One can take a culinary voyage around the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea at Panarea Mediterranean Sea Grill. The theme is nautical with fish nets, anchors, bowls of dried sea urchins and wood buoys, while the menu sails to Morocco, Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Israel and Lebanon. Take the tour from the communal table in the main dining room, where the catch of the day is on display on ice, or in the back room or patio.
Start with These Dishes
Deep-fried artichokes with mint tzatziki, branzino crudo with pink peppercorns, marinated sardines with cucumber tomato salad or steamed mussels in white wine with garlic and shallots. There’s also fried sand smelt from Spain with zucchini and sage leaves; baked brie with figs, walnuts and pistachios; octopus with potatoes, chickpeas, mint, olives and lemon; and hummus and eggplant dip with the basket of Mediterranean breads. Another great option is the burrata with roasted red peppers and basil. Or get the spinaci e noci salad (spinach, fennel, radish, apricots and caramelized walnuts).
Share These Dishes
Seafood rules here so choose fresh fish fillets or a whole fish (branzino, snapper or grouper) and then select the preparation (olive oil, lemon and herbs or Moroccan chermoula with cumin, paprika, and saffron). There’s also a Tunisian tajine with snapper, vegetable stew and cinnamon-scented couscous with harissa, and scallops topped with chermoula served on couscous with shaved fennel salad. Share rectangular-shaped pinsa (Roman-style pizza from the Latin “to stretch”) with dough shaped by hand. Try the light and airy farro dough version with fresh mozzarella, bell peppers and slivers of zucchini or the Valencia with octopus, mozzarella, olives and chickpeas. Get your pasta fix with chitarra spaghetti with clams topped with a lobe of sea urchin or brie-and-walnut-stuffed agnolotti in creamy walnut sauce. Or try spirulina noodles made from seaweed with seasonal vegetables, tomatoes and olive oil or ravioli stuffed with a mixture of eggplant and grouper. There’s also Moroccan lamb stew with apricots, chickpeas, potatoes and carrots.
Save Room for Dessert
Choose the m’hanncha (the serpent), and get a coil of phyllo stuffed with a paste of dates and figs with walnuts, dusted in powdered sugar and drizzled with orange blossom honey.
What Makes It Special
Owner Luca Delog is from Sardinia and grew up on a simple Mediterranean diet focused on fresh fish, which he brings to Panarea, named after the second smallest island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. He hired Claudio Sandri, who is from Alba, Italy, and went to Colombatto Culinary School in Torino. He worked in Italy, Spain, Belgium, England and landed in Honduras teaching at a small culinary school and cooking in hotels. The two Italians have brought authentic Mediterranean fare to Miami and a changing menu is reason enough to visit more than once.
If you go
The place: Panarea Mediterranean Sea Grill
Address: 11052 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
Hours: Noon-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday (closed Monday), noon-3 p.m. and 5-11 p.m. Friday, 5-11 p.m. Saturday
Prices: Appetizers $8-$16, seafood $17-$39, salads $12-$14, entrees $19-$29