Though Miami's plant-based landscape has evolved enormously in the past few years, upscale vegan eateries are still surprisingly scarce. Full Bloom Gourmet Vegan Cuisine, which opened last month in Miami Beach, is now filling that niche, offering a healthful, chic alternative to the city's traditional culinary scene.
Tucked away in a waterfront residential complex on Island Avenue, the spot is intimate and the food is eclectic.
The three founders — Alessandro Farana, Omar Barberini, and Nicola Dominici — went vegan about three years ago, primarily for ethical reasons. All three have culinary backgrounds, having worked in restaurants and bars all over the world. The trio quickly noticed Miami lacked gourmet options for creative, vegetable-based foods, and the concept of Full Bloom was born.
With menu development led by cookbook author and chef Mark Reinfeld (of Vegan Fusion), the result is a diverse array of foods with a strong global influence.
"We put together this fabulous menu with items from different cuisines — some French, some Italian, some Mexican, some Latin," Farana says. Though the founders are Italian, they wanted to create a concept that aligned with Miami's international environment.
"People are astonished by what they see and what they eat," Farana says of customers' reactions thus far. "Everyone is so happy. We have a lot of great feedback on every social network."
Menu items include starters such as escar-no-truffled shallots stuffed mushroom ($15), a cheese platter ($18), and classic Andalusian gazpacho ($10); raw items like pesto pasta puttanesca ($17) and carrot Brazil nut soup ($13); entrées including a sizzling fajita platter with chipotle avocado mousse ($18), pad thai ($20), and green thumb lasagna with béchamel sauce ($21); and desserts such as chocolate ganache pie ($10), tiramisu ($11), and mocha salted caramel chocolate lava cake with vegan vanilla ice cream ($14).
All wine selections are vegan, and most of the food items are organic and locally sourced.
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"We have a lot of nonvegan customers," Farana says. "It's a fusion restaurant, so you'll find many recipes. The colors and presentation and all of that, it's not just food for vegans or vegetarians — it's for everybody — so we have awesome feedback from nonvegan people as well."
For Farana, Barberini, and Dominici, the mission is always about amazing food, but their hearts and minds are dedicated to the bigger picture too.
"We had a sort of an awakening. We realized we’re eating dead bodies, and energetically and ethically speaking, that's not what we wanted.
We became aware of the fact that the future must be vegan. It has to be vegan," Farana says. "Many people are not informed about these different lifestyles. They think you're vegan and basically you eat tofu and salad, but it’s just a matter of time."
Full Bloom is located at 11 Island Ave. in Miami Beach. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 6 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 6 to 11 p.m. Visit fullbloomvegan.com or call 305-397-8018.