Lebanese-Inspired, Vegan-Friendly Mama Joon Coming to Life House Collins Park

Mama Joon will serve Mediterranean cuisine with a Lebanese twist.EXPAND
Mama Joon will serve Mediterranean cuisine with a Lebanese twist.
Life House
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Mama Joon, a homestyle Mediterranean-inspired restaurant with a vegetable-centric menu, is set to debut early next month in Miami Beach. It will be located inside Life House Collins Park, the second South Florida location of the Silicon Valley-backed boutique hotel chain founded in 2017.

Mama Joon is the inaugural signature restaurant for the Life House brand, which also launched Life House Little Havana and its Cuban-inspired Parcela Cafe earlier this year. The restaurant will be open all day but will specialize in dinner, weekend brunch, and an afternoon tea program that will launch later this winter.

Nestled in the hotel's courtyard overlooking the Collins canal, Mama Joon draws creative inspiration from Life House founder and CEO Rami Zeidan's Lebanese background.

When creating the menu, Zeidan says, he consulted his stepmother to handpick the best of his family's favorite recipes before giving them a Miami twist with the help of executive chef Harry Capacetti. As a result, half the menu is vegetarian or vegan.

Mama Joon will be Miami Life Collins Park's signature restaurant.EXPAND
Mama Joon will be Miami Life Collins Park's signature restaurant.
Life House

"These are the dishes that best represent our heritage," Zeidan says. "We designed this menu so guests who want to eat vegetarian can do so and feel the menu was created for them."

The Mama Joon dining experience begins with a ritualistic "breaking of bread." Upon sitting, guests will receive a selection of fresh Mediterranean breads such as carta di musica — a flat, crisp cracker — depending upon the season.

The menu of sharable plates continues with nearly a dozen mezzes presented in colorful ceramic vessels. Authentic and modern Mediterranean dips and dishes include a house labneh, house-made marinated chili feta, and tabbouleh served alongside traditional Turkish and Lebanese flatbreads, bazlama, and za'atar-spiced manoushe ($14 to $24).

Signature small plates include spicy eggplant toast ($12) — serrano pepper-infused house-made eggplant purée on warm ghee-dusted bread served with a fresh vegetable garnish — and a haloumi and avocado herb manousheh toast ($15). Larger specialty dishes range from roasted cauliflower with crisp squash, lemon, capers, sunflower seeds, and herbs ($16) to grilled lamb chops kafta with cucumber relish, olives, and mint ($32) and zaa’tar-dusted local corvina prepared with chili-roasted carrots, sautéed spinach, and a house-made spiced yogurt ($26).

Early in the morning, Mama Joon will serve tea and coffee at Mama's Cafe in the hotel lobby. At night, the café space will transform into Mama’s Bar, pouring drinks such as low-alcohol spritzers inspired by the Mediterranean coast and containing ingredients such as falernum, kaffir lime, and herb-infused mastika.

"After a childhood of being uncomfortable with my heritage, I’m really excited to now be able to share this story so other people can experience other cultures and cuisines," says Zeidan, who grew up in Minnesota. "My goal with Life House, and Mama Joon, is to really break down those internal biases that we have amongst ourselves and people and other heritages."

Mama Joon at Life House Collins Park. 2216 Park Ave., Miami Beach; lifehousehotels.com. Set to open November 2.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.