How this Indian restaurant is raising the foodie game in Kendall

Niven Patel will build on his wildly successful Ghee Indian Kitchen in Kendall by opening a second location in the Design District. He hopes to source more than half of all his produce for the restaurants from his home farm and has put a farmer on the restaurant’s payroll to make it happen.

Dinner just got a lot more interesting in Downtown Dadeland.

The head chef from one of Miami’s top restaurants is opening his own Indian restaurant alongside two new chef-driven spots in what is quickly becoming a foodie pocket in east Kendall.

Niven Patel, the former chef de cuisine at the Design District’s Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, will open a restaurant inspired by the lighter, veggie-forward side of his Indian culture in the Downtown Dadeland development. The 2,300 square-foot restaurant is expected to open in December.

Ghee Indian Kitchen’s cuisine won’t be based on the buttery, rich and heavy cuisine from northern India that most Americans are used to, Patel said. Instead, it will focus on bright, strong flavors, the menu changing with the seasons and some ingredients harvested from the backyard of Patel’s own 2-acre Homestead farm.

“My whole idea is to elevate Indian food where you can actually taste the flavors of spices and vegetables and meats, instead of it being masked by sauces and cream,” Patel said. “It’s not going to be typical in any way.”

Patel said he will be leaving the Cheeca Lodge & Spa, where he was running the resort’s three restaurants, in two weeks.

Downtown Dadeland recently welcomed restaurants by local whiz Jorgie Ramos, who is reopening his cult favorite, Barley, alongside his pop-up, Faith & Pizza. Next door will be The Brick, whose menu was designed by Miami icon chef Allen Susser. And Patel’s Ghee will be in line with both.

Patel often featured his Indian dishes at MGFD under chef Michael Schwartz during his three years at the restaurant and it left a lasting impression.

“I remember him getting inspired to make something from his heritage and me loving it,” Schwartz said. “He’s an incredible talent.”