Amara at Paraiso Opens for Lunch, Monday September 24

Next week there are more bay views to bask in — or breeze by — during the workday, at Miami’s quintessential waterfront restaurant by chef Michael Schwartz.  Amara at Paraiso opens for lunch beginning Monday, September 24 with executive chef Michael Paley’s a la carte menu.  All new items to enjoy include Starters, Sandwiches (served with choice of crispy chimichurri potatoes or farm greens), Salads & Bowls (to which grilled chicken, grilled fish or shrimp and chorizo can be added), and Entrées. Favorites from dinner make an appearance, like Snacks including craveable Yuca Cheese Puffs, the restaurant’s two varieties of housemade Empanadas — Short Rib, as well as Corn & Leek, Raw Bar mainstays like Ceviche, fresh, locally-caught Tuna Tartare in changing preparations, Chilled Shrimp, and Oysters — and a medley Platter to make it special.

Housemade masa crackers for the Avocado Bowl, a starter with buttermilk curds, fresh herbs, and lime.

Amara’s “Three Course”, a prix fixe lunch option for $28 lets you pass the brighter hours as expeditiously or leisurely as your spectrum desires whether for a smart business lunch or dining to get to the next appointment on time.  Begin with choice of Yuca Cheese Puffs, Smoked Fish Dip, or Ceviche, followed by main dish of Grilled Market Fish, Chochoyotes — hearty masa dumplings in broth (vegetarian), or the Concha Especial sandwich, and finish with Dulce Flan or Chocolate Torte.

Click here for the full opening menu.

Work and life hangs so delicately in the balance. Let Amara tip your scales. The new service runs Monday through Saturday from 11:30am-3pm and highlights the bold Latin American flavors, coastal ingredients, and South Florida’s diversity of food culture established at the restaurant’s lively happy hour, dinner and brunch. Miami’s quintessential waterfront restaurant captures the dynamic energy, local ingredients, and natural beauty of Biscayne Bay that defines what living in Miami is all about from environment to cuisine to vibe.  Amara at Paraiso is located at 3101 NE 7th Ave, Miami, FL 33137.  For reservations call 305.702.5528, email reservations@amaraatparaiso.com or visit Open Table (walk-ins welcome). For all hours and menus visit amaraatparaiso.com and follow the restaurant on Instagram and Facebook.

Summer Sizzles at Amara at Paraiso with New Happy Hour, Outdoor Bar & Miami Spice

Celebrate Miami’s most vibrant season with new ways to relax, enjoy and savor it on the waterfront all summer long at Amara.

Mezcal Colada puts the pineapple in the coconut and then some!

Happy Hour – Beginning Monday, July 2, the Amara bar and beach get even more welcoming with our first ever Happy Hour from 5:30-7:30pm Monday through Friday. Enjoy the best restaurant view in Miami for a little bit longer with Assistant GM Maria Pottage’s 4 new $10 classic cocktails with a tropical twist, half price oysters and snacks from Chef Michael Paley, $4 Cusqueña premium Peruvian lager beer and half price wines by the glass. Stand outs include poppable, craveable specialty, the infamous Yuca Cheese Puffs, as well as new Albondigas meatballs, White Ayocote Bean Spread with green garbanzo, chimi spice, lemon crème fraîche, seeded cracker, and rotating select oysters.  View full menu here.

Bartender Angelo, shaking things up.

Waterfront Bar – Gather by Biscayne Bay to eat, or simply sip on something refreshing. The Amara Beach’s new satellite bar offers a place for guests to order drinks outside, Friday and Saturday from 6pm – 12am.  Enjoy on its beachfront chairs or plush lounge area couches without having to dine in or wait for a reservation. Notable beverages being served include a selection of wine, beer and cocktails including Calm before the Coconut, Tulum Spritz, Pisco Punch, Dreaming of Oaxaca and Monkey Business. Happy hour is available on Friday with its specific cocktails and beverage offering until 7:30pm.

Arroz Verde is a South American twist on the familiar Korean rice dish — a delectable comfort food full of flavor and fun to mix at the table.

Charred Carrot & Avocado salad with goat cheese, cilantro toasted pumpkin seeds, one of Chef Paley’s appetizers, is a tasty Spice route with which to lead.

Miami Spice – Participating for the first time this August 1 – September 30, Amara is taking Miami’s restaurant week seriously (delicious) with new menu items in a weekly-changing $39 three-course prix fixe dinner menu. Served Sunday through Thursday, Paley’s most notably new dish out of the gate is the show-stopping Arroz Verde, a South American take on the Bim Bim Bop, cilantro rice served sizzling in a stone bowl with toppings to mix up like wood-grilled hen of the woods, earthy mushrooms, cubes of cucumber, shaved carrots, avocado, shaved jalapeño, pickled red onion, shredded kale, cascabel chile paste and creamy egg yolk.  Click here for the beginning menu.

All menus are subject to (welcomed!) change. For more information on summer activities including Fourth of July celebration, please visit our website and to stay on top of changing menu items, follow Amara at Paraiso on Instagram.

