River Yacht Club: On the Miami River with Guest Chef Alex Chang

                                           Photo Credit: Andrew Giambarba for MIAbites 

                                           Photo Credit: Andrew Giambarba for MIAbites 

By the time Google Maps or Waze finally directs you under the highway and around the block to River Yacht Club you are amazed at what is happening in the historic Miami River District.  Set on the Miami River surrounded by abandoned warehouses and empty lots,  River Yacht Club (RYC), a unique and  beautiful waterfront venture, opened this past winter featuring a fine dining restaurant, stunning outdoor garden & lounge, marina and the first ­ever Van Dutch Lounge on the roof.  River Yacht Club aims to be a lifestyle destination that combines gastronomy, entertainment, maritime activities and art into a special retreat for all urbanites.

With limited options in waterfront venues in Miami, River Yacht Club aims to enrich the local boating culture and set a significant tone for the future of the Miami River District. “We would like to rewrite the local boating culture,” “Boaters have very few options for sophisticated experiences on the water.” said Stephane Dupoux, the CEO of Dupoux Partners, the team behind concept and development.  A boat ride up the Miami River is a special and invigorating experience as you boat between the tall buildings on either side.

River Yacht Club Miami River Von Dutch

To offer an innovative and creative approach to the restaurant’s epicurean profile, River Yacht Club’s culinary ideology revolves around its seasonally driven menus executed by a stellar roster of rotating, in-residence chefs.

Kicking off the revolving chef concept, River Yacht Club commissioned Chef Michael Lewis, who formerly helmed the kitchens of Zuma and Jean Georges restaurants, to design the inaugural winter menu. The successive chef for the spring tenure was Australian born, award winning Chef Christopher Rendell with prior endeavors at the Surf Lodge, Montauk and Public, NoLita as well as Mews and Whitehall in London.

The most recent chef-in-residence is local Miami talent, former Vagabond Restaurant and Rising Star Chef 2016,  Chef Alex Chang. Chef Alex who came into his own in the Miami food scene creating unique and favored dishes like chapulines and peanuts, fried sweetbreads and burrata with green pea and leek oil, has taken a slight departure with this understandable but still creative menu.  

We were invited as guests for a special dinner featuring Chef Alex’s cuisine, which leans heavily on the fruits of the sea and complemented by signature sides

Featuring a Crudo Kitchen, Grill and Pastry Lab, the menu melds European techniques with local fresh ingredients served family ­style in a tableside presentation. A like­minded beverage program supports the effort to celebrate an ingredient­ driven agenda that works in harmony with the menu to create a memorable culinary experience.

River Yacht Club Tuna Tataki

The menu, served family style to a group of food writers and bloggers featured starters of Chilled Tomatillo and Mango Gazpacho, a Tuna Tataki with Avocado,

river Yacht Club Carpaccio

and our favorite, a spicy Thai Style Ribeye Carpaccio with crispy shallots, key lime vinaigrette and fresh herbs.

River Yacht Club Peruvian Chicken

Entrees included a nicely seasoned Half Roasted Peruvian Chicken with sweet corn bread,

River Yacht Club Yellowtail Snapper

A Whole Roasted Yellowtail Snapper with shishito peppers and

River Yacht Club Grilled Shrimp

 an Almond and Tomato salsa topped Grilled Shrimp.

Dessert was a sweet and spicy treat with Baba au Rum Sundae with jalapeno infused pineapple and ice cream and a decadently rich Chocolate Fudge with vanilla ice cream.  

River Yacht Club Miami River Desserts

The restaurant’s design features subtle maritime references including color palette, materials, ornamental details like seahorses and anchors and other visual nods to the immediate environment and vegetation with nautical materials like copper and brass.

River Yacht Club has also partnered with VanDutch Yachts for the prestigious brand’s first­ ever VanDutch Lounge. Located on the rooftop terrace, the lounge boasts exquisite mixology and unwinding options set against the backdrop of some of Miami’s most inspiring views.

River Yacht Club Rooftop Van Dutch Lounge

The restaurant at River Yacht Club is open to the public, however, there is a membership component. Members are granted preferred reservations and docking privileges plus access to club events.

Additional amenities includes a transitional gallery featuring a wide range of visual arts curated by Alvaro Perez Miranda and sculptural art from Jean Pierre Botella (JPB) Art Gallery from Saint Tropez.

