Once upon a time, all food was organic.
While that may sound like the start of a children's book written by Michelle Obama, it's the motto of Organic Bites, the new restaurant that opened quietly in the former Taperia Raca space at 7010 Biscayne Blvd. in the MiMo District.
It should come as no surprise that Organic Bites serves organic food. What may be a shocker, however, is that the restaurant is much more than a vegan juice bar. In fact, all your comfort food favorites — burgers, flat iron steak, mac 'n' cheese — are available. Only they're made with organic cheeses, locally-raised meat, and farm fresh vegetables. Restaurant manager Osvaldo Segatto, who has an advanced degree in nutrition, explains, "A lot of people thing that eating organic means only eating vegan, but we like to say that before large factories, all food was organic. We felt like we needed to do something different in a restaurant."
The kitchen is helmed by Goncalo Costa. A native of Portugal, the chef worked at some of the finest kitchens in the world, including The Bazaar by Jose Andres, before deciding that he wanted to cook organic foods in an intimate setting. He tells New Times, "I know how to make espresso foams and gels, but I really want to make food that tastes good and is good for you.
"Our goal is not only to give people good food, but to educate people that eating well can also be delicious."
While Organic Bites tries to use as much organic product as they can, Costa says it's virtually impossible to say that they are 100-percent organic. "Take, for instance, our wines. We have a wonderful Vinho Verde from Portugal. The grapes are grown organically, but in Portugal there is no organic certification, because that's simply how it's done."
Costa does say the restaurant uses proteins that are 100-percent certified organic, with beef coming from local Florida farms. The majority of fruits and vegetables are are organic and local and, as such, change seasonally. "We try to get the best ingredients possible, so if something looks fresher or better, we'll use that." Organic Bites is also growing micro greens on premises and offering local beers from Wynwood Brewing.
Menu items include a signature burger with smoked truffle mozzarella on an onion brioche bun ($12), an organic butternut squash soup ($6.50), and organic macaroni and cheese ($7.50). Costa explains that the decision to put the beloved side on the menu comes from a belief that everyone — especially children — should eat well. This particular mac 'n cheese is made with carrot puree instead of a heavy béchamel, then topped with organic cheese and oven baked.
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Other items include cod fish cakes with black eyed pea salad ($9); veggie carpaccio ($9.50); and a range of salads, including a Caprese with heirloom tomatoes and locally made burrata ($13). Organic salmon on the grill ($12), flank iron steak ($12), shrimp ($11), chicken breast ($9), or tofu ($8) can be added to any salad. Organic Bites also serves bruschetta in your choice of sautéed mushrooms and goat cheese; grilled veggies; or brie, nuts, and caramelized onions.
Organic Bites also offers cold pressed juices made to order. Simply choose four fruits, veggies, or seeds, and for $7.50 you'll get a custom made pineapple/kale/watermelon juice (or any combination you like) in minutes.
Organic Bites is open for breakfast from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Happy hour is from 4 to 7 p.m. daily, and offers two for one drinks (wine and beer). The restaurant is also open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Starting then end of next week, the restaurant will be open for dinner. Call 786-542-9654 to confirm when dinner service starts.