Amara at Paraiso, Miami’s Quintessential Waterfront Restaurant, Opens Thursday, January 11

The time has come to welcome our newest restaurant into the world. Amara at Paraiso opens Thursday, January 11 in Miami’s East Edgewater neighborhood. Located directly on Biscayne Bay in the Paraiso District—the latest master plan development by The Related Group—Amara at Paraiso brings together all the elements of the quintessential Miami waterfront dining experience from environment to cuisine to vibe. The bayside enclave has inspired Schwartz and the team led by Executive Chef Michael Paley to cultivate a menu influenced by the bold flavors of Latin America, coastal ingredients, and the diversity that underpins the city’s cultural identity. The restaurant opens with dinner service, with Sunday Brunch following shortly after. Make a reservation here.

“The dynamic energy, local ingredients, and natural beauty that define why we live and visit here are what Amara at Paraiso is all about.  It couldn’t exist anywhere else,” says Schwartz. “This restaurant is in the unique position to bring it all together.  It’s our love letter to Miami and why we are proud to call it home.”

 

Highlighting the open kitchen’s wood grill and Josper charcoal oven, the vibrant menu celebrates clean-eating food and cooking techniques centered around the flame.  Dinner is divided into Snacks, Small, Medium, and Large plates, Vegetables/Sides, and “From the Wood Grill” dishes that are paired appropriately from amongst six complementary and signature Amara Mother Sauces.

Snacks include Grilled Flatbread with chimichurri, fried oregano and lemon; hand-formed Empanadas with Short Rib with olive, raisin and chimichurri, baked in a flakey lard crust; and Corn and Leek with roasted poblano, mozzarella and smoked paprika aioli, fried in a yuca crust. Dish highlights include Banana Leaf Wrapped Cobia with mashed yuca, pickled vegetables, coconut chutney, and grilled lime; Grilled Beef Short Rib with shaved cabbage, Marcona almonds, grilled peppers, and sour orange; and the Amara Feijoada, a beautifully composed spread built around a cazuela filled with layers of specially cooked-ingredients tied together on a bed of deep red, savory Domingo Rojo beans from heirloom purveyor Rancho Grande. Sides include Long Cooked Broad Beans with breadcrumbs and basil.

The beverage program by Assistant General Manager Maria Pottage mirrors Amara at Paraiso’s menu, inspired by Latin American ingredients, artisanal producers of spirits and winemakers, and Miami’s lively melting pot. Cocktails are served on-tap, as single servings or punch bowls, bottled, and shaken or stirred. Calm Before The Coconut recalls a sense of tropical place with Diplomatico Planas rum, Velvet Falernum coconut crème, coconut water, pineapple, lime, salt, and nutmeg, served in a chilled coconut.  Pisco Cafecito is bottled and combines Barsol Quebranta pisco, Don Ciccio Nocino, Luxardo Angioletto, cold brew and chocolate bitters.  La Fresa is served in a coupe, with fresh, local strawberries infused in Plantation 3 Stars rum, ginger, lime and a strawberry garnish. Sommelier Amanda Fraga’s wine program highlights selections from North and South America, with iconic favorites from Europe to round out the list.

Designed as a key part of the Related’s Paraiso District to complement the resort-style living for the soon-to-be residents of the Paraiso development, the restaurant occupies the ground floor of the free-standing Paraiso Beach Club and will soon be flanked by Paraiso Park and boat slips.  Amara at Paraiso is ideally located  just two blocks east of Biscayne Boulevard, offering the public unimpeded access to its entrance with street and valet parking.

The 4,500-square-foot, indoor-outdoor space designed by Meyer Davis Studio, with direct input from the Related and Schwartz teams, celebrates the tropical, bayside environment as an effortless design element to unify the natural beauty of the restaurant’s surroundings. The restaurant includes main dining room and bar seating for 150, with floor to ceiling windows offering dramatic Biscayne Bay views, as well as deck seating for 70 on the water.  Its stunning location and versatile menu make Amara at Paraiso an ideal venue for private dining and events. The approach is warm and inviting, drawing the outside in with white washed paneling, natural woods, and graphic concrete tiles. Detailing is open, honest and relaxed with exposed trusses, and an open double-height steel stair.

