Kendallites who stop chef Eileen Andrade at Finka Table & Tap to thank her for bringing fine dining to west Kendall have a new reason to be grateful.
Andrade, granddaughter of the Islas Canarias founders, has opened a new, more casual restaurant just blocks away, instilled with the same DNA of Finka and her grandparents’ landmark Cuban restaurant. Amelia’s 1931, named for her late grandmother, Amelia Garcia, who worked the counter at the family’s Islas Canarias, is Andrade’s take on a Cuban diner. Most of the restaurant’s 50 seats are at a counter, and all but one of the menu items is $15 or less.
The flavors are in line with Finka’s, a fusion of Cuban, Peruvian and Korean to produce dishes such as a Korean style frita with Peruvian huacatay sauce and a General Tso’s alligator fried rice. Her Cuban sandwich is made with pulled pork cheeks and banana peppers and tater tot choices include sweet potato, yuca or malanga, each with a distinct dressing.
“We want to keep the Latin flavors but also do something different,” Andrade said.
Where most fine-dining chefs work their way toward Wynwood and Brickell, Andrade, 29, is doubling down five blocks from her house. The long lines at Finka, especially on weekends, were her sign that there was room to grow.
“We need cool places in Kendall,” she said. “Sometimes people don’t want to drive 30 minutes or take a $30 Uber for dinner. This is what we need out here, a restaurant with a cool vibe.”
Andrade says she hopes the restaurant will take on the character of its patrons. She hopes the specialty coffees on the menu — Italian affogato or Spanish café bon bon — will entice some to sit at the counter with their laptops. And at night, that Amelia’s 1931 will be a more casual date night spot.
“We’re trying to see what everyone wants,” Andrade said.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday-Thursday. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday.