The joie de vivre of St. Tropez meets South Beach at La Cave d’Azur, the storefront wine cellar of Villa Azur. Sit at one of the high top tables in the small space with stone floors and surrounded by temperature-controlled glass cases filled with bottles or dine al fresco. The menu of small dishes is supplemented with plats du jour listed on a chalkboard.
The same French partners and long-time friends who run Villa Azur are behind the cellar. Jean-Phillipe Bernard, a restaurant and club manager, actor Olivier Martinez and Miami-based nightclub promoter Michael Martin wanted to create a neighborhood place where locals could grab a bite with wine. Artist Patrick Constantin, a native of Aix-en-Provence, is the manager with the help of Catalina Carracedo, who is also the accountant and wife of Jean-Philippe.
Daytime chef Jean-Francois Treguilly turns out specials like Little Neck clams steamed in white wine, monkfish with peppers and corn and strawberry éclairs available a la carte, or as a three-course meal. Bruschetta toast trios are topped with grilled veggies and pecorino or pesto, mozzarella and diced tomato. The charcuterie assortment includes house-made pate, bresaola, saucisson sec, rosette de Lyon salami, foie gras terrine and ham with onion confit and cornichons. The cheese board has Camembert, Emmental, gorgonzola and Roquefort with walnuts, perfect with a glass of Chateau de Marres Rose from the South of France. There’s also steak or tuna tartar and sea bream ceviche formed in cakes served on greens.
Taste the sweet life with hazelnut mousse or raspberry macarons.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who blogs at FoodIndiaCook.com.