Ex-Joe Allen chef runs Seven Seas Fish Market in Little Haiti

Nicolas Paulino and his wife, Ana, opened Seven Seas Restaurant and Fish Market in a former Bible store in Little Haiti’s Sabal Palm Shopping Center about 15 months ago.

The aroma of strong coffee fills the small space, which has a counter with stools, a handful of tables, colorful Caribbean art on the walls, and a menu of Dominican and American dishes. 

The Paulinos moved from San Francisco de Macorís in the Dominican Republic to New York about 25 years ago to be with family.

Nicolas worked in hotel restaurants and learned to cook from a video culinary course and lessons from his mother. He got a job at Joe Allen in New York and moved his family to Miami when his work transferred him to the restaurant’s Miami Beach location, where he cooked for 16 years. (The local outpost closed in 2011.)

At Seven Seas, the Paulinos offer homemade soups, burgers, sandwiches, pastas, seafood and steaks. Start the day with mangu: boiled and mashed green plantain topped with onions and a fried egg, cheese and salami. There’s always seafood and rice soup. 

On Wednesday go for New England-style conch chowder served with toasted Cuban bread and hot sauce. Recent specials included bacalao (salt cod) stewed with tomato and peppers, turkey meatballs in garlic sauce with spaghetti, sausage ravioli and whole fried snapper with tostones. 

Tilapia, tuna and other fish can be cooked any way, from pan-seared to deep-fried. Regular dishes include pasta with shrimp and pesto, skirt steak with rice and beans, and a salmon sandwich with tartar sauce. End with Ana’s flan in caramel sauce.