Divine Dining and Design in Miami Restaurants

Inspired design and good taste are on the menu at these four Miami restaurants


Regal Touch

Art Deco glamour rules at Queen

When restaurateur Mathieu Massa purchased the former Paris Theater in Miami Beach, he had very specific plans to transform the 1945 Henry Hohauser-designed property into Queen, an Art Deco supper club defined by Rat Pack nostalgia. To achieve his vision, he turned to interior designer Carlos Rodriguez (then with ModPlay Studio) who understood that notion of glamour quite well. Rodriguez delivered said vision and then some. Queen is a forum (for singers, dancers, and chef Mitchell Hesse’s stellar cuisine) that’s a showplace unto itself marked by details such as hand-carved teak, custom Italian mosaics, gold leaf, brass slat, and dramatic crystal chandeliers. All that and you’ve yet to arrive at the Calacatta Viola marble bar, the ideal perch to take in all the action. 

History Lesson

Design maestro Ken Fulk goes for a classic retro mix at Casadonna in Edgewater

“We delved deep into the history of Miami architecture and high society as we researched this project and landed on a shared vision that combined the decrepit grandeur of Vizcaya with the exotic allure of the Long Bar at Raffles in Singapore, along with a dash of Old Hollywood thrown in for good measure,” says superstar designer Ken Fulk of his design approach at Casadonna, the massive, 20,000-square-foot restaurant that recently took over the Miami Women’s Club building on Bayshore Drive in Edgewater. “The materials and color palette are meant to feel timeworn for a sense of that history, and the shape of all the custom seating nods to the 1920s.” Among the many areas of the eatery is the Courtyard Bar, replete with arched windows and a retractable roof; the Garden Dining Room, which was designed to feel like a classic plaster-finished conservatory; the Loggia Dining Room, which is marked by parquet flooring, detailed millwork and blown-glass chandeliers that are impossible to miss; and the Ocean Bar, an area with various intimate arrangements that span the length of the bay-facing terrace. 

Castle Cachet

A palatial manor proves majestic for Chateau ZZ’s

For its eighth venture in Miami, Major Food Group upped the ante on location. The appropriately named Chateau ZZ’s (MFG’s first Mexican eatery) is located in what was once the Petit Douy, a castle-like estate designed by architect Martin L. Hampton that served as the private home of John and Sheelah Murrel for more than 50 years. Finished in 1931, the property is an homage to the buildings in the French village of Douy, a place that held special memories for the Murrels. As such, the hallmarks of Petit Douy (a rare example of Period Revival-style architecture) include two octagonal towers with tent roofs, a parapet gable roof, and trefoil arch windows with leaded or stained glass. Inside are various dining environments enlivened by designer Ken Fulk’s signature touches: textured seating, animal prints, floral arrangements, and impressive crystal chandeliers. 

Supper Supreme

Jazz Age nostalgia saturates the look of Brickell’s Delilah

As John Terzian, co-founder of the h wood Group and owner of Delilah on Brickell puts it, the latest outpost of his beloved restaurant concept “embodies the decadence, glamour, and sophistication of the Jazz Age to create a dining and entertainment experience unlike any other in the city.” Terzian’s vision was brought to life by Built Design with a palette of light pink, teal, and gold. While aesthetically honest to its predecessors in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Delilah’s East Coast incarnation does feature some of what Built Design calls “classic Miami flair” in the way of intricate ceiling soffits with bright wallcoverings, a grand stairwell entrance, and top-tier marble and other natural stones everywhere one looks. Look even closer and you’ll notice the signature caricatures of local notables by artist Blue Logan that adorn the walls, menus, and lamps. All of this is preceded by a lobby covered in rich burl wood that heralds the exciting sights to come. 

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Text by Christopher Day

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