This hidden gem in Normandy Isles gives South Florida a taste of California

Camargue rice with scallops at Silverlake Bistro.
Camargue rice with scallops at Silverlake Bistro.

Silverlake Bistro is a love story revolving around food and wine with a retro ‘70s feel. The owners, Benoit Rablat and Sandy Sanchez, both lived in the hipster Silver Lake neighborhood east of Hollywood, California.

They met working at Osteria Mozza, but when Sandy had a family crisis, they moved to Hialeah where Sandy, who is Cuban-American, grew up. There they opened a local favorite, La Fresa Francesa, six years ago.

Silverlake Bistro is their ode to California-inspired cuisine. It has a woodland creature theme inspired by the hills in L.A. where Sandy marveled at the urban wildlife — chipmunks, squirrels and the occasional fox.

Start With These Dishes

Roasted rainbow carrots with crushed pistachios at Silverlake Bistro. Linda Bladholm

Launch a meal here with gnocchi mac and cheese. The potato pillows are seared in duck fat with bits of pork belly, smoked Gouda and breadcrumbs. Or get the mini St. Helena grilled cheese sandwich oozing buttery taleggio, topped with a runny egg drizzled in truffle infused honey. Try the roasted rainbow carrots with crushed pistachios.

Mussels Rouquefort at Silverlake Bistro. Linda Bladholm

Another notable dish is the mussels with Roquefort cheese in garlic-laced white wine, served with thick slices of toasted filone (Italian baguette) from Sullivan Street Bakery. Other options include veal meatballs in San Marzano tomato sauce with grated pecorino cheese or the cheese and charcuterie platter with nuts, pickles, mustard and jam.

Share These Dishes

Mains are large enough to pass around. The double burger has two patties on a big bun with bacon, porcini mushroom mayonnaise, house steak sauce and skinny fries. There’s also roasted purple cauliflower with earthy Le Puy lentils over thick yogurt labneh with bagna cauda anchovy and garlic dip.

Roasted purple cauliflower with Le Puy lentils at Silverlake Bistro Linda Bladholm

Nutty black Camargue rice from the delta of the Rhone valley comes topped with four, plump pan-seared scallops from Massachusetts with tarragon gastrique. The reduction of sugar and vinegar is infused with pine and licorice notes.

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Camargue rice with scallops at Silverlake Bistro. Linda Bladholm

A small pan-seared branzino is split open, served with herb butter and steamed Swiss chard. Lamb shank is braised in Napa Cabernet plated with cranberry beans, roasted poblano peppers and harissa hot sauce. It’s the couples take on American food with global touches so raise a glass — maybe with Good Karma, a dry riesling from the Finger Lakes region of New York.

Save Room For Dessert

Butterscotch custard at Silverlake Bistro. Linda Bladholm

The must-have is butterscotch custard, topped with Maldon sea salt crystals and a dollop of mascarpone, a perfect play of sweet, salty and creamy.

If You Go:

Place: Silverlake Bistro

Address: 1211 71st St., Miami Beach

Contact: 786-803-8113,

Hours: Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 5 p.m.-11 p.m.

Prices: Appetizers $7-$15, cheese & charcuterie $22-$26, mains $16-$28

F.Y.I. Happy hour Wednesday-Friday 5-6:30 p.m.