Byblos, 1545 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida 33140
Despite only being open for a little over a month, “Byblos” is one of the hottest places in town! When I went with my crew last Friday night, it was standing room only. The bar was beyond-packed and there wasn’t an empty seat in the house. The place was absolutely buzzing with a “hip and happening” type of atmosphere.
The Eastern Mediterranean restaurant, decorated in yellow, blues and washed-out whites, feels like a true Grecian getaway. Its warm, dim lighting and candle-laden walls and shelves makes for the perfect romantic night out on the town. Not only that, even though the place is new to the city (its flagship restaurant is based in Toronto,) it’s already participating in Miami Spice. Lucky me!
I started the night with the much-talked about “Gulab” cocktail (made with rose infused vodka, pomegranate syrup and fresh lime juice.) Out of all the Spotlights I’ve done, this drink is by far the most beautiful and tasty I’ve ever been offered. It reminded me of an exotic snow cone. (Note to self: go back for more.) The “Cucumber Swizzle” was just as interesting (made with gin, pressed cucumber juice and fresh mint.)
For Spice, “Byblos” offers three choices from its appetizer menu. I dined on the “Duck Kibbeh” (made with dried figs, date molasses and tahini,) “Salmon Kibbeh Nayeh” (with turkish paste, mint and labneh) and “Fresh Crispy Squid” (with yummy bandari spice, schug and toum.) Each plate had an interesting flavor and texture, but it was the duck that dazzled me. James, my photographer, loved the salmon because it was clean, yet succulent.
For dinner, you can choose one main course and a side. I went with the “Roasted Snapper” (doused with chraimeh sauce and house yogurt.) It was rich with an interesting mix of spices and for my side, I had the mind-blowing “Mejadra” (with lentils, labneh and fried shallots.) It was a big iron-cast bowl of yummy goodness. I liked it so much, I actually looked up its history. The Arab dish is so popular it’s said that: “A hungry man would be willing to sell his soul for a dish of mujaddara.” No doubt, this hungry woman agrees.
You can also choose one dessert from their Spice menu; I had the petite and pretty “Yogurt Mousse Pistachio Cake” (made with orange blossom water, pomegranate molasses and paradise farms flower jam.) This plate was almost too beautiful to eat; I especially loved the trimmings of fresh flower petals. I’d love to go back to “Byblos” when it’s not so crowded to enjoy its atmosphere in a more leisurely nature, but I guess for now, I have to share this popular gem with the rest of Miami. It’s definitely one of my new favorite things.
Byblos is smack dab in the middle of South Beach and is adjacent to the charmingly modern Royal Palm Hotel. If you’re visiting from out of town, you’ll love the restaurant/hotel location because it’s easy and convenient. You’re literally next to everything and anything you can dream of on vacation.
If you’re a local, you’ll need to give yourself extra time to make your way down Collins Avenue (because it tends to be extra busy on the weekend, especially as we’re going into tourist season (although, I think it’s always tourist season these days!) As for parking? Your best bet in the heart of SoBe is to valet! The hotel gives a preferred rate of $15 dollars if you’re dining at Byblos. Cheers!
Editor: Matthew Auerbach
Photographer: James Woodley
Producer: Jessie Rosario
Special thanks to Carma Public Relations.
Wanna be featured on Spotlight? Email me at ShireenSandoval@yahoo.com