Tasting and Toasting

Gourmet Food and Wine Pairings

Crown Wine and Spirits, the leading wine merchant in South Florida for more than 50 years, and SocialMiami.com present Tasting & Toasting – a South Florida guide for connoisseurs. Our monthly feature brings together the finest Miami restaurants with Crown’s experts who suggest wines to complement the cuisine. If the wine selection intrigues you, click through to Crown Online and make the purchase. It’s the fastest and easiest way to shop for wine online. And be sure to make a reservation at one of these featured restaurants and enjoy a feast fit for royalty.

Badrutt’s Place

Swiss-born Johannes Badrutt, from the family behind Badrutt’s Palace Hotel that has been frequented by Royals and celebrities since 1896, has bestowed European luxury and tradition upon Miami’s financial district in the heart of Brickell. From its Davidoff Cigar Lounge and state-of-the-art sound system to its high-style design and sophisticated glamour, Badrutt’s Place has cultivated a devout following of smart business men and women.

It offers Mediterranean-brasserie style faire, using the freshest of seasonal ingredients, presented by Executive Chef Davide Piana. Suggested entrees are Four Way Tuna, a plate of assorted raw tuna marinated in four flavorful sauces, including ginger orange, lemon pepper, citrus oil, and a traditional soy and horseradish sauce (Crown Recommends Chanoine Freres Grand Reserve); Black Grouper presented in a light broth and soy beans with julienne of carrot, yellow squash, enoki mushrooms and zucchini (Crown Recommends Etim Old Vines Grenache); and Duck Breast with Orange Sauce served with mashed roots and sautéed vegetables (Crown Recommends M Poinar Crozes Hermitage). Badrutt’s Place is located at 1250 South Miami Avenue. Seating is indoors and out with secluded meeting space available with Internet access and video presentation capabilities. Open for lunch Monday through Friday and every day for dinner except Sunday. For reservations: 305-415-0070.

China Grill

This southern spin-off of Manhattan’s critically acclaimed China Grill is one of South Florida’s most popular dining meccas. Celebrity sightings are frequent here. The breathtaking interior boasts multi-level dining platforms featuring imported Egyptian limestone floors, walls inlaid with gold leaf, ethereal custom light fixtures, an open kitchen, a large wraparound bar and a copper, ice-top sushi bar in The Dragon. Large windows let in the dazzling tropical light, and an outdoor patio provides the perfect setting for al fresco dining. The exquisite cuisine can best be summed up as “The world on a plate!” Italian, Japanese, French, Chinese and American ingredients intermingle flawlessly in oversized portions intended for sharing.

Begin your meal with the Crackling Calamari Salad with lime miso dressing. For the entrée, the Barbeque Salmon with Chinese Mustard sauce and stir fried greens (Crown Recommends Lucien Albrecht Pinot Gris Cuvee Romanus) is always an excellent choice. If you’re more of a sushi lover, go for the Golden Dragon Roll, tempura shrimp, crabmeat stick, mayonnaise, cucumber, masago, mango & avocado (Crown Recommends Billecart Salmon Champagne Brut Reserve NV). China Grill is located at 404 Washington Ave, Miami Beach. For reservations, please call 305-534-2211.

La Marea

La Marea’s innovative Mediterranean cuisine, luxuriant service and elegant dining décor makes it a favorite of both in-the-know locals and celebs, like Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson. Under the direction of Executive Chef Pietro Rota, La Marea delivers a five-star dining experience. Relax with one of the signature cocktails offered in the Coral Bar before dinner. Then, begin with Burrata Mozzarella, served atop baby arugula and roasted, vine-ripened Florida tomatoes with fresh basil and olive oil (Crown Recommends Cacciano Chianti Riserva).

The cheese’s outer shell is solid mozzarella while the inside is a soft and sumptuous combination of mozzarella and cream. The Black Truffle Ravioli is classically Mediterranean but modernized (Crown Recommends Damilano Barolo). Made from paper-thin pasta sheets, the delicate ravioli nestles a soft-poached organic egg that’s held together with a flavorful layer of mashed potatoes and a smattering of Tallegio cheese, and then sprinkled generously with black truffles. Try Moroccan Tuna, coated in flavorful Moroccan spices and pan-seared to perfection (Crown Recommends Zind-Humbrecht Zind). It’s served with sautéed asparagus and herb-roasted truffled potatoes. La Marea is located at The Tides South Beach, 1220 Ocean Drive, the 120-seat restaurant offers inside seating overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, as well as outdoor terrace dining. Private dining and catering also available. For reservations: 305-604-7090.

Oliver’s Bistro

The big orange umbrellas at Oliver’s Bistro denote casual dining at one of South Beach’s best neighborhood sidewalk bistros. Catering to a local clientele, Oliver’s offers a pleasant atmosphere for relaxed dining inside or out. Start off by trying one of their most popular appetizers – Grilled Calamari Rings served with a tomato remoulade and a garlic and cilantro sauce.

For the main plate, the chef suggests Grilled Salmon Scallopine, drizzled with a special tarragon beurre blanc sauce and served with haricot vert and crisp carrot-potato dumplings (Crown Recommends Calera Central Coast Pinot Noir); or Pan Roasted Lamb Shank, slow cooked in a natural pan gravy and served atop braised tuscan beans with pancetta and smashed potatoes (Crown Recommends Masi Costasera Classico Amarone). You’ll find the servings sumptuous and the costs moderate at Oliver’s, and they boast a well-stocked medium-priced selection of wines. Located at 959 West Avenue, Miami Beach, Oliver’s also serves brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Bring the pooch – Oliver’s Bistro is dog-friendly. It’s a real find! Open Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday till midnight. For reservations: 305-535-3050.

Sardinia Enoteca-Ristorante

Renowned for its spit-fired meats, fregola pasta, crisp “pane carasatu” flat breads and other favorites of Chef Pietro Vardeu’s homeland, Sardinia Enoteca-Ristorante is especially popular for its extensive wine list and regional Italian-themed dinners. Its comfortable ambiance and wood-burning oven makes it a great meeting place for a crowd of casual diners to enjoy an oversized platter of cured meats and cheeses with roasted vegetables and a great bottle of vino. Chef Vardeu’s menu selections for Tasting & Toasting is inspired by his training in Florence and feature: Sardinian couscous, called “Fregoletta,” sautéed with baby clams, garlic, celery, carrots, onion, herbs and parsley in a saffron broth (Crown Recommends Chablis Drapier).

Spaghetti con Bottarga – pasta that’s topped with celery, garlic, parsley and cherry tomatoes sautéed in extra virgin olive oil and served with grated Bottarga, a Mediterranean delicacy of red mullet roe that’s been cured and sun-dried to perfection (Crown Recommends Morellino di Scansano Querciarossa). Maialetto – slow-roasted baby suckling pig prepared with mirto (a popular Sardinian drink made from the leaves of myrtle) and rosemary and served with roasted potatoes and vegetables (Crown Recommends Vizcara Crianza Ribera del Duero). Sardinia Enoteca-Ristorante is located at 1801 Purdy Avenue on Miami Beach and is open daily from noon to midnight. For reservations: 305-531-2228.

Interested in having your restaurant featured in Tasting & Toasting?
Contact Allison McCormick at allison@socialmiami.com

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