As Miami Spice sizzles through September 30th, the Magic City dazzles as a beacon for culinary enthusiasts. And while the festival shines a light on the city’s gastronomic prowess, we’re inviting foodies to go beyond and immerse themselves in Aventura Mall’s culinary tapestry. More than just a culture and style haven, the mall is a repository of gastronomic tales — where every corner narrates a story, and every dish encapsulates a journey. Today, we’re uncovering the tales behind the tastes, serving up a delectable mix of insights from our resident chefs and restaurant insiders. Join us as we spotlight the inspirations and dedicated personalities that shape our dynamic dining destination.
Toku, helmed by the multifaceted Executive Chef Kyle Kingrey, presents a menu rich with his global culinary experiences. From the rustic farm life of North Carolina to bustling locales like New York and the Philippines, Kingrey’s roots are vividly reflected in Toku’s offerings. Favorites like the crispy rice with spicy tuna and the show-stopping Peking Duck, carved in the open kitchen, are a testament to both his heritage and his skill.
The ambiance at Toku is lighthearted and genuine, embracing the joy of shared meals. Kingrey firmly believes in the bond of “breaking bread together,” turning dining into a treasured social affair. Newcomers are invited to savor crispy rice, delectable dumplings, and the must-have Peking Duck. While craft cocktails delight many, Kingrey’s penchant for sake ensures a harmonious pairing with any meal…and Toku’s servers are ready to walk you through the extensive sake menu anytime.
At the helm of Serafina, General Manager Tom Isabella cherishes the brand’s essence, embodying the quintessential Italian joy of sharing. For Tom and his team, Serafina is more than just a dining destination; it’s a haven where guests are invited to partake in Italy’s rich culinary traditions, seamlessly merged with Miami’s vibrant gastronomic scene.
With sun-dappled memories of Italy’s famed terraces, Serafina curates a menu that sings with heartfelt stories. The Risotto Al Tartufo Nero, with its intoxicating blend of truffle and velvety arborio rice, stems from a cherished childhood memory of one of their chefs. It stands as a testament to the warm embraces and laughter-filled kitchens that define Italian households.
But Serafina’s menu isn’t just steeped in tradition; it’s also a nod to the cosmopolitan clientele of Miami. The restaurant’s offerings are tailored to incorporate classic Italian flavors, making them more approachable for a diverse mix of diners. The kitchen also continually challenges itself, sourcing the freshest seasonal vegetables, prime cuts of steak and veal, and locally caught seafood, ensuring guests savor exceptional dishes with each visit.
For first-time visitors, Tom recommends the Tartufo Nero Pizza. Drizzled with truffle-infused oil and adorned with a medley of fontina, robiola, and truffle cheese, it captures the very spirit of Serafina – a blend of luxury and authenticity. Another signature experience awaits with the Cacio E Pepe. A dance of bucatini pasta with a delicate cheese and cream sauce, it’s prepared tableside, creating an interactive culinary moment. It’s more than a meal; it’s an intimate introduction to Italy’s traditional dishes, and a chance to engage with Serafina’s passionate culinary artisans.
When you step into Motek, prepare to be immersed in the vibrant energy and communal spirit of Mediterranean dining. Here, your table will be laden with an array of plates both big and small, all meant for sharing with those around you. You’ll find authentic, Mediterranean dishes on the menu, such as falafel, hummus, shawarma, and malawach, all made with the freshest local ingredients.
Owners Tessa and Charlie have intertwined family memories, traditions, and contemporary flairs into every facet of Motek. Charlie’s cherished memories of his grandmother, who effortlessly fused flavors from Lebanon, Morocco, and Yemen, are imprinted upon the menu. Her legacy is alive in dishes like the Shakshuka, which, while reminiscent of the old world, offers a nod to the new with customizable egg temperatures, exemplifying Motek’s intent to be a culinary bridge between cultures.
But it’s not just the delectable Mediterranean food in Miami that has people raving about Motek. This two-time winner of the SOBEWFF Burger Bash peoples’ choice for ‘Best Burger’ in Miami boasts a one-of-a-kind Lebanese-style Arayes burger. Made with a mouthwatering combination of lamb and beef nestled inside a freshly baked pita and grilled to perfection, this burger is a must-try for any food lover. Take it from us, you’ll be back for this addicting sandwich as often as you can.
Miami’s vibrant dining tapestry is beautifully complemented by the distinct flavor of Pubbelly Sushi. Here, Chef Jose Mendin, an artist of taste, interweaves the deep-rooted culinary ethos of his Puerto Rican upbringing with the international allure of sushi. Moving to Miami for culinary school in 1998, Mendin didn’t just find a city; he discovered a home. His island roots effortlessly fuse with Miami’s eclectic rhythms, birthing a menu that mirrors the city’s rich cultural mosaic.
Upon stepping into Pubbelly Sushi, an energizing mix of liveliness and warmth greets every guest. It’s not just about dining; it’s a culinary journey where anticipation for the next bite keeps you on the edge of your seat. The crowd-favorite Butter Krab Roll is a testament to Mendin’s innovative prowess, offering a burst of flavors that define the very ethos of Pubbelly Sushi. Yet, for newcomers, he offers a curated list of must-try menu items that encapsulate the essence of his culinary journey: Shishito Peppers, Tostones con Ceviche, Short Rib Dumplings, Hamachi Poblano, the iconic Butter Krab Roll, Rock Shrimp Roll, Octopus Robata, Robata Corn, all culminating with the chocolate Miso Bread Pudding for a sweet finish.
