Inside the Palms Hotel & Spa is its resident restaurant, Essensia, where locally sourced ingredients take center stage on a Caribbean-inspired menu.
Recently, the farm-to-table eatery, which focuses on slow food in a relaxed environment, enlisted Ilde Ferrer to serve as chef de cuisine. With more than two decades of restaurant experience — which includes stints in New York City at Le Bernardin and Union Square Cafe, as well as at the Setai in Miami Beach and Cindy Hutson's Ortanique on the Mile in Coral Gables — Ferrer's summer menu reflects his love for Florida farms.
“The most flavorful cuisine is made by acquiring the best local ingredients," Ferrer says. "And by letting nature speak through culinary artistry."
In Essensia's backyard, Ferrer tends an onsite organic garden located steps away from the beach. Created through a partnership with Miami's Little River Cooperative, the garden produces herbs, greens, and edible flowers that Ferrer incorporates into many of the restaurant's new items.
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Unlike nearby Miami Beach restaurants and hotels, Essensia keeps the dining peaceful. And though the restaurant features a chic main room and picturesque terrace, the liveliest aspect of Ferrer's new menu is its diversity.
The restaurant’s network of local suppliers and purveyors is highlighted throughout the menu, from salad greens and spinach from Harpke Family Farms to burrata from Capri Organic Dairy Corp.
Standouts from Ferrer's menu include a beet salad with Harpke Family Farms greens, Florida avocado, sunflower seeds, pickled onion, and red wine vinaigrette ($14); pan-seared Florida snapper with pineapple fried rice with sweet Chinese sausage and grilled Gulf shrimp ($36); the West Indies vegetable plate, featuring fig-glazed eggplant, curried chickpeas, grilled fennel, and pickled shishito peppers on basmati rice ($26); and the Faroe Islands salmon poke, served on crispy cubes of rice ($16).
Essensia. At the Palms Hotel & Spa, 3025 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-908-5458; essensiarestaurant.com. Daily 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.