Chef Sergio Chamizo (right) and wife Maria Polanco
Chef Sergio Chamizo (right) and wife Maria Polanco
Photo by Maria Polanco

Alma Introduces Spanish Cuisine With Asian Influences to Coconut Grove

Chef Sergio Chamizo wants to educate his guests on the rich and vast culinary culture of Spain.

At Alma, a sleek, industrial-style restaurant in Coconut Grove, Chamizo and his wife, Maria Polanco, serve food influenced by the chef's native Spain.

Chamizo, who has worked nearly a dozen years in various restaurants and hotels and staged in Michelin- starred establishments, thought the time was right for him and his wife to open their own place. "Miami is going through a culinary renaissance with so many interesting places opening up," Chamizo says. "For me, this was the right time to add to that growth and continue expanding the culinary scene in the city."

Start your experience with the ajoblanco ($15), a kind of gazpacho from southern Spain, made with almonds, bread, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and Japanese mackerel. A dollop of grapefruit granita acts as a palate cleanser.

Asian influences can be seen throughout the menu, such as in the gochujang-glazed octopus with black romesco, chives, and roasted nuts ($17); steak tartare with a miso-cured egg-yolk emulsion and smoked paprika rice cracker ($15); and an oxtail sandwich with cauliflower and wasabi purée ($17). The meat for the sandwich takes about three days to be transformed into a terrine.

Alma offers a good selection of Spanish wines and sherries, with glasses ranging from $9 to $13. Happy hour is Tuesday through Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m., when wines, beers, and selected tapas are half-price. Every Wednesday, select bottles of wine are 30 percent off.

Alma. 3206 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove; 786-502-2155; almagrove.com. Tuesday and Wednesday 5 to 10 p.m., Thursday and Friday 5 to 11 p.m., Saturday noon to 3 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m., Sunday noon to 3 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.

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