Amara at Paraiso is located at 3101 NE 7th Ave, Miami, FL 33137.  The restaurant will be open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 6:00 to 10:00pm, Friday and Saturday 6:00pm to 12:00am, and Sunday 6:00pm to 10:00pm.  For reservations visit amaraatparaiso.com, email reservations@amaraatparaiso.com or call 305-702-5528.  Amara is available for private parties and events; for groups larger than 12 guests email lindsay@michaelschwartzevents.com. For more information including menus, please visit amaraatparaiso.com and follow @amaraatparaiso on social media (where there are lots of Instagram Stories to catch up on!)

Genuine Pizza Opens First Atlanta Location on Friday, January 5 in Buckhead

Genuine Pizza will open its first Atlanta location on Friday at the main entrance of Phipps Plaza in the heart of Buckhead. This will be our first pizzeria out of state and with a private dining room… as well as our first restaurant where it snows!  We’ve been working so hard to get open that somehow these little things are just astounding in their magnitude when you have a brief pause to reflect on them.  The team on the ground is working just as tirelessly to bring this place to life from front and back of house. The goal is to exude that Genuine Culture we know and love at home.

Originating in Miami, where we have now for casual pizza restaurants, the idea is about on honest ingredients, creative toppings combinations, and a thoughtful experience from dough to table.  Genuine Pizza Atlanta looks like the fraternal twin of Aventura, with a menu anchored by 12 hand-formed pizzas featuring a tender, quick-fired crust and snacks, soups, salads, entrées and dessert to make a meal around it. The restaurant also offers a list of wines that work great with food, as well as Atlanta craft beers. Signature items include Short Rib Pizza; Polenta Fries with spicy ketchup; Warm Brussels Sprouts and Burrata; and Chocolate Chunk Cookie, warmed in the oven to order. Every day there is a Daily pizza special and a soup of the day.

“We are passionate about our favorite food and can’t wait to bring our genuine approach to the Atlanta community,” says Michael Schwartz. “We’re introducing classic dishes from our flagship location while embracing our new Atlanta community as we fold in seasonal offerings, local beer selections and gluten-free options.”

Genuine Pizza is located at 3500 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30326 in Phipps Plaza and opens with lunch and dinner beginning Friday.  Hours of operation are Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., Friday to Saturday 11 – 12 a.m., and Sunday 12 – 10 p.m.  Reservations are not necessary. Phipps Plaza offers plenty of complimentary outdoor as well as covered parking, and valet. Takeout will be available with online ordering at genuinepizza.com, and Genuine fans can also give the gift of pizza with electronic gift cards, now available for purchase as well on the website. Follow the new location and join the conversation @genuinepizza and #genuinepizza on Instagram, where the team has been actively sharing stories as we count down.Genuine Pizza is family-friendly and can seat 64 inside, including 7 seats at the counter and 6 at the pizza bar. Outdoor dining for 36 is available weather permitting with heaters. The space also offers a private dining room for 6-8 guests – perfect for business lunches and intimate gatherings – that can be reserved by calling (470) 481-3883.

Amara is Fired Up for a Proper Argentine Feast at South Beach Wine & Food Festival

Food in Argentina is not just a piece of meat.  And TGHG executive chef Bradley Herron along with Michael, Tamara, Director of Ops Eric Larkee and Amara at Paraiso executive chef Michael Paley had to wait until the last stop of their menu R&D trip to Buenos Aires this summer to find out at Proper Restaurant.

“They were the ones doing the fresh approach,” Brad explains of the Argentine capital’s brightest chefs. “No one else was doing it at the couple of newer places we visited.  We missed the vegetables, and it was one the the last meals we had. The one that almost got away.”

Now while Amara’s food is not exactly Argentine, nor meant to represent fully the traditional cuisines of Latin America, it is informed by the flavors and the techniques that make them unique.  This decidedly Schwartzian approach to what is largely known as a meat-centric culture felt familiar and exactly the inspiration — or connection — they didn’t even know they were looking for.  It was the last thing the team would have expected to encounter in this journey — which is precisely what journeys are for.

