Restaurant News & Reviews

Can this vegan restaurant by a nightlife impresario make plant-based dining cool?

The Habibi bowl at Planta
The Habibi bowl at Planta

Nightlife guru (and now restaurateur) David Grutman opens an outpost of Toronto’s popular Planta, a vegan restaurant with its own rooftop garden in South Beach. Chef David Lee leads the kitchen.

The space

Undeniably chic, the airy and whitewashed compound in South of Fifth has soaring ceilings, black and white flooring, skylights, an indoor courtyard and a bar adorned with copper pineapples.

Healthy cocktails?

Planta_Aloe Views
The “healthy” cocktails at Planta include one with aloe.

Well, yes. Concoctions blend vice with virtue by using cold-pressed juices and healing ingredients like activated charcoal in the Charcoal Bourbon Sour or the kombucha-spiked mojito.

Be prepared to eat

Planta_Crab Cakes
The “crab” cakes at Planta are made with hearts of palm.

Plant-based dishes that appeal to the uninitiated. Effort is made to cloak the plant-based cooking in familiar ways – “crab cakes” (made with hearts of palm), a variety of pizzas and things like cauliflower tots and coconut ceviche. This SoBe outpost also features a plant-based sushi bar with things like dehydrated watermelon nigiri. Prices are on par for South Beach with starters $11-$18 and mains $19-$25.

Start things off with the cauli tots and the charred “octopus,” really oyster mushrooms festooned with edible flowers, pico de gallo, chulpe corn and coconut milk.

Planta_The6ix Pizza
Pizza’s are plant based at Planta.

Watermelon poke is dressed with smashed avocado and nori chips while the coconut ceviche comes with corn nuts, lime and taro chips. The “Habibi salad bowl” is a Middle-Eastern melange of cauliflower couscous, split pea fritters, lentils, parsley, mint, coriander, currants, sumac, za’atar and tahini dressing.

The burger is a hefty patty made of black beans, mashed lentils and beetroot and comes with a nice portion of fries. Meat and cheese-less pizzas include the The Frenchie made with mushrooms, squash, eggplant, olives, cashew mozzarella and basil and a “Meat Lovers” topped with mushroom “bacon” and farro that’s supposed to resemble crumbled fennel sausage.

Planta_Burger
The burger at Planta is a hefty patty made of black beans, mashed lentils and beetroot.

Desserts are righteous-yet-indulgent with The Chocolate Terrarium made with dairy-free chocolate mousse, peanut butter cream, chocolate cake, salted caramel and a cashew milk softer serve topped with berries.

Bottom line

Proving that veganism is definitely cool (and now mainstream?), Grutman’s Planta is a buzzy spot for virtuous plant-based food.

First Look offers a preview of new area restaurants and is not intended to be an anonymous, critical review.

850 Commerce St., Miami Beach. 305-397-8513

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