Pioneered in Miami beginning in the 1980s, contemporary Latin and fusion cuisine are still very much a mainstay of the South Florida dining scene. But what I find especially appealing and intriguing about Diego Texera’s little jewel of a spot between downtown and Coral Gables is its provenance (there are lots of Venezuelans in Miami, but darn few spots to sample their cuisine, let alone nouvelle versions thereof) and its setting (a charming, homespun-feeling bungalow from the 1930s tucked into an otherwise blah stretch of Coral Way). Much of the menu changes regularly, but standouts I’ve had recently include a silky, soulful corn chowder; tostones (flattened fried plantains) topped with ceviche; duck with tamarind coulis; a bready Venezuelan specialty called tequeños, stuffed with cheese and served with a guava sauce zinged with chipotle; and custard made from the tropical fruit guanábana (much tastier than its pucker-up name in English, soursop). Regular tasting menus are available. And heads up, vegetarians: Texera has a macrobiotic background, so there’s usually something nice here for you, too. If you’re up for venturing a bit off the beaten path, you’ll be glad you did.
- David Paul Appell