ALMA- Modern Spanish cooking in Coconut Grove
Coconut Grove is my favorite place to visit and has undergone many transitions over the years from a boho atmosphere with hookah bars to an up and coming culinary destination. So, on a recent Saturday night, my husband and I decided to visit Alma, one of the newest additions to the Grove, a creation of Sergio Chamizo and Maria Poblanco which opened this late January.
Alma is not your typical, traditional Spanish tapas restaurant. It is classic Spanish cooking but with a modern take. The name Alma means soul or heart in Spanish and is representative of Sergio’s passion for cooking.
An unassuming restaurant from the outside, it was formerly a Hungry Howie, we walked into this cool, hip spot as Maria greeted us and sat us near the kitchen. While making menu suggestions, we asked Maria many questions. Alma was soo chic, how did you get here?
Sergio was raised in Madrid but later moved to Barcelona and has been cooking since he was 17 years old, training at a culinary school in Madrid and later Andorra (a small country between Spain and France). He then moved to London working in many Michelin starred restaurants and doing something called “Stagiere” or “Stag” as those in the industry would call it, which is an unpaid apprenticeship learning many different techniques and inspirations from the masters in the culinary world. London is also where he met his wife, Maria, who was there attending university and together they felt it was time to give Miami a chance to grow Sergio’s vision and devotion for cooking.
Since my husband and I arrived on the later side, we decided on just a couple of dishes and a bottle of delicious red wine from Spain.
The menu starts with Tapas, including a Spanish Cheese plate, Iberico Meat assortment, Blistered Padrón peppers, Steamed Mussels with chorizo, white wine and cherry tomatoes, and fine herbs, Veal sweetbreads in Fino glaze, sunchokes, pickled mushrooms & mustard seeds.
Our choice included Roasted Red and Golden Beets with smoked sour cream, salmon caviar and dill, Heirloom tomatoes, tuna ventrasca, black olives, green onions and Arbequina olive oil.
Main Courses are hearty and include Braised lamb shank, squash glaze, kale and sage, a Honey-spiced duck breast, parsnips, savory granola, apple beurre noisette. We chose a perfectly cooked Branzino, Piquillo peppers sofrito, roasted red onion and citrus foam.
All of the dishes are unique, and each ingredient is given its individual attention to become a well-orchestrated meal. We also had some scrumptious bread, which we devoured.
Alma’s menu is more contemporary in its approach taking inspiration from the many different regions of Spain and incorporating these into Alma’s menu including the wine. All of the ingredients are sourced locally except for the wine which is only from Spain, but not your typical Rioja or Tempranillo choices.
The wine list deserves special mention as it is extensive, and my husband was so taken with the wine suggested he made a note of it, 2014 Veronica Ortega, Quite, Bierzo, Castilla y Leon, Mencia.
You will see variations in the menu from time to time as the season's change and as specials become new additions to the menu. The next time we go, we want to try the Oxtail sliders, as they are Sergio’s specialty and they take three days to prepare!
Stop in for dinner or their popular Happy Hour from 5-7 pm.
3206 Grand Ave,
Coconut Grove, FL
786 502 2155