Owned by SOBE visionary and pioneer Mark Soyka (of Soyka, News Cafe, and the very missed Van Dyke Cafe) this reimagined gem sits beaming just waiting to be discovered. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time I dined at a remodeled 1923 former fresh-water pump house. Walking up to Cafe Roval, I felt eager to explore every inch of this historic location.
The coral walkway off the side led me to the back of the building where the inside and outside dining spaces meet. Twas a typical Miami muggy night, of course, I chose to sit inside. What a great decision!
Exit reality and enter another world. Are we still in the 305? Nothing about the interior design screams tropical or flashy Miami. As per our waitress, Tel Aviv’s chic and popular 1960s hotspot, Cafe Roval is the inspiration for the restaurant name. The seating, although limited, didn’t feel crowded. Throughout the night, the service remained attentive and pleasant. The dramatic lighting against the coral rock and jazzy songs coming from the speakers set the mood for the ultimate date night spot. A tête-à-tête? A rendezvous, maybe? Need a place to pop the question? Look no further…
What I tried
It’s hard not to love the fall-off-the-bone Lamb Ribs: served with an apricot chutney and tzatziki, one of the few I’ve ever truly liked. Outstanding! It might be listed as an appetizer, but I will be ordering these (with a side) as my entree as often as I can. Surprisingly, the Flourless Chocolate Cake stood out as well. You’ve had one, and you’ve had them all, right? Not this time. I couldn’t keep my fork away. Unapologetically thick and rich, this one is for the true chocolateholics! You’ve been warned.
It surprised me to see all of the main ingredients in the Creamy Gnocchi & Maine Lobster dish hastily thrown and clumped together on the plate. I struggled to find the gnocchi and lobster pieces within the dish. The excessive use of corn and mushrooms drowned out any chance this entree had for depth of flavor. Everything tasted the same: like corn. Not a fan.
Despite the miss on my entree, I enjoyed the rest of the dishes, and I’m looking forward to a return visit. Cafe Roval’s location and ambiance are clearly a big draw. I can’t wait to experience the sensational space during the day. The outdoor seating among the lush gardens, ponds, and hidden pathways await. More importantly, I’m curious to see new executive Chef Curtis Rhodes (The River Seafood & Oyster, Oak Tavern, Oceanaire) in action. To be continued…