Acclaimed iconic Miami chef Michael Schwartz is going back to his roots with his newest restaurant concept coming to Brickell later this October.
With the debut of Fi’lia (pronounced feel-e-ah), Schwartz will launch his first Italian concept, rooted in simplicity and fresh ingredients, as part of the SLS Brickell Hotel and Residences, a new property rising in Miami’s own “mini-Manhattan” at 1300 S. Miami Ave., in partnership with the Related Group.
And the James Beard award-winning chef (2010) won’t be alone. His neighbor on-property will be legendary Spanish chef Jose Andrés, himself a James Beard award winner (2011), who will be opening Bazaar Mar, celebrating the bounty of the oceans with a seasonal emphasis on Miami and the Caribbean. It will be Andrés’ second restaurant in Miami (The Bazaar) in partnership with sbe, which runs the SLS portfolio, and he will also oversee food and beverage for the property’s in-room dining, mezzanine and pool bar.
“Both José and Michael bring creativity, passion and world-renowned cuisine to our new property in Miami’s ever-growing business district,” said Sam Nazzarian, Chairman and CEO of sbe. “We are looking forward to making SLS Brickell a true culinary destination.”
Fi’lia (which is a play on Figlia, the Italian word for ‘daughter’, of which Schwartz has two) will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and feature Italian food highlighting fresh ingredients from the hearth and the simplicity of handmade artisanal breads and pasta. Rustic pizzas from the wood oven showcase beautiful produce in season in special combinations. Caesar salad is tossed tableside in a shower of shaved parmigiano from a roaming cart. Cocktails will be “uncomplicated” and more about that unpretentiously perfect spritz. The wine list will highlight Italian regional varietals and American wines with an old world sensibility.
It’s that nod to the old world that is laying the foundation for Schwartz with this restaurant, his first in Brickell, and fifth in Miami (the landmark Michael’s Genuine in the Design District, Cypress Tavern, and Harry’s Pizzeria in both the Design District and Coconut Grove). His first job was working in the kitchen of an Italian restaurant with “old Italian ladies that made amazing pasta.”
“They were all about the ingredients and were doing some things that were forward thinking for that time,” Schwartz said. “That was my foundation for cooking. I didn’t go to culinary school. That really set a good base level to learn and grow from. So it’s exciting in some ways to go back to that time with this project.”
However, Schwartz is quick to point out that Fi’lia (pictured at top) will not be a typical, authentic or regional Italian restaurant.
“You’re not going to find red sauce Italian or literal dishes that speak to you as Italian,” Schwartz said. “But we are excited about the open part of the kitchen that has been incorporated into the bar and there is a big, front and center wood burning grill and wood fired oven. We are going to make our own bread and all our pizza toppings will be in house, and we’ll have a great gelato program. So while those things are typical Italian, what we do with them will be a less literal and understated from a typical Italian restaurant.”
What else won’t be typical? Two restaurants helmed by James Beard award winning chefs on the the same property. Nowhere else in Miami will be able to boast of that, and Schwartz knows expectations will be high.
“Teaming up with Jose is super exciting and challenging and keeping up with him and what he does there will be exciting and dynamic,” Schwartz said.
Rendering of Bazaar Mar at SLS Brickell
Bazaar Mar will include everything from “sea snacks” like ceviches, seaweeds, and tiraditos to an extensive raw bar to spiny lobster and Florida’s own stone crabs. Whole fish will be prepared in a number of ways— including grilled with a whisper of smokiness from the premium Josper grill, a centerpiece of the restaurant. True to Andrés’ native country, the menu includes dishes inspired by Spain, as well as Bazaar classics. Along with hand-crafted cocktails, the restaurant’s beverage list will include carefully curated Spanish and international wines to complement the seafood and other dining options.
“I love Miami – the people, the food, the energy – this city is amazing!,” Andrés said. “ I’m thrilled to be bringing a second Bazaar with a focus on seafood to this incredible city that has given me so much.”
The two restaurants will also enter a highly competitive dining scene in Brickell which is densely populated by existing residential and hotels and new construction of both. That built-in audience is something that energized Schwartz when sbe approached him about creating a restaurant that not only serves the hotel but can also anchor a community.
“There is something to be said about opening a restaurant where there’s people. And it’s not been my m.o., but I saw what kind of impact that has [for Harry’s Pizzeria] in the Grove,” Schwartz said. “The way the restaurant is situated, we will be very accessible to locals along with hotel guests and tourists. Brickell, in a lot of ways, the area isn’t walking friendly. But then there are these pockets with lots of walking traffic and activity and I think within that little part there will be nothing like what we are going to do and on the level of how we are going to do it. I am super excited about it.”