Area 31, the breathtaking new restaurant on the 16th floor of the Epic Hotel, delivers guests a dramatic menu of fresh, premium seafood prepared with a Mediterranean influence. The restaurant, which debuted December 15, features seafood from its namesake region Fishing Area 31, the ecologically sound marine waters of the Western Central Atlantic including the entire Florida coast, Central America and northern South America, with its menu created by rising star John Critchley. Critchley hails from Boston where he worked extensively with world-renowned Chef Ken Oringer. The menu is complemented with a wine list expertly assembled by Master Sommelier Emily Wines along with an innovative cocktail list from Master Mixologist Jacques Bezuidenhout. Critchley transports his passion for the ocean directly to the table with an international menu featuring pristine seafood sourced predominantly from Fishing Area 31.
Area 31’s menu is divided into several sections highlighting the diverse nature of the restaurant. The Crudo selection offers an exquisite selection of raw fish including Stone Crab, Yellowfin Tuna and Key West Pink Shrimp. The Grilled Fish selection includes Spanish Mackerel, Mangrove Snapper, Royal Red Shrimp Corvina, Cuttlefish, Wahoo and Mahi Mahi paired with daily made sauces such as Pepperoni (roasted pepper, basil, olive oil), Salmoriglio (olive oil, lemon, fresh herbs) and Salsa Verde (shallots, garlic, capers). The Primi Piatti offers fresh pastas, perfect for sharing, including Chittara, Cavatelli and Gnocchi with Tuna Bolognese, while a delectable assortment of entrées on the Secondi Piatti including Sautéed Red Snapper, Salt-crusted Dorade, Wood-grilled Spiny Lobster and Grilled Leg of Lamb.
Dining at Area 31 extends onto the outdoor terrace and pool deck with breathtaking views of the Miami River and Biscayne Bay. Surrounding the two glass mosaic infinity pools, contemporary metal daybeds invite guests to lounge in style while ample chaises, ottomans and benches comfortably seat small and large groups. The private cabanas and casitas offer special menus serving luxurious afternoon aperitifs, Champagnes, chocolates and truffles, fruits and cheeses and light lunches. For an unforgettable evening under the stars guests are invited to indulge in Chef Critchley’s exclusive Casita Dinner menu offering crudo, grilled fish, pastas and traditional Paella Valenciana with paired cocktails and wine.
Master Sommelier Emily Wines, from the Michelin-starred Fifth Floor restaurant in San Francisco, created the extensive wine list featuring Mediterranean vintages along with wines from the Americas. A large half bottle list of more than 25 selections will be available along with an ample list of wines by the glass. The thoughtful wine collection offers a broad range of great value wines for the everyday diner, as well as small production, hard-to-find, yet approachable bottles for guests celebrating a special night.
Master Mixologist Jacques Bezuindenhout introduced a selection of innovative cocktails evoking Miami’s magic. Reminiscent of La Floridita, a landmark in Havana, Cuba, Bezuindenhout’s libations include Cucumber and Passion Fruit Tequila Mojitos, old-fashioned Daiquiris simply created with lime juice, sugar and rum, and classic Cachaça Caipirinhas. Bezuindenhout will round out the menu with Mediterranean inspired cocktails including Bellinis and Limoncello Martinis.
The 16th floor restaurant, designed by famed Los Angeles designer Cheryl Rowley, offers warm, graceful simplicity and understated elegance through the adept use of texture and light. Contrasting patterns and materials such as stone, glass, patinaed-metals, warm woods and refined textiles in a rich, neutral palette come together to create rhythm, movement and interest. Area 31 also boasts two private dining rooms with floor to ceiling views of Brickell Avenue, the river and downtown as well as a 300-person ballroom embellished with a sea of illuminated glass spheres suspended throughout the ceiling. Walls are a continuous rhythm of pearl-ized textured wall coverings and wood wainscot punctuated by recessed vertical light coves. Wood clad columns frame the urban vistas glimpsed through the 12-foot high windows.