La Mar by Gaston Acurio Executive Chef, Diego Oka is giving his menu a major makeover and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s the biggest menu change to date in the three years the famed Gaston Acurio restaurant has been open on Brickell Key at the Mandarin Oriental. For those of you with favorite dishes, don’t worry - Diego has your back and he’s keeping them on the menu (think: chaufa, classic cebiche, etc). The new menu allows for colorful additions inspired by Diego’s travels to Mexico, Italy, and parts of Asia as well as nods to his Peruvian homeland. Seriously, if you don’t already follow him on Instagram - then you need to!
One of the biggest changes in the new menu is the plating. While every dish to ever come out of La Mar’s kitchen is beautiful, there’s something about these new ones that really up-the-ante.
It’s impossible to go to La Mar and not order cebiche, especially when it’s as good as the new Cebiche Lujoso and full of lobster, crab, chalaca, radish, olive oil, smoked avocado and leche de tigre. The new tiradito is called Quemado and is made with the catch of the day, grilled calamari, octopus, kiuri, cherry heirloom tomatoes, smoked Peruvian peppers and leche de tigre. I would swim in a pool of leche de tigre if Diego would let me.
Causa is an authentic Peruvian dish, but Diego’s new twist on it makes it the best one I've ever had. It’s called Causa Pesto and it’s made with green potato causa, octopus tartare, avocado, piquillo peppers, and Peruvian black ‘botijo’ olive aioli. The new causa salad is a dish that Diego hopes to make a fan favorite. This salad consists of aji Amarillo causa, roasted beets, asparagus, sunchokes, and huancaina. I’m a fan, and it’s a favorite.
One of MIAbites most beloved dishes from Miami Spice got promoted to the main menu and I couldn’t be more pleased. The Paiche Charapa, aka the largest fish in the Amazon River, is roasted in banana leaves, mishkina, and topped with mango chalaca. The banana leaves are wrapped around the fish as it’s served and mine came with a cute personalized note!
Of course, there’s bound to be a new rice dish on the menu. This time Diego is mixing it up with squid ink rice with aji panca peppers, aji amarillo, parmesan cheese, oyster sauce, and seafood and calling is Arroz La Mar. So rich, so creamy, so perfect. Another Peruvian specialty that was added to the menu is the Parihuela Soup with snapper, octopus, jumbo prawns, clams, crispy yucca, mortero potatoes served in a hot stone bowl.
I didn’t try the entire new menu, in hopes of saving some surprise for next time, but if the other new dishes are anything like what I've tried so far - then it’s safe to say La Mar keeping its solid spot as one of my top five restaurants in Miami.
500 Brickell Key Drive
Miami, FL 33131