A French ice skater and an Israeli developer joined forces to open Montefiore Café & Restaurant in a former Miami Beach bakery. There are still cakes and croissants, but the place is now a kosher-dairy restaurant offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner for locals. The menu includes omelets, salads, panini, fish, pastas, pizza with a chewy crust and crisp bottom and both savory and sweet crepes set in a cozy space with sidewalk dining under an awning.
Stephane Bernadis relocated his family from Paris to Miami after visiting relatives of his pairs skating partner. He liked the weather and saw potential in the bakery. Yoram Dori came here from Tel Aviv when his three kids asked for a fresh start after several vacations. He visited the bakery and hit it off with Stephane, who was looking for a partner to run the cafe when he is on skating tour. They hired chef Frank Fidillio, who grew up in the business in New York.
The café is named for Sir Moses Haim Montefiore, a banker, philanthropist and humanitarian who helped finance a Jewish community in Palestine and was knighted by Queen Victoria. Admire the murals over a ring-shaped baked Jerusalem bagel with a choice of filling or a plate of shakshouka with two runny-yolk eggs in thick tomato sauce with fried peppers, good with a side of lemony hummus and ciabatta toast.
The Volcano salmon burger is topped with spicy hot sauce and served with fries. Florida snapper amandine brings a lightly floured fillet sautéed in white wine and butter with toasted almonds served with green beans and rosemary roasted potatoes. The cheesy mushroom crepe oozes melted mozzarella with caramelized onions and herbs. Save room (portions are large) for moist yogurt cake or a slice of apple tart.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who blogs at FoodIndiaCook.com.