Paon is a small gem of a restaurant.
It has an eclectic tapas menu in an intimate setting, where guests get to know each other. The name makes sense when you learn the Argentine husband and wife owners honeymooned in Bali where they enjoyed dining in humble eateries known as paon, constructed of bamboo with wood-fired stoves.
Start With These Dishes
Start simple with sourdough bread, butter and sea salt or a thick square of blackened brioche toast topped with a melting wedge of brie. Or get creamy corn soup, accompanied by a fried empanada filled with a sweet corn filling. The couscous salad comes with greens, pumpkin, cucumber, tomato and goat cheese or try greens with strawberries, avocado and mozzarella.
There’s also a wonderful Spanish potato omelet with aioli, roasted cauliflower with gazpacho sauce and asparagus puree. A char-grilled tentacle of octopus is served on eggplant puree. A cottony steamed bao buns with mushrooms or shrimp with curry mayo are a nod to Asia. Also hard to resist is the burrata with thin slices of mango drizzled in aged balsamic with mint.
Share These Dishes
Order the grilled wild Argentine shrimp on a golden shredded potato rosti cake. Juices from sliced portobello and shittake mushrooms combine with the pan juices and truffle oil, a soft egg and garlic chips. For a sharable main course, try wide ribbons of pappardelle, mushroom and asparagus in cream sauce, with a runny egg yolk. Or go with local red snapper with grilled romaine and capers. Or try the grilled salmon with kale, scallions and corn with a side of triple-cooked fries.
Save Room For Dessert
The must have here is the chilled flourless chocolate cake in a glass jar made with Belgian chocolate that is the texture of brownie batter with super smooth and creamy house made vanilla ice cream. Or get the soft dulce de leche flan that tastes like butterscotch pudding.
What makes It Special
Chef Frederico A. Cassino is from Buenos Aires where he grew up eating the Italian and Spanish dishes his grandmother and mother cooked—his mom took cooking classes from Francis Mallmann at his restaurant 30 years ago before he had a global empire. After a stint at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Barcelona, he and his wife, Sofia Rodriguez Kandeler, opened their first restaurant in Buenos Aires. Last year they relocated to Miami to join the burgeoning restaurant scene, opening almost a year ago. While only a few blocks from the glitz of Bal Harbor, this is a beacon to gastronomy from a true mom-and-pop team that’s affordable enough to become a hang out.
If you go
Place: Paon Eatery Tapas Bar
Address: 1076 Kane Concourse, Bay Harbor Islands
Contact: 786-348-0672, paoneatery.com
Hours: Monday-Friday 5-10 p.m., Saturday 6-10 p.m.
Prices: Tapas/small plates $3-$21, salads $14, entrees $20-$32, desserts $8
F.Y.I. Happy hour 5-6:30 p.m. daily with two for one drinks and $5 small bites