As a Canadian, it amazes me how many new restaurants have opened during the Covid Pandemic in Miami. Even if you are not a fan of governor Ron de Santos, you have to admit he has kept businesses going, growing, and some are even thriving.
One such establishment is Wayku Restaurant at 74 NW 26th Street. It’s a beautifully designed 2,000 square feet indoor/outdoor space that seats a total of about 150. The patio is one of Miami’s prettiest, with lots of greenery, a roof that opens for alfresco dining, and an enjoyable playlist of music that uses traditional South American instruments. There is a bar upfront, as well as a large lounge and bar in the back. The crudo bar seats 5.
Chef Matteo Gritti, a 27-year-old wunderkind from Milan, who opened his first restaurant in Buenos Aires at only 23 years of age, and also worked in Michelin star restaurants back home in Italy, has opened the delightful Wayku with his partner and Argentinian restauranteur, Diego D’ Alvo, who has a successful chain of restaurants in Buenos Aires. Their plan is to open a chain of this restaurant across America.
The dishes are vibrant, well-presented and for the most part, palate appealing. Chef creatively mixes a medley of spices, flavours, and contrasts. The sea bass on a bed of brown quinoa with a bright red sauce by the chef himself is a showstopper dish. We loved his tender short rib and pea purée dish, as well as his cauliflower with mango and coconut curry sauce, basil oil, and orange zest. We also enjoyed the arancini, or crispy rice balls stuffed with goat cheese and burnt alioli.
There were only two desserts on offer. If I’m being honest I found the avocado cheesecake strange in texture and taste. The pink ruby volcano with pistachio gelato was better. Actually two thumbs up for the pistachio ice cream. It takes an Italian to make such a wonderful gelato.
The bar program was top-notch when it came to the cocktails. The wines need a little work. Mona Gallosi of Buenos Aires is a celebrated bartender and tv and radio personality. She came to our table and asked what we liked. She was willing to create a special cocktail for everyone. I had something called an Amazonas Cosmos, a vodka, Cointreau, and passion fruit blend. It was so good, I had two, which is highly unusual for this lightweight. My husband had one of the best Hendricks gin and tonics ever. The drinks are also reasonably priced at $12-15 dollars.
With a blend of Spanish, Peruvian, and even some Mexican flavours, the menu is small but well-chosen and artistically prepared. They serve a sophisticated and chic crowd, and it is a restaurant worth checking out.