It Takes Two to Tango the Amara Beverage Book — Part II: Wine

“Because at the end of the night, she says ‘Champagne?'”

It’s happy hour at Michael’s Genuine® a few weeks back, and Amara’s Sommelier Amanda Fraga has placed one of her favorite sparkling wines, Roederer Estate, in front of colleague Maria Pottage.

Flute-free Zone: Fraga holding court if only for a Happy Hour at her old stomping grounds, Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink.

“People say Champagne all day, but let’s be honest, it’s going to get expensive when you’re the one paying for it!,” she jokes.  “It’s tough to have a favorite, because it’s like talking about kids, but this is one of my favorite sparkling wines. Roederer does an amazing job, and I can afford to have multiple bottles.  It may not be French, but it’s Champagne method, not bubble injections.”

We’re continuing our deep dive into the Amara Beverage Book, having transitioned from cocktails to something even more festive with Fraga as our guide.  She sees every glass of wine like traveling and visiting a new place.   When your new place is a new restaurant with a new menu, the journeys are endless in building a wine list.  The process of discovery is winding, sometimes hidden from view.

“Because of Amara’s cuisine, I felt slightly out of my comfort zone,” Fraga explains. “The culinary team was going to Buenos Aires for their research trip, and I’m thinking, this is one if the countries I drank the least of!”

Sommelier Amanda Fraga with her rosé, which happens to be ON-TAP (!)

It was at this point that she remembered who she worked for.  The Genuine Hospitality Group wasn’t an ordinary restaurant group with a literal approach. There was room for interpretation.  Sure there would be Malbec…  There had to be and should be, but not 30, with some Cabs to round it out.

“I feel like everyone thinks Latin American wines are only from Chile and Argentina,” she continues. “The idea was to have the coolest wines from Latin America at large and to not forget our roots of fresh and genuine. There is so much diversity in what’s growing and being produced from South to Central America. You have more familiar grapes like Pinot Noir, Albarino and Tempranillo, juxtaposed with Tennat, Listan Negro (the mission grape) and el Pais. It’s the perfect storm.”

Fraga’s passion for education comes from a visceral place, stemming from a drive to expand her own wine knowledge through experience, travel being one of the most salient — a potent source for inspiration that sticks.  As she sees, relating those experiences to her staff is one of her most important jobs in training — the story behind the bottle that leaves an impression.  Her innovative approach to training is predicated on a consistent curriculum and engaging the staff through “Wine Wednesday” trainings on various topics including the importance of backstory and context in wine not just the taste profiles.  They’re catalogued, little nuggets of wine knowledge framed by a narrative on who made the wine and where it came from, on the restaurant’s Instagram at #amarabeveragebook.  It’s something she developed as sommelier of Michael’s Genuine & Beverage Manager for The Genuine Hospitality Group, a useful tool grounding her training process.

Traditional, funky Prosecco, the first Wine Wednesday post at Amara. She explains, “Delicate. nice acid. good fruit. It’s not the Prosecco you know but if you’re a lover of Italy and have an open mind and heart you’re going to love it.”

Balanced with her knowledge of what our guests enjoy drinking guiding balanced by a compass pointing south, the list netted out 35% Latin America, which although not a majority is a focus on which to build, and more than Fraga has ever worked with before.  In 2015 she participated in a competition among Miami sommeliers to build the best wine bar, counter tops and all, hosted by Wines of Chile.  Although Amara was a faint glimmer in her glass and Director of Licensing Operations Eric Larkee’s team poured victorious, she reflects now on this intensive, apt primer that opened her eyes to what was out there.

“I realized the incredible variation even Chile has in itself,” she continues. “Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Malbec , Pinot Noir… There’s so much and the great thing now even three years later is that there is much more being imported in the US.”

It’s at this point I realize something, too.  I’m actually enjoying the Verdejo she’s chosen for me, and this is exactly the point.  The only way you truly know something and understand it is through exposure.  Repeated exposure to new things, even when you think they’re the old thing.  The old thing can surprise you.

“I never had it before [Michael’s Genuine® sommelier] Dean put it on the list,” she recounts.  “I kind of wanted to give you something fun and different, and I feel like you appreciate these things. It’s fun to smell a wine and not automatically be able to guess it but know that it sure does remind you of something.  You try to point to where you had it before.  So we are playing this game now… I know you wanted something white and now we have something that piqued your interest, and curiosity, too.”

For herself, Amanda is settling into the Jean Claude Boisset
, a sparkling rosé from Burgundy Dean has had by the glass for about a month now that she’s wanted to try.  She wanted something light and refreshing and had given Maria the Roederer already.

“I’m pretty sure it’s Chardonnay-Pinot Noir…” she thinks out loud.  Familiar yet at the same time foreign.  Herein lies the balance that creates the magnetism of intrigue, stirring curiosity just enough.  The game continues.

Preshift on Biscayne Bay, the place where it all comes together.