Mall food is really looking up in Miami. For instance, Aventura Mall, opened its new food hall, Treats, this year with Luke’s Lobster, Shake Shack, My Ceviche, Figs by Todd English, among others. On the first floor of the mall, outside, near the new giant slide, are some outdoor restaurants, like CVI.CHE 105, PubBelly Sushi, that I have already reviewed, Pain Quotidien, and the newly opened Genuine Pizza by Michael Schwartz, to name a few. Yes, that Michael Schwartz, the James Beard award-winning chef of Michael’s Genuine, hence the name of his new endeavour. He has rebranded his Harry’s Pizzeria from the Design District and will be expanding this new restaurant in 18 locations in the next 3 years, throughout the States.
Located in the new wing, on the ground floor, outside near the sculpture garden and landmark slide, this new 3,500 square foot spot is lighter, airier, and better than its predecessor. Done in light woods, featuring a long moss wall, yellow and grey tiles, orange bar stools, an open kitchen with a wood-burning pizza oven and bar, an outdoor patio and a dough making room up front. There are a dozen daily pizzas, but they were very flexible and let us create our own custom version. You can also get any pizza gluten-free for an additional $3. The prices ranged from a reasonable $13-17. My Margherita was a thin crust, with just the right balance of mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil. We made a custom chicken, arugula and mushroom pizza. There were also choices like short rib and gruyere, with caramelized onions and arugula, rock shrimp with roasted lemon, manchego, scallion and cilantro, or slow roasted pork, with fig, onion and fontina cheese. The pies were tasty but did get cool quickly due to the thinness. There was a snack section with daily soup, polenta fries, oven roasted chicken wings, and meatballs.
There were half a dozen salad selections, like, warm Brussels sprouts and burrata with sliced pears, pistachios in a creamy Parmigiano! I know, decadent. Or healthier choices like orange and radish with shaved fennel, or kale with roasted beets, goat cheese, and sunflower dressing. There is also Harry’s chopped salad, an old favorite. They round out the menu with 4 entrees if you are not a pizza eater. Pan roasted churrasco, oven roasted 1/2 chicken, pan seared mahi-mahi, or for vegetarian lovers, a roasted eggplant with stewed tomatoes, farro, gremolata, and feta. There is also a choice of four desserts ranging from panna cotta, to a banana nutella panini, to a warm chocolate chip cookie.
They serve wine and beers, but no hard liquor.
The food is sourced from local and ethical producers.
With all the great choices, including Genuine Pizza, you no longer have to dread eating at the mall. You can be seated and served in a clean and relaxing environment, catering to a more sophisticated diner.
Food courts are out, food halls and free-standing restaurants are in.