Down to Earth
At Planta in Miami Beach, pressed beds of rice come topped with ahi watermelon, while heaps of truffled “Parmesan” made of almond shavings garnish bowls of fried cauliflower tater tots. This is how David Grutman does vegan dining.
Grutman, a leading figure in Miami’s nightlife scene, is responsible for mega-nightclubs Liv and Story in South Beach, as well as such high-profile restaurants as Komodo in Brickell and OTL in the Design District. Now, he’s behind the first U.S. outpost of popular Toronto-based restaurant Planta.
“I visited Toronto, we ate at Planta and it blew my mind,” David Grutman says. “My wife, Isabela, and I love eating healthy, and Planta in Toronto is this cool, trendy place where eating plant-based [cuisine] does not mean you have to sacrifice flavor or fun. We knew we needed this concept in Miami.”
As the name suggests, Planta’s menu is entirely plant-based. There’s a rooftop garden atop the 200-seat restaurant, which features an expansive, barn-like dining room and adjacent indoor and outdoor areas. There, you’ll find a range of homegrown herbs, greens and vegetables, which are handpicked, brought downstairs and served straight to your plate.
“We wanted to make this location very ‘Miami,’ ” Grutman says. “It’s my first restaurant on South Beach, so we wanted it to have that ‘sunshine, beach’ look.”
Executive chef David Lee curates an eclectic menu of meat- and dairy-free items. Planta serves a slate of vegan and vegetarian ceviches, salads and sushi while also incorporating pizza, burgers, pasta and other plates, such as spring rolls and octopus.
To start, focus on the coconut ceviche, a blend of avocado, corn nuts, lime and tortilla chips; or the kelp Caesar, made with kelp noodles, cashew Caesar dressing, Brussels sprouts, almond shavings, capers and garlic croutons. The Meat Lover Pizza, meanwhile, is layered with farro “sausage,” roasted garlic, cashew “mozzarella” and mushroom “bacon.”
Planta’s sushi bar offers a variety of sushi and nigari-style ingredients made with fruits and vegetables. There’s mushroom “nigiri” drizzled with truffle soy; maki rolls stuffed with spinach, carrot and tahini; and a chef’s selection, which includes six pieces of nigiri, eight pieces of maki, a six-piece rice roll with a garden salad bowl.
“Miami’s menu is the only Planta with a full sushi bar,” Grutman says. “We are also really excited about the garden on the roof allowing us to have roof-to-table dishes.”
Other standout items range from steamed dumplings filled with shiitake mushrooms, chickpea fries, charred “octopus” made with king oyster mushrooms instead of fish, and a meatless burger topped with mustard and chipotle sauce.
Of course, a restaurant on South Beach must be equipped with cocktails. At Planta, you’ll find cold-pressed concoctions such as the Charcoal Bourbon Sour flavored with aquafaba, lemon and activated charcoal syrup; or the Shiso Bubbly, blended with lime, grape and prosecco.
For dessert, opt for avocado lime cheesecake with a dollop of raspberry puree or the young Thai coconut, a coconut basil and chia seed pudding with a passion fruit sorbet.
“You can never be too sure what I have planned. But let’s just say this is only the beginning,” Grutman says. “My visions have no limits. We’re excited to see how Planta takes off in its new location. We know it’ll be a huge success.”
Location: 850 Commerce St., Miami Beach
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 5:30 p.m.-midnight; brunch Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Contact: plantarestaurants.com; 305.397.8513