Now, of course to miss the meat would also be to miss the point of traveling to Argentina in the first place.  And there was plenty to be enjoyed, and it too came with discoveries to be made, especially in how beef is processed and butchered, and how this can affect what’s on a menu.  “Beef is processed for efficiency in America, cut in half and hung. There they get the whole animal and so cut a little bit differently and can get better steaks,” Brad continues.  “They have access to certain things from certain places that you just don’t see in the US. Things in our kitchens would just go into the wood chipper for burgers, which is delicious, sure, but we don’t benefit from access to the full muscles, to pull them apart and find the special places that can be featured in a dish.”

If there was an iconic cut of the Argentine menu it would be ribeye, and so at Amara there will be one that eats like it’s not the grass-fed you may have tried and sent back.  Read about that in our post on Joyce Farms. “If they had a big steak on the menu, that’s what they had,” Brad remembers. “We like ribeye, too.  It’s our favorite steak with the right amount of fat to meat ratio.”

Joyce Farms ribeye on the wood grill at Amara.

Michael and the team were so fired up about the eye-opening experience and simpatico team they met at Proper Restaurant that they had to share it with Miami in person. Huge thanks to Lee Schrager for getting on board, as well as our sponsors Esprit Du Vin Fine Wine Merchants. Join us South Beach Wine & Food Festival on Saturday, February 24 at 7 p.m.  Inspired by experiences in their travels to develop Amara’s menu, Chef and Amara executive chef Michael Paley will collaborate on a menu celebrating a new bright and fresh approach to traditional South American flavors and ingredients with Augusto Mayer and Samuel Alex Fitzgerald of the much buzzed about Buenos Aires-based eatery Proper.  $250 (gratuity included, tax is not) includes a waterfront reception with the chefs putting out snacks off the wood grill at sunset, followed by a three course dinner including dessert and paired wines from the Esprit du Vin Fine Wine Merchants portfolio, in the heart of downtown Miami. Click here for tickets and check out the menu here first!

Reception on the Beach Terrace
Grill Items: 4  items
Proper 1 – Provleta cheese with pickled dates and roasted onion and peppers
Proper 2 – Lamb cutlets with roasted eggplant and chermoula
Amara 1 – Amara Chorizo: Red, Verde, Seafood with mother sauces
Amara 2 – Grilled Oysters, farofa, vinaigrette

Dinner
First Course: Amara
Local Flounder Tartare, blood orange aguachile, radish, toasted pumpkin seed

Second Course: Proper
Dish 1 – preserved olives with roasted haricot vert
Dish 2 – Grilled calamari with broccoli and fermented bean aioli
Dish 3 – leek with pea purée fried garlic and pecorino
Third Course: Amara
Grilled Joyce Farms Grass Fed Ribeye, bone marrow, domingo rojo beans, malibar spinach, preserved sour orange

Dessert: Proper & Amara (alternating)
Proper- Flan of dulce de leche with soft cream
Amara- Ginger Guava Mille Feuille

It’s Even Better in The Bahamas with Fi’lia by Michael Schwartz

Traveling to The Bahamas just got a whole lot tastier!  Fi’lia by Michael Schwartz opens today just a 42 minute pond jump away on Nassau.  Located on the Baha Mar property in the main casino floor just steps from SLS Baha Mar, the new 299-room hotel our partners at sbe opened last month, this is the restaurant’s first international outpost and second location after opening at SLS Brickell in Miami last year.

The “Mistaken” (a Negroni Spagliato) is a spritz twist on the classic aperitivo that swaps gin for prosecco.

Chef, Bradley, Eric and I were down last week as part of the last wave of visits and some yet-to-depart implants collectively known as “task force”.  This system in place to support Fi’lia’s opening team from start to finish line — think part placenta, part brain trust — involves an orchestra of players from sbe and The Genuine Hospitality group with expertise in front and back of house. On our agenda was mock service, tastings, final menu formatting, food and spacial shoots, and fine tuning the dining room for lighting and sound.  Where the bulk of the important foundational work occurs gradually over a period of months tracked methodically through a “critical path” spreadsheet and meetings to check in on progress, the 11th hour is a critical stage in the process visible even to the untrained eye where everything comes into sharp focus.

