By Sophia Costabal
I have to start off by saying that I am a sucker for Peruvian food. There is something about the combinations of flavors and the heaping amounts of citrus in that cuisine that really tickles my taste buds. So, naturally, when I found out that I would be heading to La Mar (500 Brickell Key Dr, Miami) to get a first-hand look at their Miami Spice menu, I giggled like a little 9-year-old girl that has just found out she’s going to Disney to eat a Micky Mouse Ice Cream Sandwich (Me as a little girl. True Story).
Five of Chef Diego Oka’s culinary masterpiece creations in one night? Stick a Peruvian fork in me because I’m done. Literally. I didn’t even have room to eat the glorious dessert (in its entirety). Nine year old me would have been disappointed.
By Mitchell Nover
YAKU by La Mar (500 Brickell Key Dr, Miami) is a chic outdoor bar and lounge from the Mandarin Oriental Miami’s award-winning restaurant, La Mar by Gaston Acurio. Giving Chef Diego Oka the space to be a little more playful on the outdoor terrace, YAKU blends multicultural ingredients with Peruvian cocktails, light bites, and a cozy waterfront gathering place from Thursday to Saturday nights. Conceptualized and designed by Chef Oka himself, the lounge is furnished with a selection of Peruvian-inspired textiles, sleek communal seating and bronze, terracotta, and colorful accents.
By Melanie Galarce
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 Diego Oka, a seasoned chef of Peruvian and Japanese decent 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.
In mid-June, the team at La Mar invited us to try their new menu and we were blown away. The dishes are thoughtful and offer a fresh take on Peruvian cuisine classics. To follow is our vivid recap of the fusion rendezvous.
St. Tropez, Ibiza, and St. Barths it is not, but within the vast Miami landscape Brickell Key is an island world unto itself. Although they share common traits of wealth and exclusivity, Brickell Key is much less party playground and much more quaint, quiet neighborhood than the aforementioned islands. That said, there is one place on the Key that harkens back to the lifestyles of the rich and famous, and not just because of the blue and red neon lights that brighten up the outdoor patio area on a dark night. No, for me, it’s all about the food, and The Island Bistro delivers all the classic, magical flavors of Europe in a casual yet sophisticated setting.