Miami Living Magazine

Michelle Rodriguez

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FOOD From Hook-to-Table Altamare serves up succulent seafood and more Words by Martin Haro • Photo Credit Simon Hare Once upon a time, there was a restaurant on South Beach called Altamar. It was between Alton and West avenues on Lincoln Road, and it was one of the spots for locals seeking some nice seafood. I say "once upon a time" because after eight years, in 2010, Altamar closed – but before you could say it was the end of an era, it reopened, like, two doors down from its old spot, and now goes by Altamare. I never fully understood the reasoning for the change, of the name, not of the location (that probably had something to do with a hike-up in their rent). The good thing is Altamare wasn't gone for long, and locals – and smart visitors – still have a place where good food can be found. The new Altamare, located at 1233 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, is a stark box of a restaurant. It's classic-SoBe- white-meets-rich-and-simple wood- browns, with a dramatically lit open kitchen on one side and a sexy, small bar on the other. It's a bigger space, too, so that probably influenced the move: the restaurant was It for a reason. And what's that? Why, the food, of course. Altamare's kitchen is under the direction of Aussie chef Simon Stojanovic, a rising talent if we ever saw one. An imposing, tall figure, Stojanovic has the touch when it comes to food, and a big personality to match his big, bold flavors. His approach sounds and feels very organic, y' know. It must come from that laidback Down Under vibe he's got going on…. The restaurant's menu celebrates, obviously (right?), the hook-to-table concept, and is sourced, for the most part, locally. Among the items that are staples of Stojanovic's offerings are his pan-seared hogfish with exotic mushroom in uni sauce and sunchoke chips ($34). 82 MIAMI LIVING I'd never had hogfish (which, evidently, is abundant down in the Keys), and I gotta say I am a convert and I love it and I wanna have some more. Combining fish and mushrooms isn't the most intuitive thing for a layman, so my compliments to the chef…and my apologies, for I will lift the idea and make a mess of it at home. The menu also features some beautifully grilled cobia ($30; btw, I was a bit of a cobia virgin, too, and now I'm a fan of the fish o.k.a. black salmon). It was served on a bed of Swank Farms watercress salad mixed with fresh Teena's Pride (Homestead in the house!) heirloom tomato, local avocado, and arugula dressing – and it was the bomb diggity for realsies. One of the chef's faves to put forth is his grilled octopus with warm farro, chorizo, grilled lemon, and smoked paprika aioli ($18). Now, it's an appetizer, but it's a healthy serving, and there's a reason why this dish is such a winner: it may look cumbersome, but it's quite light (IMHO), and it is refreshing but it also has a kick to it. It's really the gift that keeps on giving, and memorable, which is always a good thing. Among the newer items, recently introduced by Stojanovic for summer, are a beyond-gorge yellowjack crudo with yuzu juice miso salt, fresh wasabi, and Australian finger lime; as well as a tripletail ceviche with blood orange (sweet!) and Asian pear. Oh, now that Joe Allen is gone, Altamare also has some of my favorite mussels in town: Their $17 Thai curry mussels with green curry paste, coconut milk, crispy sushi rice cake, and lime will give it to ya, alright. I know it. Lest you think it, the restaurant also has some nice alternatives to seafood, like an awesome grilled pork belly with house pickled baby carrots and a side of fennel with kaffir lime zest; as well as veal chop, short rib, and steak frites. You guys, Imma go make another reservation, too. You should, too, by calling 305-532-3061. Btw, the team behind Altamare recently expanded beyond Miami Beach when they opened TIKL Raw Bar & Grill in Miami's Financial District. Featuring a menu of small plates, TIKL celebrates farm-to-table cuisine, as well as locally grown fruits and vegetables. It is located at 1450 Brickell – and you best believe we will be telling you more about it soon. ML

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