The idea is to make sure there is enough institutional knowledge and depth on the ground to have the resources required to handle anything thrown the restaurant’s way. This is an all-hands-on-deck troubleshooting and brain-stretching exercise, where you have planned for everything especially the things you can’t control.  From menu covers stuck in LA to cocktail tags printed from the only Miami vendor that was open and able the week before the holiday to mule with cookbooks in checked luggage, it ain’t always pretty… but this is what openings are all about and why we love what we do.  And then you have a restaurant!

The host with the most.

“The hospitality on island has been second to none, and we are fortunate to have a hard working team that is digging in with a smile in the true Bahamian spirit,” says Chef.  “We can’t wait to share with guests the same incredible welcome we’ve experienced here in The Bahamas!”

We have a particular soft spot for a familiar face — Fi’lia’s Executive Chef Thomas Tennant — veteran of the TGHG culinary family who comes with Caribbean seasoning from his time on Grand Cayman as chef de cuisine of Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink.  Later leading menu implementation, working with international staff and honing his talent for “fixing” provisions from the lower decks with Royal Caribbean, Thomas earned the TGHG title of “Special Ops Chef” for a reason and those skills will no doubt serve him here.

Fi’lia is inspired by the simplicity of Italian cuisine, featuring a menu of straightforward dishes that highlight fresh, seasonal ingredients, housemade pasta and memorable signatures like the Tableside Caesar Salads.  Like Miami, Fi’lia’s dinner menu features Small, Large and Extra Large plates alongside Snacks, Sides, Pasta and Pizza. To start, Beef Carpaccio is Chef Schwartz’s twist on the classic featuring sunchoke, green onion pecorino and mustard vinaigrette, while the Extra Large Grilled Whole Snapper features tomato, Calabrian chile, mint and grilled bread. Rustic pizzas are served with creative topping combinations like Pistachio Pesto with ricotta, charred onion and pecorino.

The Tableside Caesar is prepared from scratch from dressing to grated parmigiano finish on a roaming cart, dispatching delicious smells of toasted garlic croutons in the dining room as it passes. Cocktails are refreshingly uncomplicated with specialties including a section of Spritz. With a focused wine list, Fi’lia celebrates Italian, regional varietals and American wines with an old world sensibility.

Located at One Baha Mar Blvd, Nassau, The Bahamas at Baha Mar Casino, Fi’lia is open Monday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. serving lunch and dinner. For reservations and menus, please visit filiarestaurant.com or call 242-788-8212.  As part of sbe’s larger movement to bring signature specialties in innovative cuisine and dynamic nightlife to The Bahamas, the group also operates Cleo, Monkey Bar (the signature SLS lobby bar) and Bungalow Pool Bar & Grill at SLS Baha Mar, with Privilege and Skybar coming in early 2018. Additionally, Katsuya (sbe’s modern take on classic Japanese cuisine) opened in mid-August on the Baha Mar Casino floor, and Bond, sbe’s nightlife concept, is debuting December 29th, offering late-night entertainment as the destination’s see-and-be-seen place to be.

Genuine Pizza™ Opens at Aventura Mall on Tuesday, December 5

The first location of Chef’s casual pizza restaurant is opening just in time for Art Basel and the holiday season, ready to feed hungry shoppers of all kinds!  Genuine Pizza (formerly known as Harry’s Pizzeria) is located in the lower level, exterior of Aventura Mall’s newly opened expansion wing.  It’s been a long time coming and so exciting to experience the finishing touches as they unfold on the new restaurant design, as well as training with front and back of house teams.  We are passionate about our favorite food!

The evolved concept’s interior by Miami-based craft and construction firm McKenzie features light woods and simple accents like custom yellow and grey Cuban tile, orange chairs, and the yellow-tiled Marra Forni oven. The environment invites guests to experience the attention to detail first hand, at a pizza bar fronting the open kitchen and a glass-faced active dough room at the entrance where the recipe is mixed, kneaded and proofed daily.

