One area that hasn't stopped growing over the past decade is Brickell. In just the past year, Miami's financial district has welcomed luxury hotels such as SLS Brickell, East Miami, and the lavish shopping project Brickell City Centre, which is seeing more high-end stores open every day. Now the neighborhood has a new restaurant and lounge, Level One.
Owners Diego de Almeida, Vargas Nunes, and Paulo Roberto Castro wanted to open a place that offers fine dining without pretentiousness. The three chose Brickell because they think it's a great up-and-coming market and want to nuture a clientele of locals.
The kitchen is helmed by executive chef Ricardo Nieri, who describes his cooking as modern Italian with Asian influences and Amazon seasonings. The chef, who moved from Brazil for this position, has cooked all over the world, from Rio de Janeiro to Singapore. The menu lists dishes inspired from his travels and features pastas such as pear-stuffed ravioli with Gorgonzola fonduta and black truffle ($22).
There's also octopus — al lagareiro pulpo — served in a cast-iron skillet ($27) and a Cajun-spice-crusted beef tenderloin served with pumpkin-Gorgonzola risotto ($37). All appetizers are offered until 4 a.m., including croquettes filled with duck and Serrano ham and garnished with Grana Padano cheese foam ($14) and truffle arancini stuffed with Gouda infused with truffle and saffron ($10).
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Cocktails are curated by bar manager Maxwell Parise, who has developed beverage programs for Izzy's Fish & Oyster and Toro Toro. One of his favorite creations is the Get on My Level Eddie, made with Absolut Elyx, squid ink, Luxardo, and chocolate bitters and served in a light bulb ($16). Cocktails cost $13 to $16 and are half-priced during daily happy hour from 5 to 8 p.m.
1110 S. Miami Ave., Miami; 786-814-5816. Dinner daily except Sunday and Monday, when the restaurant is closed.