CASA TUA, 1700 James Avenue, Miami Beach, 305-673-1010
In the few months it's been operating, Casa Tua in Miami Beach has cultivated a mystique that has made a weekend dinner reservation the most sought-after ticket in town. The understated refinement of its home (a former private residence) and the sophisticated cuisine created by executive chef Sergio Sigala have combined to form a truly elegant dining experience. As New Times critic Lee Klein put it: "Diners feel as though they're in the home of a good friend -- a very wealthy friend with exquisite taste, that is." Sigala, a 34-year-old native of Brescia, Italy, has enjoyed a richly peripatetic career that began in Italy then skipped to England, Switzerland, Bahrain, Canada, France, back to Italy, and finally to Miami Beach. When he's not in the kitchen at Casa Tua, he's likely to be biking through rural South Miami-Dade or diving the reefs off the Keys.
BEST PLACE FOR FRESH FRUIT
Lincoln Road on Sunday.
BEST PLACE FOR FRESH VEGETABLES
Paradise Farm in Homestead and Totally Tomatoes in Davie. They provide me with the best fresh organic products, like different kinds of tomatoes, micro salad, carrots, et cetera.
BEST NATURAL HIGH
I love riding my bicycle early in the morning down to Homestead, passing through Coconut Grove and Coral Gables under the trees. The sensation is like being in the forests of my hometown.
BEST REASON TO LIVE IN MIAMI
There are different good reasons to live in Miami. I like the interaction between different cultures -- the influence and the traditions that came from South America and the modernity from North America. I also love diving and the Miami area offers a great many different reefs.
CASA TUA TUNA TARTARE
1 pound tuna, sushi quality
1 tablespoon salted capers from Sicily
2 tablespoons taggiasca olives from Liguria
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro (chopped)
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2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Fleur de Sel (unrefined French sea salt)
Chop tuna, wash the capers in water, cut the sun-dried tomatoes and olives into small cubes the same size. Mix all ingredients, season with extra virgin olive oil and Fleur de Sel. Serve with crispy bruschetta.