Beaches and water properties are synonymous with M I A M I. Surprisingly, we do not have enough waterfront dining locations. Enter Amara at Paraiso, a welcomed addition and not just for its expansive Biscayne Bay views.
This new project by Miami boss, chef and owner Michael Schwartz (Michael’s Genuine, Genuine Pizza, Harry’s Pizzeria, and Fi’Lia), will not be a hidden gem for long. The interior design and decor successfully create a natural flow between the luxe indoor and breezy outdoor spaces. Ocean blues, sandy whites, and tropical motifs enhance the already picturesque background. The 4,500 square foot indoor-outdoor space includes a main dining room and bar, upstairs event space, plus an expansive deck seating area steps away from the water.
With “Latin American flavors and coastal ingredients centered around the flame,” as the menu goal, I couldn’t wait to dive in.
What I tried:
HIT: I won’t lie, I’m usually a flan snob. But, the flan. The flan! THE FLAN!I loved it so much, I ordered a second. I hope it never comes off the menu. Silky and creamy, this Dulce de Leche Flan is the best I’ve had in a long time. Made with real dulce de leche (read: NOT caramel, cajeta, crema de leche, or any other dulce de leche impostor), its delicate sweetness surprised me. Not overpowering, just right.
Other strong dishes were the House Made Chorizo Sampler (regular, seafood, and verde), the Charred Hanger Steak (grilled escarole, idiazabal cheese, chiles, and lemon), and the Grilled Corn Salad (Sungold tomato, queso fresco, red quinoa, and cascabel chile). All dishes I would/will order again.
MISS: The Beef Tartare (green papaya, egg yolk, cashew, and plantain chips), while fresh and pleasing to the eye, underwhelmed me. I couldn’t pinpoint why the taste was off: maybe an overly herbal flavor? The Yucca Cheese Puffs felt a little dry inside and could have benefited from a complementary sauce. Lastly, the Wood Grilled Sweetbreads arrived nicely seasoned outside, but not thoroughly cooked and mushy inside. Although it was corrected quickly upon mentioning it to the server, she commented it was intended to “. . . be served as originally presented.” I hope that’s not the case.
Overall, even with the few hiccups I experienced, Amara at Paraiso’s potential for greatness and a quick rise as a crowd favorite is realistic and palpable; the location, ambiance, and excellent menu highlights say so. More importantly, there’s still much to explore on the menu. I have my eye on the Short Rib Empanadas, Lamb Ribs, Calabaza-Hominy Stew, Banana Leaf Wrapped Cobia, Meat Parrillada, and Feijoada. Did I mention there’s a kickass flan? Just saying.
Amara at Paraiso
3101 NE 7th Ave
Miami, FL 33137