La Mar by Gaston Acurio to Open at Mandarin Oriental: Azul Offering Interim Casual Menu

The Mandarin Oriental Miami has announced that La Mar by Gaston Acurio will open in December, 2013. The new restaurant replaced Cafe Sambal, which closed earlier in the summer.

The restaurant and tapas bar will feature chef Acurio's Peruvian cuisine, with a focus on fresh cebiche and dishes that range from Andean fare to Asian-Peruvian fusion. Chef Acurio is a Peruvian television host, author of 500 Anos De Fusion, and owns dozens of restaurants worldwide. This will be the celebrity chef's third location in the United States. Currently Acurio has restaurants in San Francisco and Chicago.

See also: Azul Temporarily Closes; Chef Jacob Anaya Joins OTC

The 245-seat restaurant has been designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica, with interiors by Nathan/Pereira Arquitectura and features indoor and outdoor seating. Three different bars will allow diners to watch the preparation of cebiches and grilled anticuchos while sipping on specialty cocktails. There's also a private dining table for 10 guests.

"La Mar restaurants celebrate Peru's rich diversity through the creation of eclectic cuisine," said Chef Gaston Acurio. "Miami's unique blending of cultures and vibrant spirit is an ideal fit for our philosophy. We are excited for the beginning stages of this project and are honored to be working with Mandarin Oriental, Miami."

See also: Azul, Naoe Land on Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star List

In the interim, Azul is offering diners a "special menu in a relaxed setting" while La Mar by Gaston Acurio is being finished. Diners can enjoy sushi and sashimi ($12-28); small plates like tuna poke ($19) and lump crab cake ($15); or large plates like Florida grouper ($30), Angus beef burger ($23), or Wagyu churrasco ($29).

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