The Vagabond Restaurant & Bar, 7301 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, Florida 33138
If you love art, atmosphere and amazing food, the Vagabond Restaurant & Bar is the newest “IT” place to be. The hotel (built back in the 50’s,) has been remodeled, revamped and re-imagined; all while leaving its original charm and sassy Art Deco attitude intact.
Even though the place is operating on the DL (so far they’ve only had a hush-hush soft opening,) they’ve still managed to attract every mover and shaker the Magic City has to offer. For good reason, too. I went on a Friday night and the place was packed with just the right amount of people, giving off just the right kind of vibe: laid-back and local.
My dining experience was an exact reflection of the aforementioned, but it also encompassed the tastes and textures of the unique and the unusual, too. I started the night with two cocktails: “East of the Tracks” (made with Milagro Tequila, smoked pineapple and Ancho Reyes) and the “Bissap Mule” (Tito’s Vodka, lemon bissap, ginger and mint.) Both drinks were smooth, easy to drink and creative. (The bright pinkish-red drink pictured in the blog was only for looks.)
The “Mango Salad” (green mango, pickled fruits, fresh milk and mint) wasn’t just pretty, it was incredibly light on the palette. The “Foie Gras Torchon” was all kinds of yummy and made perfectly (creamy with a cured sweetness) but it was the “Issan-Style Beef Tartare” (lychee, key lime mint) that really stole my heart. It was incredibly fresh, succulent and at the same time remarkably simple. I could have died and gone to heaven right then and there, but alas, there was more food to be had.
I really enjoyed the “Roasted Market Fish” of the day, which was a grouper (made with turnip dashi, pickled mustard seed and purple pac choi,) until they served the “Whole Roasted Yellowtail Snapper.” Holy fish, Batman! Not only was it massive, it tasted spectacular. I’m a sucker, though, for a great sauce and whatever it was soaking in reminded me of a full-bodied curry (made with preserved sour orange, chermoula and turnips.) It was my absolute favorite, along with the beef tartare. On the side, I gobbled up an order of “Blistered Cauliflower” (made with grilled goat’s milk and smoked trout roe.)
I passed on dessert, but made my way outside to the pool bar for a nightcap. It was a beautiful, balmy night and the cement pond was literally aglow with different shades of blue. Skinny spouts of water (reminiscent of a grand Vegas hotel) adorned each corner of the pool, giving off a tropical paradise kind of feel.
With a full tummy, I nestled into a tall, but uber-comfy braided patio chair and let the night whisper into my ear: “Come back real soon” and that’s why the “Vagabond Restaurant & Bar” is one of my favorite things.
The hotel and restaurant is located in the popular Upper East Side area of Miami, right on Biscayne Boulevard. Over the last few years, the neighborhood has undergone a major face lift, with all kinds of restaurants and stores setting up shop. This part of the city is all about the locals and you’ll relish the fact that it’s off the beach and away from the hustle and bustle of tourism.
Sunday 6pm-10pm, Tues thru Thur 6pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 6pm-12pm. Closed on Monday.
Reservations: 786-409-5635 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor: Matthew Auerbach
Photographer: James Woodley
Writer: Shireen Sandoval
Producer: Jessie Rosario