Culture. Style. Taste.
 
Culture. Style. Taste.

Get A Taste of SOBEWFF At Aventura Mall

SOBEWFF At Aventura Mall

February is chock full of sweet treats and we just can’t get enough! From Sunday’s big game, which gifted us that dazzling halftime performance by Rihanna, to Valentine’s Day at the best mall in Miami, and now the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival next week, we’ve pretty much got it all this month!

Now in its 22nd year, the SOBEWFF continues to grace the sandy shores of Miami Beach with the culinary industry’s cream of the crop. However, you don’t actually have to brave I-95 and travel that far for a taste of the best food in Miami. In fact, you might recognize some of the festival’s biggest stars who have intentionally launched their dining outposts here at Aventura Mall, including Motek and Yalla Motek: YIP, Mark Rosati’s Shake Shack, Julio Bertoni’s Quore Gelato, Ammiel Manevich’s Amazonica, Jose Mendín’s Pubbelly Sushi, and many more.

In true SOBEWFF spirit, our goal is to eat, drink, and educate, so we took it upon ourselves to connect you directly with the all-star chefs and restauranteurs at the award-winning Motek, Pubbelly Sushi, and Serafina restaurants right here at Aventura Mall.

MOTEK CAFÉ & YALLA MOTEK

Motek Café and Yalla Motek are a Mediterranean restaurant/eatery duo. Motek first debuted in Downtown Miami back in June 2020 and soon after opened its doors in the best mall in Miami: Aventura Mall. Without further ado, let’s grab a seat at owner Tessa Levy’s table and see what she has to say:

Q: What is your signature dish?
A: The Arayes Burger, our award-winning Lebanese burger that went viral last year after winning SOBEWFF Burger Bash peoples’ choice ‘Best Burger’ in Miami! The Lebanese-style Arayes burger is made with lamb and beef, tucked inside a freshly baked pita, and grilled to perfection. We are gearing up to compete in Burger Bash again in just a few days!

Q: What is your favorite emerging food and beverage trend?
A: It would have to be Arak: a Levantine spirit made from anise seeds. It is a classic way to top off a meal at Motek. For foods…we feel as though modern Israeli food has become an emerging trend in Miami lately. There have been so many modern Israeli restaurants opening in the city over the last few years and we are so proud to be a part of it.

Q: If you could host any celebrity chef at your restaurant, who would it be and why?
A: It would be our great honor to host chef Musa Dagdeviren, owner of Çiya Sofrasi and Ciya Kebap at Motek. Musa Dagdeviren was featured on Netflix’ Chef’s Table Season 5, and we had the great privilege of visiting Istanbul last year, ultimately going to his restaurant. His food truly speaks our language!

Q: Are there any menu items that are exclusive to your Aventura Mall location?
A: Our menu at Aventura Mall has a lot of exclusive items that our downtown Miami location does not. For example, we have a delicious branzino, a delicious European bass that is primarily native to the waters off Europe’s western and southern and Africa’s northern coasts.

Q: What is the most TikTok-worthy dish on your menu?
A: We are known for our Arayes Burger, but we have also gone viral on Instagram and TikTok for our Shakshuka, which is a traditional middle eastern breakfast dish made with poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce. We serve ours with freshly baked challah, and it has become quite a social media sensation.

Q: Excluding Motek, what is your favorite place to grab a bite or beverage at Aventura Mall?
A: Our favorite place to grab a bite would probably be our Yalla Motek neighbor at Treats Food Jall, JRK! We love it! Their food is so authentic and fresh, and we really savor the bold flavors.

Q: What Aventura Mall art piece best matches the vibe of your restaurant?
A: We love the Gorillas in the Mist fountain by the Haas Brothers. Our restaurant’s outdoor seating spreads along this area outdoors next to the playful fountains and our customers love to sit out there and watch their kids play with the water while the adults are able to enjoy their lunch at Motek. Gorillas in the Mist really represents happiness and freedom, and when the kids are playing while the adults are eating, everyone is just able to enjoy the moment.

