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The patio at Morrofino Barcelona.EXPAND
The patio at Morrofino Barcelona.
Courtesy of Morrofino Barcelona

Morrofino Barcelona Brings the Best of Spain to South Beach

A restaurant with Catalan roots will expand to South Beach this fall when the tapas concept Morrofino Barcelona debuts inside the new AxelBeach Miami.

Behind the venture are siblings Xavi and Maria Padrosa, owners of the restaurant group Telefèric Barcelona, which operates three namesake restaurants in their hometown of Barcelona and one in Walnut Creek, California.

In the '90s, Xavi says, their mother, Soledad Urabayen, helped fuel the Barcelona dining scene via a restaurant specializing in pintxos, the skewered tapas on bread traditional to her native Northern Spain. Her eatery went beyond the popular three-course meal by offering a fun, relaxed environment where guests could sample a wide range of food items in a casual setting.

More than two decades later, the business is still going strong, and the family has expanded with a second brand in partnership with Axel Hotels, a European chain aimed at the LGBTQ community. Morrofino Barcelona, Xavi says, will offer a place to gather and experience the best of Spain in Miami Beach. The eatery is slated to open in October, following the debut of a Telefèric Barcelona outpost in Palo Alto, California.

"We love Miami but have observed a lack of good concepts," Xavi says. "Restaurants open and close all the time, but we think people will value something truly authentic like this."

Morrofino Barcelona dining room.EXPAND
Morrofino Barcelona dining room.
Courtesy of Morrofino Barcelona

In South Beach, the restaurant's kitchen will be helmed by executive chef Oscar Cabezas, who's been working with Telefèric Barcelona for eight years. The small-plates menu will include paella, a rotating selection of tapas, and a bounty of pintxos served dim-sum style. The beverage program will include a host of sangrias and cocktails by barkeeper Joe Cleveland.

El Mercat, the small market attached to the restaurant, will offer items such as Iberian ham, olive oil, cheeses, and wines, bolstering the concept that guests can drop in for something other than a full meal. On any given night, a visit to the eatery could also include paella master classes, sangria shows, and poolside dinner parties.

Xavi is looking forward to serving his family's dishes in South Florida. "Miami diners are a festive clientele; hence the space will be very dynamic, like a traditional Spanish plaza. People will walk into the hotel and feel that something interesting is happening."

Morrofino Barcelona. 1500 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; morrofinobarcelona.com. Opening fall 2019.

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