with choice of cognac XO or Louis XIII ($50 and $170 respectively plus the cost of the pate). Some very good vegetarian dishes as well such as cauliflower crabcake too. Come prepared to pay special occasion prices. Villa Azur, 39 23rd Street,  open Monday through Saturday for dinner starting at 6:30 p.m.

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Cornish hen en cocotte with braised carrots, fingerling potatoes, and truffle chicken jus

 

Miami Restaurant Openings

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Breakfast pastries at Bachour

 

Antonio Bachour, arguably Miami’s best French baker, has a spacious new home in Coral Gables. Called Bachour, it’s open from 7 a.m. To 7 p.m. and serves breakfast all day long with soups and salads, sandwiches on their house baked baguettes, and several classic mains including roast chicken, steak frites, local catch of the day and a choice of sides. Prices for all but the classic mains are in the mid to high teens. The main event, though, are the gorgeous classic French tarts and cakes ($8) and a wide selection of breakfast pastries ($4 to $5), macarons and bonbons.   New creations at this location only (his other is at The Citadel in Little River) include a red velvet croissant, peanut butter jelly croissant, and strawberry mascarpone. Crusty baguettes and cookies complete the lineup. If you like to bake, you’ll love the bar seating overlooking the busy open kitchen. There’s also table seating. Bachour, 2020 Salzedo St.

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Open kitchen and bar seating at Bachour Bakery Coral Gables

 

Wondering what’s going on at CocoWalk? The first signed tenant has been announced — Los Generales Mezcal & Grill .Leading the restaurant is a group of chefs that include Chef Aquiles Chavez, an innovator with traditional Mexican cuisine who serves as a judge on “Top Chef Mexico.”Coconut Grove will be the first U.S. location for the restaurant, which will feature indoor and outdoor eating space .Its menu is really out there including roasted bone marrow tacos, duck tamales, truffle esquites (toasted corn cups) and grasshopper guacamole (or as it’s called in the social media, guac “animal style”).

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Bone marrow tacos from Los Generales Mezcal & Grill, CocoWalk Photo courtesy of the Miami Herald

 

Friends and I always liked Proof Pizza so were disappointed to hear it closed. But good news – it will be back late April, housed inside Taurus Beer and Whiskey House, 3540 Main Highway, Coconut Grove. Open only evenings, it features its classic pizzas including the truffle and burrata.

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Proof Pizza and Pasta

 

INK Entertainment, the hospitality company that brought  Byblos, one of my faves,  to South Beach, will open two new culinary concepts at the  Celino South Beach, a new luxury boutique hotel. Following the $110 million transformation,  the hotel will enter the market in April as the largest hospitality development in the history of Ocean Drive – comprised of three original Art Deco buildings, including the historic Park Central Hotel, plus a new five-story atrium building. Alongside the property’s unveiling (also slated for April), Patrick Ochs, Corporate Executive Chef for INK Entertainment USA, will launch his newest Italian concept, Pubblica Italiana, along with Dalia, his latest creative Mediterranean venture at The Celino.

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The Bar at Dalia at the Celino Hotel

 

Looks like Brickell Avenue will be getting a Rosetta Bakery after all. The casual Italian bakery for eat in and take out,  makes all its own breads, pastries and cakes and also serves sandwiches.  The on again, off again bakery at the Echo condo at 15th and Brickell, looks serious now. There’s a multi colored awning in front, and a sign announcing a summer 2019 opening.

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Rosetta Bakery opening soon on Brickell Avenue

 

Another new Italian entrant in the South of Fifth district just steps from the beach, Amare Ristorante is described as offering ” Southern Italian fare in a glamorous setting that evokes la grande bellezza of Italy’s famed Amalfi coast”. It’s created by restaurateur Gino Iovino in partnership with Michelin Starred Chef Cosimo Cassano and Franco Ricatti. Opening in April.

 

Michael Schwartz’s empire which includes Michael’s Genuine, Amara and others continues to expand. His latest project is all of the food and beverage operations at the COMO Metropolitan Miami Beach, 2445 Collins Avenue. Schwartz’s emphasis on fresh, clean Floridian flavors is teamed with  influences of Southeast Asia, from which COMO hotels hails. The restaurant features a Raw Bar and a Market Table, where the menu includes a beef carpaccio with heart of palm, kohlrabi, peanuts, burnt lime vinaigrette starter and wok-charred wild salmon with four sprout salad, toasted pumpkin seeds and soy lime vinaigrette. Black sesame pound cake with coconut cream, marinated papaya and toasted sesame seed is just one example of the new desserts on the menu. Schwartz’s input on both food and beverage will be seen throughout the hotel, with the launch of new breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch menus.

Metropolitan by COMO

 

Ever popular Midtown restaurant SUGARCANE Raw Bar & Grill is celebrating close to a decade with a  “Made in Dade” menu from now through April 15. The much awarded Chef Partner Timon Balloo has created a three part menu featuring “Kick Back” dishes, throwback favorites like yellowtail hamachi crudo ($14) and grilled cauliflower bagna cauda ($12); “Eat Well” healthy options including swordfish “ajo blanco” with fried almonds ($21) and squid ink fideos with salsa verde and bearnaise  sauce ($17); and “Stay Awhile’ comfort dishes including its signature, the duck and waffle with a crispy confit duck leg with duck egg and mustard maple sauce atop a waffle ($23).And take note, they’re offering a personality quiz that tests users’ knowledge of Miami culture and food. Take the quiz online and enter a sweepstakes to win dinner for two when you share your results of the quiz on social media and tag @sugarcanerawbargrill.  SUGARCANE, 3252 Northeast First Ave.

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Duck and waffle at SUGARCANE

 

Light bites: A late night happy hour,now isn’t that a great idea! Stiltsville Fish Bar in Sunset Harbour is now offering happy hour Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to closing. That means select wines for $5, draft beer for $6 and small plates and light bites starting at $3.

Finally, it’s not eating news, but worth mentioning for you music lovers, the W South Beach is presenting Reggae Nights with the Riddim Force Band on Saturday, March 30 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Guests will enjoy rum specials featuring Saint Teresa 1796, buckets of beer for $30, including selections of Heineken and Red Stripe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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