Outdoor seating is flanked by garden planters and fronted by two distinct, dramatic works of art: Aventura Slide Tower – a 93-foot tall sculpture by German artist Carsten Höller that visitors will be able to slide down and Gorillas in the Mist – a whimsical fountain by The Haas Brothers comprised of three large-scale bronze gorillas and four massive bronze trees.

“Honest ingredients, chef-inspired combinations and a thoughtful process is what Genuine Pizza is all about. We are truly passionate about our favorite food,” says Schwartz. “We are so excited to connect with a new community to the north and thrilled to be able to add better pizza and warm genuine hospitality to the offerings in our new home.”

In an effort to always improve upon the quality and consistency of the pizza, Schwartz and The Genuine Hospitality Group executive chef Bradley Herron are working again with Marra Forni’s Rotator Oven. With its rotating deck of pure cut Italian stone, the oven retains and conducts consistent heat to bake pies evenly and quickly. While also serving as an active and beautiful focal point for the main dining room with its canary yellow tiles in the open oven station, the new hearth is calibrated specifically for the chef’s unique dough recipe.

The core menu including Snacks, Salads, Daily Entrées, 11 Quick-Fired Pizzas, the option of gluten-free crust, and Dessert. Genuine Pizza carefully selects the ingredients it uses, like Niman Ranch for all of its meats. For beverages, Genuine Pizza offers creative wine and beer selections, along with great local brands including Panther Coffee and JoJo Tea. A daily pie and soup special keep things unique for each visit. Fans can now give the gift of better pizza with electronic gift cards, available for purchase at genuinepizza.com – choose your denomination and send through email or phone.

Aventura Mall offers complimentary garage parking adjacent to the expansion wing, as well as valet. Seating is 77 inside at tables and banquettes in the main dining room, 20 at the counter and pizza bar, and 28 outside.  Genuine Pizza launches with lunch and dinner Sunday to Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 12 a.m. – no reservations necessary. Takeout with online ordering at genuinepizza.com will be available. To reach the restaurant, call (786) 472-9170 or email aventura@genuinepizza.com. Follow the new location and join the conversation @genuinepizza and #genuinepizza on Instagram.  When the restaurant opens on Tuesday, visit genuinepizza.com to access full menus, social media, sign up for e-newsletter for updates on upcoming openings like Atlanta (December) at Phipps Plaza.

The slide to scale all slides, in our front yard!

Genuine Pizza is thoughtfully-made, a place to enjoy a great meal with great people and without pretense. Genuine Pizza is about consideration of every detail of the dining experience, from the careful selection of ingredients, to the choices made in crafting dishes and the space in which you enjoy them. Being “genuine” is about making the experience better, not embellished – making food and crafting an environment that people feel good about and want to return to. The seed of Genuine Pizza is Harry’s Pizzeria®, first opened by Chef Michael Schwartz in 2011 and now with three South Florida locations. With inspiration from his flagship Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink, Harry’s became a fixture of the Miami dining scene and nationally-recognized pizza hotspot, named one of Food & Wine magazine’s 25 Best Pizzerias in the U.S. An evolution of the best of the original, Genuine Pizza celebrates its beloved, flagship menu anchored by 11 hand-formed pizzas featuring a tender, quick-fired crust with integrity, as well as a gluten-free option. At the table, the experience is complete with warm service and a wholesome dishes to make a meal, including snacks, colorful salads, daily specials and dessert. From the sidewalk to the dining room, the restaurant buzzes with friends and family hanging out over craft beer, a creative wine list and great music.

Aventura Mall features a collection of upscale boutiques, including Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Fendi, Givenchy, Burberry and more, as well as more than 300 shopper favorites such as Zara, Topshop Topman, Apple, Anthropologie, H&M and Urban Outfitters. Visitors also enjoy nearly a dozen restaurants and a taste of South Florida’s thriving cultural scene with Arts Aventura Mall, featuring contemporary installations by renowned international and local artists. Aventura Mall is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Sunday, 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Call (305) 935-1110 or visit online at www.aventuramall.com.