Mendin’s passion for cooking is rooted in more than just flavor. “I love making people feel happy,” he shares, indicating a depth in his culinary pursuits anchored in emotion and experience. This philosophy is evident when he crafts dishes – he isn’t merely cooking; he’s creating memories. “I cook for people to remember me,” Mendin reveals, ensuring that every dish is brimming with flavor. He holds a special affinity for the PB Kimchee Fried Rice, a dish he painstakingly crafted to achieve the epitome of taste. “When I created it, I aimed for perfection, infusing elements to make it as delicious as possible. I believe I succeeded,” Mendin adds with humble pride.
Immersing yourself in Miami’s bustling food scene, you’d be remiss not to indulge in the authentic Peruvian experience offered by CVI.CHE 105. At the helm is Chef Juan Chipoco, a Peruvian native who brings the culinary richness of his homeland right to the heart of South Florida. Chef Chipoco’s love for his culture and its gastronomic legacy is the driving force behind every dish he crafts. With Miami’s pristine beaches, vibrant lifestyle, and incredible people, it provided the perfect backdrop for his culinary aspirations.
Dining at CVI.CHE 105 is akin to embarking on a flavorful voyage through Peru. The most sought-after dish, Chucuito 105, is a testament to this journey — a plate brimming with fresh seafood, tailor-made for sharing. But there’s more to discover for those who venture. The menu, as Chef Chipoco suggests, offers signature dishes that resonate with Peru’s culinary heritage. Start with the Ceviche Ganador or Pulpo Herradura; they’re classics for a reason. For the main course, venture into the comforting embrace of a Parihuela Amelcochada or a Tacu Tacu Marisquero. And as every great meal should conclude on a high, the Trilogía Peruana is a dessert ensemble that’s bound to leave a lingering sweet note. And of course, in Chef Chipoco’s words, “Don’t forget the coffee!”
Beyond the plates, what sets CVI.CHE 105 apart is its ambiance. Described as “magical” by Chef Chipoco, the restaurant buzzes with energy from its passionate team, ensuring every guest feels the enchanting fusion of mesmerizing presentations and explosive flavors. This devotion to service and quality is palpable, from the chefs meticulously monitoring every sauce and ingredient to the waiting staff ready to recommend off-menu specialties — delicious creations conceived weekly in collaboration with the head chefs.
What truly underpins Chef Chipoco’s culinary journey is his philosophy: Passion above all. For him, cooking surpasses the mere act of combining ingredients; it’s a labor of love, a reflection of his deep-seated respect for Peru’s culinary traditions. And this ethos shines brightest when he crafts his favorite dish, the ceviche. Its simplicity, flavor, and nostalgic essence make it a dish close to his heart, reminiscent of how his culinary adventure began. With every bite at CVI.CHE 105, you’re not just tasting food; you’re experiencing Chef Chipoco’s passion, legacy, and memories.
In the heart of Mexico City, Corporate Chef Luis Zavala’s culinary journey began, leading him to Milan and finally Miami, where Divieto was born. Evoking the allure of 1920s New York, Divieto blends modernity with nostalgic vibes of the prohibition and the fusion of Italian-American flavors.
For first-timers, Luis recommends the Antipasto Misto, a rich platter of Italian delicacies, followed by the theatrical Ruota di Parmigiano. Concluding the experience, classic Tiramisu pairs perfectly with their popular Lychee martini. Among Divieto’s varied dishes, the Mascarpone pasta and Chicken Madeira hold a special place in Luis’s heart for their unique taste and texture.
At the core of Divieto and Luis’s craft is a philosophy: every dish is prepared with the warmth and care of a family meal, ensuring each visit becomes a cherished memory.
Upon entering Tap 42, you’re immediately enveloped by contemporary vibes that strike a balance between modern flair and homelike warmth. This establishment, championed by Partner Alex Rudolph and brought to life with the culinary genius of Partner and Executive Chef Andrew Balick, serves not just food but experiences. Every dish, whether it’s the Truffle Street Corn Guacamole inspired by the urban charm of street food or the sun-kissed calamari, reminiscent of Thailand’s shores, has a tale curated by this dynamic duo. The Drunken Goat Burger stands out, with its raspberry beer jam hinting at Alex’s adventurous palate, showcasing beer’s versatility beyond the pint.
However, Tap 42 offers more than just a menu; it provides an ambiance where patrons can unwind and truly relish their meals. As you enjoy our exquisite offerings, your gaze will be drawn to the restaurant’s panoramic view of Aventura Mall’s bustling outdoor courtyard, complemented by captivating art pieces throughout the space. This combination of flavors, sights, and artistic touches elevates your dining experience to a new level of enjoyment.
Bella Luna envelopes its visitors with delicious aromas and an ambiance that immediately transports them to a realm of refinement and culinary precision. The magic behind these delectable Italian dishes is the result of dedication, passion, and a hint of the Honduran spirit infused by Head Chef Juan Carlos Sanchez.
His culinary journey, inspired by master chefs he once worked under, is a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship visible in every dish at Bella Luna. Chef Sanchez’s philosophy is simple yet profound: patience. He believes that crafting the perfect dish requires time coupled with the finest ingredients. Monitoring his creations to ensure perfection, Sanchez emphasizes the use of fresh, high-quality ingredients, laying the foundation for an exquisite meal. When asked about his favorite dish, he instantly praises the virtues of the Rib Eye – a “succulent piece of meat” loved not just for its taste, but for the artful technique involved in its preparation. Chef Sanchez’s favorite dessert, the rich and creamy Pistachio Cheesecake, is a testament to his prowess, making it a signature creation from the Bella Luna kitchen.
Incorporating heartfelt tales with culinary expertise, Aventura Mall’s dining spots don’t merely offer meals. They present sagas, memories, and traditions. Each culinary experience is not just a sensory delight but an embrace for the soul. We invite you to dine and discover with us any day of the week!