Mediterranean

Costa brings bold, bold flavors to Palm Beach

David Valencia has been in restaurant kitchens for the past 14 years – a relatively short time by executive chef standards – but the 33-year native of Colombia has experience far beyond those years. Valencia, executive chef at Costa Palm Beach, has cut his teeth at such fabled restaurants as The Modern in New York City and trained under Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse.

He later joined renowned hospitality group EMM Group to open Catch with Top Chef Winner Hung Huynh in New York and Miami and was Chef de Cuisine at Meat Market Palm Beach before opening Costa (with owner and veteran Palm Beach restaurateur Sascha Bennemann) earlier this year.

All of Valencia’s high-powered training and learning is paying off at Costa, located on the second floor of The Esplanade on Palm Beach’s trendy Worth Avenue.

“Modern Mediterranean’’ is how Valencia describes Costa’s menus, which feature several of what might be considered Valencia’s “signature’’ dishes. Among them is the amazing Salt Baked Branzino, a three-pound Crispy Pork Shank (for two) and for lunch, an off-the-chain Lamb Burger.

“I wanted to bring something different with a lot of different flavor profiles – big bold flavors,’’ Valencia said.

Those bold flavors certainly come out in dishes such as the Salt Baked Branzino served with arugula emulsion, grilled lemon, olive caper tomato relish. It’s a terrific explosion of flavors that has many guests telling friends, “Get the Branzino,’’ when they go to Costa.

“I’ve been doing something similar (in terms of preparing the Branzino) for the past seven or eight years,’’ Valencia said. “For whatever reason, this is the dish people come back for. I didn’t expect it to be like that.’’

And don’t fret. The full fish is for presentation purposes only.

The Crispy […]

O is for Outstanding and it also stands for Ouzo Bay

Hello Foodie Friends,
I was recently invited to dine at the new Ouzo Bay, which opened up their second location just under four months ago in Mizner Park (Downtown Boca) in the former Jazziz spot.  The 325-seat restaurant reflects the core concept of Ouzo Bay’s flagship location in Baltimore, Maryland, which opened in 2013 to rave reviews, and has been named the #1 restaurant in the city by Baltimore Magazine, which offers contemporary Mediterranean cuisine with a strong Greek influence.

 

Ouzo Bay’s interior was designed to reflect the Greek influences in a modern way. The signature blue accent lighting throughout the restaurant helps to create an upscale, yet relaxed atmosphere. Comfortably seating roughly 225 inside and 100 on the outside patio, there are also separate lounge sections inside and outside, as well as a 30-seat private cigar lounge attached to the restaurant. “With Ouzo Bay Boca Raton, we will continue to bring our customers the finest quality ingredients from the Mediterranean, matched by our chic bar atmosphere,” says Alexander Smith of the Atlas Group Restaurant, owners of Ouzo Bay. “We feel that Mizner Park and Boca Raton will be a perfect fit for our fish flown in fresh daily from around the world complemented with handmade cocktails and an enormous wine and spirits list.”

Highlighted by a variety of Whole Fish flown in daily from around the world, the menu includes only the freshest and finest-quality ingredients.  Complimenting the seafood menu, Ouzo Bay also has an extensive selection of fine-quality cuts of grass fed lamb, prime beef and organic chicken.  In addition to the impressive culinary lineup, Ouzo Bay’s posh full-service bar is overseen by Bradford White, the restaurant’s resident Sommelier/Beverage Manager and features handcrafted cocktails, small-batch whiskeys and a […]

Hello Foodie Friends, it was just last month that I was invited to visit a little hidden gem South of Fifth in Miami Beach called Santorini by Georgios and I am already dreaming of my next visit back!  It was a gorgeous day that my friend Laura and I visited and the only thing better than the weather was the hospitality, food and ambience.  The spacious, indoor/outdoor restaurant tucked ay inside the Hilton Bentley was entirely redone with outdoor, poolside and beachside service available.

Santorini by Georgios restaurant presents authentic, fresh Greek and Mediterranean cuisine that is locally sourced and fresh seafood is caught daily. Executive Chef, Owner and Creator Georgios Vogiatzis offers a menu of recognizable, yet creative dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch in a lively, upscale-casual pool and beachside atmosphere complimented by friendly and professional service.

Santorini by Georgios prides itself on defining what true quality food is with their fresh cuisine, in addition to exceeding every one of their customers’ expectations. Whether it’s a girls’ afternoon luncheon (which is what Laura & I came for), an after work happy hour get together, or a romantic dinner for two, Santorini by Georgios will make sure the challenge to delight their clients is met.

To complement each dish, Georgios has created a refreshing selection of cocktails with in-house made purees and infusions. The beverage program includes full beer and wine lists, as well as large exotic fruit cocktails sold in unique hollowed-out pieces of fruit, such as pineapples and watermelons. (We tried the Pineapple but we had our eye on the Watermelon which I’m sure we’ll try the next time we’re there). The “Giant Bowl” menu also consists of beautifully crafted cocktails in bowls large enough to share – perfect for taking that “I’m on vacation” Instagram photo.

Located in Miami Beach’s South of Fifth […]

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