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5 & Dine: Around the World

The culinary influences at these outstanding South Florida restaurants span the globe.

Kuba Cabana at CityPlace Doral

Address: 3450 NW 83rd Ave., Doral

The Buzz: Kubiche is Kuba Cabana’s take on classic ceviche. The pink-fleshed fish, corvina, is drenched in a leche de tigre, known as Peru’s majestic cure-all (sometimes recommended as a way to relieve a hangover). Kubiche’s “tiger’s milk,” a citrus-based marinade, gets its mild spice from the small pepper popular in Caribbean dishes, ají cachucha; crispy boniato makes for a unique addition and adds Cuban flare. Chef Jorge Mas says that kubiche is the very definition of Kuba Cabana’s cuisine, which is “embracing our roots, but evoking all cultures involved. From the Caribbean and South America, we all share the same ingredients, spices and traditions.” Case in point, the pollo barbacoa entrée, guava-smoked boneless half chicken with spiced guava jus and chives.

Contact: 305.800.5822; kubamiami.com

Takato

Address: Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, 551 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.

The Buzz: In Korea, according to chef Taek (Taka) Lee, every family has its own way to prepare kimchi. Taka incorporates his kimchi into the specialty of the house: Kimchi Fried Rice. Wagyu beef fried rice is infused with Taka’s homemade kimchi (the fermented cabbage adds much of the flavor to the dish). Served in a granite bowl topped with semi-raw sunny-side-up egg, crispy nori (seaweed), peppers and cilantro sprouts, the dish is prepared tableside so the egg is mixed into the rice thoroughly. The heat of the rice and the bowl cooks the egg, creating a crunchy edge. Guests are known to scrub the crunchy rice from the sides and the bottom of the bowl. “Many times, the bowl is completely dry and clean after a guest enjoys the rice,” Lee says.

Contact: 954.414.5160; takatorestaurant.com

Thasos Restaurant

Address: 3330 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale

The Buzz: Google “best lamb chops” in Fort Lauderdale and, hands down, Thasos comes up every time. The authentic Greek lamb chops (paidakia) are wood-grilled and seasoned only with salt and pepper before they are tossed on the heat to bring out the fresh lamb flavor. The secret to the Greek-Mediterranean restaurant’s original recipe is in the sauce—mint and thyme chimichurri. Traditional paidakia adds potatoes in the pan with the meat to soak in the juices and aroma. Thasos’ uses Yukon golds. Chef’s tip: The meat is best served medium to appreciate the quality.

Contact: 954.200.6006; thasosrestaurant.com

 

Mantra Fine Indian Cuisine

Address: 15953 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines

The Buzz: While all of the finely curated Indian essentials are part of Mantra’s menu, it’s the made-from-scratch dessert, Ras Malai, that you don’t always find in an Indian restaurant. Think of it as Indian comfort food, full of texture, flavor and taste. Cheese dumplings are served in a deliciously thickened sweet milk. The dessert’s sweet cousin, gulab jamun, features fried milk and cottage cheese balls dropped into a simmering sugar syrup.

Contact: 954.354.6124; mantrapines.com

Amal

Address: 3480 Main Highway, Coconut Grove

The Buzz: Sleek and upscale Amal, which introduced its “modern” Lebanese cuisine in June, continues to elevate the Middle Eastern foodie category in South Florida. The first Amal was introduced in 2019 in Toronto, Canada. Executive chef Wissam Baki, who worked at the InterContinental in Beirut, prepares his own interpretations of traditional Lebanese dishes meant to be shared. There’s the usual traditional mezze plate of babaganoush, muhamarra and hummus with home-baked fresh pita for dipping, but there’s also the truffle rakakat, or honey-drizzled truffle cheese rolls, which contain a blend of akawi (a Middle Eastern soft, white cheese with a mild salty taste) and mozzarella. Sticking with the Middle Eastern staples for sharing, there’s kibbeh, a croquette of sorts usually made with ground lamb (Baki uses beef), bulgar wheat and seasonings. The traditional kibbeh nayeh, raw lamb with olive oil, gets a modern take here a la beef tartare.

Contact: 786.369.0846; amalmiami.com

 

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