Best Decor - 2007
"God is liberal of color; so should man be." We have it on good authority that when Herman Melville offered these words on interior decorating, he was not referring to Azul, the acclaimed restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. For one thing, Melville was long dead when Azul opened. Also, Azul isn't that colorful. Just gorgeous. A big, bright, slightly elevated open kitchen is clad in white marble and stainless steel, as is the ravishingly sexy raw bar. White linens grace the tables, champagne-color cloth upholsters the chairs, floors are of beautiful buffed rosewood, and a lovely lattice of metal screens the dining area from the bar. Azul is surrounded on three sides by bay, the unparalleled spectrum of which floods into the room via floor-to-ceiling windows. Blue and white do not a rainbow make, but Melville's advice has certainly been picked up by chef Clay Conley, who spins the whole color wheel onto his elegantly plated (and delectable) cuisine. Azul is a classic: the Moby Dick of Miami restaurant décor.