Yellowtail at The Restaurant at The Setai

 
  FROM TOP: Grilled octopus at STK Miami, Crackle Pop Roll at Haven, quiche Lorraine at Buenta Vista Deli

Yellowtail at The Restaurant at The Setai
Sometimes a good meal in a beautiful, calming setting feels like a vacation. The Restaurant at The Setai works that way for me; it’s quiet, relaxing and exquisitely designed. Chef David Werly’s kitchen uses five traditional Asian culinary styles: wok, steam, tandoor oven, curries and rotisserie/grill. Given the balmy weather, I take advantage of lighter, fresher dishes like the yuzu-marinated hamachi, or yellowtail. The plates—beautifully decorated with slices of mango—are comprised of tender sashimi resting on heart of palm discs and flavored with mirin and sake. I complete my little retreat with the truffle dumplings (steamed scallops with a side of truffle-cream emulsion for dipping) and a selection of their fruit sorbets, all served in the tranquil, tropical ambience of The Restaurant’s courtyard. 2001 Collins Ave., Miami Beach—Maria Argüello

Grilled Octupus at STK Miami
Octopi have always been mysterious creatures, what with their Jules Verne-ian stigma, suction-cupped appendages and either-you-like-it-or-you-don’t standing. But those who’ve spent time in sundry Greek and Italian ports and understand the Mediterranean obsession with tender tentacles must rocket to STK Miami. Theirs is a seriously hearty, remarkably delicate, thoughtfully composed seesaw of sea-meaty textures and garden flavors. Hot char-grilled octopus is countered by a cold octopus carpaccio concoction resplendent with shaved fennel and mango escabeche, purple Peruvian potatoes and ripe heirloom tomatoes, with a lemony vinaigrette that tiptoes nicely across the dish. Though offered as an appetizer, it easily stands in as a delicious and hearty model-friendly entrée. Trust me. 2377 Collins Ave., Miami BeachDirk DeSouza

Crackle Pop Roll at Haven
With outstanding creations by chef Todd Erickson and a sleek, mod vibe, Haven reminds me of the early days of Bond St. Lounge. The menu’s all about seasonal, global small plates and creative comfort food. I loved the lobster scallop ceviche with passion fruit and vanilla oil, as well as the Swedish meatball skewers with white truffle and lingonberry gastrique. Then there’s the unique and unexpected play of tastes and textures in the Crackle Pop Roll, where chef Erickson crisps the exterior of the roll and adds pickled daikon, jalapeño and schichimi aioli. Everything I tried was delicioso! Go with a group and try as many of the small plates as you can. 237 Lincoln Road, Miami BeachIngrid Hoffmann

Quiche Lorraine at Buena Vista Deli
Buena Vista Deli is a classic French neighborhood eatery in the heart of the Design District, offering extraordinary baked goods and prepared foods. I’m a big fan of the quiche Lorraine, brioche and truffles. They also have fresh salads and mouthwatering pastries. The berry-heavy fruit tart is truly a standout. On top of that, it has a laid-back, casual charm—perfect day or night. 4590 NE Second Ave., MiamiLee Brian Schrager

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