River Yacht Club

401 SW 3rd Avenue Miami, FL 33130

(305) 200-5716

( Photo Credit:  Andrew Giambarba for MIAbites )

River Yacht Club Miami River



36 Hours in Miami: The Food Version

36 Hours in Miami Where to Eat Miami Spice

One of my favorite features in The New York Times is in the Travel Section entitled, “36 Hours in _______ “,  a “must do” guide to interesting and many times exotic vacation spots.  I have always enjoyed reading about where to stay, what to do and where to eat.   And have even used their suggestions on trips to Cartagena, New Orleans and Bangkok.

A quick trip to Miami this month necessitated only a 36 hour stay and for MIAbites readers in Miami and beyond here is my version of, “36 Hours in Miami”. The Food Version, that is.

Thursday 2 pm- I arrive into MIA on American Airlines from New York into Terminal D Gate 15.   My first stop is to grab a quick light lunch at the new My Ceviche counter in the new Marketplace by Gate D29.  Freshly made ceviche or pre-made salads and wraps are available for the traveler to take on board or eat in the terminal. 

My Ceviche at MIA airport

I selected a Combination Ceviche with shrimp and fish with Aji Amarillo.  Chock full of fresh seafood, red onion and grape tomatoes and priced at $15.95, it was a much cheaper and much fresher option than the typical airport fare.  It was very good, but I did miss the chunks of avocado, sweet potato, radish, cob of corn and spiced popcorn when I order from other My Ceviche locations.  Hopefully this was just an oversight on the enthusiastic staff.  I also noticed next door was Half Moon Empanadas, another grab and go option now at MIA.  My Ceviche at The Marketplace AA Terminal D29.

Sweet Liberty Miami Beach Happy Hour

Thursday 6:30 pm- Next up was Happy Hour at Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply on 20th and Liberty on Miami Beach.  Newly crowned the Best New American Bar at Tales of The Cocktail in New Orleans, this is a funky speakeasy-like setting a block from The Setai and Bass Museum. 75 cent oysters and $5- Rose wine and Moscow Mules were a great way to kick off the evening.  Happy Hour 4:00-7:00 pm every day. Go right from the beach. The also have a good looking Miami Spice menu.  Sweet Liberty 237B 20th St. Miami Beach FL

27 Restaurant Miami Spice

Thursday 7:30 pm-  A quick stroll up Collins Ave to 27th Street and Indian Creek Drive to 27 Restaurant in The Freehand for their Miami Spice menu.  3 courses at $39 is not only a great value, but 27 throws in a complimentary cocktail, Sex on The Beach.  A dinner of Massaged Kale with tahini dressing salad, Crispy pork shoulder with spicy slaw, the most tender and flavorful Grilled Pulpo octopus with aji verde and other main course options of Elad’s Shakshuka or a flavorful Skirt Steak with yucca fries were topped off with Tres Leches or a decadent Chocolate Brownie Sundae.  This is a winning Miami Spice menu. And the bar upstairs as well as The Broken Shaker next door, is a good way to end the evening. 27 Restaurant and The Broken Shaker 2727 Indian Creek Dr. Miami Beach FL. 

Salty Donut at The Confidante Miami Beach

Friday 8 am-  Off for a run along the Miami Beach boardwalk ( or cement walk as it seems to be rapidly becoming) ended up at The Confidante ( the hotel formerly known as The Thompson Miami Beach) at 41st and Collins.  The Salty Donut, Wynwood’s artisanal donut stop has opened an outpost in the classic 1930’s House poolside and although the line may be shorter the donut selection is no less impressive.  Tourists were taking pictures both inside and in front of the Salty Donut sign. Chef Max Santiago continues to offer seasonal variety of delicious donuts to an adoring public.  Selecting best sellers, Maple Bacon, Guava Cream Cheese, Cinnamon Crumb and specialty Baked Sweet Potato and Cookie Butter, I easily filled up a box and added in a couple Nutella Donut holes with Nutella shooter.   A wide selection of specialty coffees are also available. The Salty Donut is open Thurs-Sun from 8 am to 2 pm or until donuts run out. The Confidante 4141 Collins Ave. Miami Beach

Alter Wynwood Miami Spice Lunch

Friday 12:30 pm-  We headed over for a much anticipated Miami Spice lunch at Alter, the top restaurant helmed by James Beard semi finalist, Chef Bradley Kilgore in Wynwood.  No way any Zika scare was keeping me away from this amazing restaurant and at $23, this is the Miami Spice lunch not to be missed.  And the place was packed with enthusiastic diners.  Alter’s Miami Spice menu is creative and offers an opportunity to try Chef Kilgore’s delicious and beautiful food.  Appetizer choices included fresh and light Baby Scallops with aguachile, aneheim pepper, radishes and cilantro oil.  We also selected Pan du Tumaca ,a crushed tomato paste on sourdough with Aleppo butter and garlic and topped with decorative greens.  

