Karu & Y At this hot spot on the edge of still-dicey Overtown, there are really two options: Spend $100 per person on chef Alberto Cabrera’s haute-Spanish cuisine at Karu, or just enjoy the scene—which is really the point—while sipping a cocktail in the adjacent Y Ultralounge. DETAILS 71 NW 14th St.; 305-403-7850 or karu-y.com.
La Goulue Christian Delouvrier Christian Delouvrier, formerly of Lespinasse and Alain Ducasse restaurants in Manhattan, is the draw at this new boîte in the chic Bal Harbour Shops. As local boulevardiers (well, shoppers) line up for seats on the palm tree-lined brick patio, the staff circulates among the linen-and-paper-covered tables bearing bistro staples like moules frites and escargot in puff pastry. DETAILS 9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour; 305-865-2181.
Restaurant Brana Though the room has all the charm of a California Closet, this newcomer is one of the city’s standout openings. Florida native Jeffrey Braña (former executive chef for Norman Van Aken) emphasizes local ingredients in dishes such as citrus-marinated Key West pink shrimp topped with avocado puree, hazelnut shavings and smoked trout roe. The well-chosen wine list is full of hard-to-find bottlings like the 2004 Owen-Sullivan BSH Cabernet Sauvignon. DETAILS 276 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables; 305-444-4595 or restaurantbrana.com.
Sardinia & Enoteca Chef Pietro Vardeu cooked in New York for many years (both for Pino Luongo in Manhattan and on his own in the Hamptons) before heading south to Miami. Now at his lively new South Beach restaurant and adjacent wine bar, he’s focusing on regional Sardinian specialties—malloreddus (a small, ridged pasta) with braised baby lamb; steamed cockles with tomatoes, chiles and basil; and pane carasatu, crisp sheets of flatbread brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with rosemary and sea salt. DETAILS 1801 Purdy Ave., Miami Beach; 305-531-2228.
Too New to Review
David Bouley Evolution David Bouley’s first non-New York City venture has been slated to open at the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, for two years, and at press time it seems as though the moment is finally here. Guests will be able to order from an extensive sushi bar or off the French and Japanese menu, which features Bouley classics such as scallop-encrusted black sea bass. The glamorous room, with its glass and gold details and glowing blue hues, is a fantasy vision of Art Deco. DETAILS 1669 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-604-6090.
Food & Wine on the Beach
The "Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Presented by Food & Wine Magazine" is a mouthful to say—appropriate for this food extravaganza. By day, festival-goers can meet Food Network stars; at night, there’s a Champagne barbecue on the beach and a star-studded tribute dinner. DETAILS February 22 to 25; 305-627-1741 or sobewineandfoodfest.com.