What: Essensia, 3025 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida 33140
Why: I love it when I can go out to eat and not be hungover the next day. I’m not talking about liquor, either; I’m talking about food. I don’t do food hangovers and that’s one of the main reasons I love the “Essensia Restaurant & Lounge,” inside the Palms Hotel. The cuisine is “healthy, creative and flavorful”.
Chef Julie Frans not only whips up some of the best “natural gourmet” in the Magic City, she looks pretty good while doing it, too. Julie has a terrific bright, clean energy and it translates into her food. My favorite items on the menu include the Signature Kale Caesar Salad, Grilled Octopus and Thai Lemongrass Soup.
The soup was actually so yummy (made with coconut milk, kaffir lime, tomato, mushroom, bok choy and thai herbs,) it knocked my socks off. That’s not the best kept secret, though: just behind the hotel’s Tiki Bar is Essensia’s Organic Chef’s Garden, maintained by Frans. It’s a green, sprawling delight of herbs and seasonal produce used daily for their delicious recipes. It doesn’t get any fresher than that. The bottom line: they care about what they feed you and how it makes you feel.
Where: The restaurant/bar is tucked away neatly on the first floor of The Palms Hotel & Spa on Miami Beach. I’ve always loved this property because of it’s ridiculously gorgeous grounds. What’s more, it’s a hotel that not only caters to tourists, it celebrates its homegrown crowd, too; with stay-cation and spa specials.
I really like the feel of the hotel, which has this unpretentious regalness to it; reminiscent of an old, well-maintained, tropical Southern mansion, if you will. Parking is a bit tricky, as it’s right on the ever-busy and bustling Collins Avenue. They do have valet, but as usual on the beach, it’s a pretty penny.
When: Essensia is open for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch & Dinner.
Breakfast: Daily 7am-11am
Lunch: Monday-Saturday 11am-3pm
Brunch: Sundays 11am-3pm
Dinner: Sunday-Thursday 6pm-10pm, Friday-Saturday 6pm -11pm
Editor: Matthew Auerbach
Photo: t4two photography
Producer: Jessie Rosario
Writer: Shireen Sandoval