Alter Soft Egg with scallop espuma truffle pearls and gruyere.

Alter’s signature appetizer, Soft Egg with sea scallop espuma, truffle pearls and gruyere was available for a $5 supplement and if you have never had this dish, it is a must.  Main dish options included a flavorful Cavatelli with pork ragu and a Smoked Cod fish with puffed potato and burrata

Alter Miami Spice Desserts

Dessert at Alter was like a visit to a Wynwood art gallery as options, Gourmet Cheese Platter, Pickled Peach and Chevre Goat Cheese Panna cotta and the Whipped Malted Chocolate with hazelnuts and chocolate twigs were impressive to behold and delicious.  Don’t miss this Spice lunch.  Alter 223 NW 23rd St. Miami FL

NaiYaRa Miami Spice Happy Hour

Friday 6:30 pm-  Happy Hour at NaiYaRa in Sunset Harbour is fun and very buzz worthy, as Chef Bee, who always seems to be smiling and greeting guests offers not only specialty cocktails, wine and beer at reduced prices ranging from $3.50-$7, but also an entire menu of $7- bar snacks like Spicy Thai Wings, White Fish Tacos and Crispy Pad Thai.  Easily you can make a meal at Happy Hour, which is offered 7 days a week from 5-7 pm.  We decided to stay for dinner and of course, NaiYaRa also is participating in Miami Spice with a nice selection of favorites like Beef Jerky and NaiYaRa roll and Pad See Ew and Red Curry, but we opted to order a la carte as didn’t want to pass up some of my favorites, the Crispy Bok Choi, Thai Street Dumplings, Tempura Soft Shell Crab or Chef Bee’s newest addition, NaiYaRa fried chicken with dipping sauce.  Whether you Spice to Not, NaiYaRa should be on your list of hot new spots in Miami Beach. NaiYaRa 1854 Bay Road. Miami Beach FL. 

Friday 9:30 pm-  No Friday night would be complete without a stop at a hip bar, and The Anderson on 79th in the old Magnum Lounge space is just that kind of spot.  Opened this past March by the Bar Lab crew, craft cocktails, great food, 80's music and a people watching scene makes The Anderson the late night place of choice.   Go late, stay even later.  The Anderson 709 NE 79th St. Miami, FL.

Salty Donut Miami

Saturday 8 am-  Heading back to MIA, we made one more stop back at The Salty Donut to grab more donuts to fortify us for flight to our next stop in LA.  That Maple Bacon donut is positively addictive.

Next up?…”36 Hours in Los Angeles- The Food Version”.



Saturday Sweets: Verde at the PAMM

If you have not yet been to the Perez Art Museum Miami  located in Downtown Miami, then I think you need to plan a daytrip there starting with brunch (and of course dessert). The PAMM is a modern and contemporary art museum that was opened in 2013.  Inside the museum right along the water is an adorable restaurant called Verde.  Chef Kaytlin Brakefield is dishing out some amazing desserts that pair perfectly with the newly added mocktails being offered by the restaurant.

Read More

National Rum Day- Get ready to RUMble in Miami

“Of all the spirits in your home, rum is the most romantic,” wrote bon vivant James Beard in 1956. Whether you agree or not, let the summer drinking continue with National Rum Day which happens to fall on Tuesday August 16th. 

Rum has been one of the more misunderstood spirits with numerous myths surrounding it’s history. Although all rum is made from sugar, that doesn’t mean it’s sweet and needs to be mixed with fruit juices to be enjoyed.  Some of the best rums are aged and meant to be served and savored “neat”.  While believed to be a Caribbean spirit associated with West Indian pirates, prior to the American Revolution, they were many rum distilleries in New England and today craft rum is made in many states throughout the US.  

Here are some local Miami spots for delicious rum drinks and even some recipes to try at home.  Let’s get ready to “RUM ble”!

Read More

Saturday Sweets: Grandma's Buttermilk Pie RECIPE

This week’s Saturday Sweets is dedicated to the SWEETEST woman I’ve ever known – my grandma!  She passed away last week after living 86 years of a wonderful life.  While I’m incredibly heartbroken, I’ve found comfort in raiding her recipe box and making one of her favorite recipes to share with you. 