PUBBELLY SUSHI

If you’re a foodie, you’ve likely heard of our good friend, Jose Mendín. Hailing from Puerto Rico, Mendín started cooking in 1997 and opened his first restaurant in 2010—Does the name Pubbelly Sushi ring a bell? Well, it should, because Mendín is the genius behind the award-winning Pubbelly Restaurant Group, which dominates the flavorful fusion between sushi taverns and gastropubs. Adding to his accomplishments, Mendín is a five-time James Beard Award semifinalist for “Best Chef, Southeast” and was instrumental in the openings of Nobu’s Miami and London locations. Need we say more? Let’s head to the kitchen to see what he’s cooking up:

Q: What is your signature dish?
A: The Butter Krab Roll, perfected with goma soy paper, kanikama crab sticks, citrus-based ponzu sauce, and warm clarified butter. Fun fact: it’s also the most Tik-Tok-worthy dish on our menu for sure!

Q: What’s your favorite emerging food or beverage trend?
A: Right now, I’m having a lot of fun cooking vegetables and making them taste delicious!

Q: If you could host any celebrity chef at your restaurant, who would it be and why?
A: Definitely Marco Pierre White…because he’s a badass! He’s been dubbed the UK’s “First Celebrity Chef” and became the first British chef to be awarded three Michelin stars.

Q: What excites you most about the Aventura Mall dining scene?
A: I love the diversity and options offered. I feel like you could never get bored eating here!

Q: Are there any décor elements that are exclusive to your Aventura Mall location?
A: Every Pubbelly Sushi restaurant has different graffiti pieces adorning the walls that are specific to the location, I love that.

Q: What does your team bring to Aventura Mall or do differently that no one else does?
A: We bring a blend of flavors like no other restaurant does.

Q: Excluding your own restaurant, what are your favorite places to grab a bite to eat at Aventura Mall?
A: I love Shake Shack and Yalla Motek has me in love too!

SERAFINA

Legend has it that Serafina was conceived by two sailors, Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato, who became stranded at sea and vowed to open a restaurant serving the best pasta and pizza in the world… if they survived the ordeal! Just a year after their heart-pounding helicopter rescue, the duo fulfilled their promise by launching Serafina New York in 1995 and have since gone on to launch restaurants around the world from Dubai to Japan. With the help of owners Benny Shabtai, Stacey Shabtai, Mike Baccaro, and Samantha Cooper, we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy Serafina’s decadent Italian fare right here. While Serafina will not be partcipating in SOBEWFF this year, it is still one of our favorites that we recommend you don’t skip out on your next visit. You can read more about Serafina’s sail into distinction here or hear about it from Stacey below:

Q: What are your favorite menu items?
A: Some of my favorites would be our chicken parmigiana with spaghetti, or any of our pasta plates because they always come out piping hot and perfectly cooked al dente.

Q: What is the most TikTok-worthy dish on your menu?
A: It would have to be our Cacio e Peppe, which is served table side. It’s spectacular and has an incredible presentation – served in a huge parmigiana cheese wheel. The chef lights the wheel on fire and carves out lots and lots of creamy parmesan cheese then rolls it into the pasta. Yeah…it’s fun!

Q: Turning it over to Executive Chef Pete Valdes, how would you describe the Cacio e Peppe dish?
A: Our rendition of this dish uses classical ingredients with a little bit of Serafina’s touch. For example, we pour some brandy into a flaming hot pan to heat and flambe the cheese, giving us the right texture and impeccable flavor. This is what our guests come here for. They really enjoy it. In the U.S., we really love our cream and cheese, especially when it’s paired with perfectly cooked bucatini pasta and more parmesan reggiano cheese. After coming out of the wheel, we top it with the “peppe!”

Q: Lastly, we have a few holidays on the horizon. What do you want people to know?
A: To anybody that’s coming to the mall…please stop by! We invite you to have the best meal, and the best time. We also have the warmest staff! You could host a holiday party here or just enjoy a celebratory drink with your friends while you’re shopping. You’re always welcome at Serafina!

There you have it! Whether you have tickets to one of the festival events or choose to get a chef-approved taste of SOBEWFF right here at Aventura Mall, we’ve got you covered with an incredibly diverse array of restaurants, eateries, and cafés that are all ready to go the extra mile to make your next dining experience one to remember. Cheers!

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