A little gem of a restaurant quietly opened their doors this past February 2018, in the Buena Vista area, just north of Mandolin Aegean Bistro, at 4702 NE 2nd Avenue.
Palat Restaurant is an eye-catching spot, and made me do a double take as I was driving by. I hadn’t heard a thing about it, but decided to try it on a whim, for lunch. It was so good, I returned for dinner the next day.
Apparently, this restaurant is the latest addition to the Aldo Lamberti family of restaurants. They have restaurants in New Jersey and Philadelphia, but this is their first venture in Miami. The executive chef is the son of Aldo, Pippo Lamberti. His menu features contemporary Mediterranean and Italian inspired tapas. There are dishes from Spain, France and Italy.
The space is attractive – a casual, industrial chic, and stylish atmosphere. The floors are concrete, the ceiling and walls warm it up with beautiful wood and hanging Edison lightbulbs. There are exposed ducts, a semi-circular bar, and an open kitchen. The restaurant seats about 70 people, including a few outdoor tables. They do have a walled-in outdoor space that looks like it may be used as a patio in the future.
The big surprise is, the food is actually good, the prices are moderate and the servers are friendly. Pastas and desserts are made in-house, the rice is from Italy and they try and use many local ingredients.
At lunch, I was given the option of ordering from the lunch or dinner menu. There were ten selections on the lunch menu, with things like gnocchi Pomodoro, with fresh tomatoes, burrata and basil, for a reasonable $13, or a chicken paillard, with arugula and endive for $12, or a grilled cheese sandwich with Mahon truffle. I opted for the cobia ceviche on the dinner menu, and finished with an excellent white chocolate pannacotta with citrus.
There is also a happy hour here with reasonably priced drinks and snacks.
The dinner menu starts with a charcuterie section, followed by salads, crostinis, small plates, veggies and three large plates.
I read some reviews where people complained about the portion sizes, but this is tapas, and you are encouraged to try lots of different dishes. We started with a charcuterie plate while we perused the menu. They use Sullivan Street Bakery bread for the charcuterie and the crostini, and they prove that Zak the Baker is not the only game in town.
The snapper filet was colourful presentation with tomatoes and roasted potatoes. The hanger steak was cooked sous vide for 24 hours, and was SO tender. It was served with parsnips and sweet, heirloom carrots. The truffle porcini risotto, made with Acquetello rice was good but if I’m being honest was a little disappointing.
The sides here are not an afterthought. The charred broccolini were cooked perfectly and the fried zucchini sticks were addictive.
There are lots of options for vegetarians and people with gluten allergies. If you are looking for large format plates they offer a whole local snapper, a prime skirt steak or a whole deboned chicken done in a truffle jus.
I am concerned that the tourist season has just wound down. I hope this place will get some local traffic this summer, it really is a gem turning out some pretty sophisticated flavours and quality dishes. There is valet parking just north of the restaurant. Parking at lunch is complimentary and $5 at night.