I’ve always said I was blessed with my grandpa’s pretty hazel eyes and my grandma’s sweet tooth.  Some of my first memories took place in my grandma’s kitchen making brownies – even when I was too little to reach the counter she was prepared with a mixing bowl and a spoon for me on the floor so I was sure to never miss a beat.  As I got older and we would often go out to eat, she would remind me during our entrees to slow down if I was getting full.  In her words, “you can always box that up and take it home – you HAVE leave room for dessert!”

Read More

Weekly Nibble: MGFD Beer Court, KLIMA & Evan Benn, Olympic Brunch at Bagatelle, Wok Star at Drunken Dragon and more

Each week, MIAbites will feature the Weekly Nibble, highlighting Miami food related events, recent news and special promotions for the upcoming weeks.  Please note that specific details, dates and prices are subject to change, so please call ahead to confirm event details.  In addition to the ongoing Miami Spice $23 lunch and $39 dinner menus, here are few non-Spice happenings to enjoy!

Wednesday August 10 B Bar Tapas & Grill is an internationally influenced tapas restaurant offering a diverse menu and energetic vibe located in North Miami Beach, and will be celebrating their grand opening with an evening of tapas, craft cocktails and live entertainment on Wednesday, August 10 from 6-8 p.m.  B Bar Tapas & Grill 2995 NE 163rd Street North Miami Beach, 33160


Read More

Wok Star Supper Club at Drunken Dragon

Conquer the Summer Blues and enjoy the Wok Star Supper Club at Drunken Dragon on Sunday, August 14th from 5-7 pm with local cooking teacher, Eleanor Hoh aka Wok Star.  Join her as she promises you delicious food, beautiful ambience and fantastic camaraderie.

Drunken Dragon, Miami Beach’s Asian hot spot greets you with steamy photography of Japanese bondage on one side and on the other, a 300-pound table made out of reclaimed Douglas fir suspended by chains.  Meet and mingle at the Bar with half price cocktails and curry salt truffle fries. Then chow down to a special 3 course sit down dinner for $45 including tips and tax PLUS a visit to Foxhole Bar after with first drink free. 

Read More

Saturday Sweets: Top 5 Miami Spice Desserts

As I am sure you are well aware, it’s that wonderful time of the year where many Miami restaurants feature Miami Spice menus with 3 course lunches for $23 and dinners for $39.  A perfect chance to get out there and try something new.  And while many times people “skip” dessert, Miami Spice INCLUDES dessert as part of those 3 courses. 

Now, I don’t know about you – but I always determine my Miami Spice dining based on how yummy their dessert looks.  There are many restaurants that have a great starter and entrée but then finish it off with a “selection of sorbets.”  As refreshing as that sounds, I still want a DESSERT.  Gotta satisfy that sweet tooth!  So in honor of my sweet tooth I’ve scoped out five of the most exciting desserts being offered for Miami Spice.

Read More

RECIPE: Grilled Oysters from Grand Isle New Orleans

If you were fortunate to attend the Oyster Bash during this past February’s South Beach Wine + Food Festival #SOBEWFF , the grilled oysters from Executive Chef Ryan Haigler of Grand isle Restaurant in New Orleans were one of the most popular stops at the event held at Lure Fishbar.   In "shell-abration" of today's National Oyster Day, here is the buttery, cheesy recipe for these yummy oysters that can be baked or broiled in the oven or better yet, grilled over an open flame.  Plenty of lemon on the side and you will be the hit of any Summer grillin party.

Tasso Butter Baked Oysters with Jalapeño, Havarti and Herb Bread Crumbs
Executive Chef Ryan Haigler

(4 Dozen Oysters)

Read More

La Mar – A Peruvian Love Story

The following is an excerpt from one of our favorite bloggers, Melanie Galarce of Mitch & Mel Take Miami, on her visit to La Mar at The Mandarin Oriental.  The full article can be read on their blog through the link http://mitchandmeltakemiami.com/la-mar/

Few restaurants in Miami offer the opulence and culinary experience that La Mar does. The restaurant that carries the name of celebrity chef Gaston Acurio helms locations in Mexico City, Colombia, Chicago, and San Francisco, as well as in our own backyard inside the Mandarin Oriental located on Brickell Key.

With killer views of Miami, the restaurant is spearheaded by Executive Chef Diego Oka, a seasoned chef of Peruvian and Japanese descent who has more than 10 years of experience working with the brand. Oka is the kind of guy you want to be best buds with, not only is his demeanor cool and down-to-earth but he’s firing up the best of novo-Andean and Asian-Peruvian fusion at his La Mar gig. That’s the type of food you should expect to enjoy, including traditional seafood ceviche in the form of small, tapas-style and large plates.

Read More