"In my nearly two decades in the business, this — for sure — is the most energy I have put into anything," Eduardo Gomez, the CEO of Eureka! Restaurant Group and Grupo Carolo Hospitality, tells New Times.
He's referring to his latest venture: the Amalfi Llama, a wood-fire-inspired coastal Italian restaurant set to open next month in Aventura.
Since opening his first restaurant in Mexico City in 2007, Gomez and his groups have nearly 60 restaurants to their name across both the U.S. and Mexico, including Mexico City-based La Popular and the American scratch kitchen Eureka.
The very first Amalfi Llama is slated to open in December at 19505 Biscayne Boulevard at Esplanade at Aventura in a space that promises a Patagonia-meets-Mediterranean menu.
Highlights include a farmhouse-inspired interior with pale wood and antique mirrors, natural greenery, and art made from Peruvian llama tassels. The restaurant is anchored by two towering wine displays and a sprawling dining space that spotlights a live-fire grill, a wood-burning oven, and seating for more than 150 people. Other visual highlights include two bars and two patios, the latter featuring canopy trees, candles, lanterns, and fire pits.
"The atmosphere and energy of the restaurant...combined with the level of service, music, and more, will have people wanting to come back," says Gomez. "We're not going to have that big of a menu either, to keep things simple."
Standout menu items include a cedar-roasted burrata bedazzled with charred leek and a baked taglioni with prosciutto cotto. On the wood-fired front, look for pizzas like the "Alla Positano" topped with pepperoncini, salami, and spicy honey drizzle. For cocktails, the "Sunkissed" martini with a white peppercorn and sun-dried tomato infusion promises to be the most unique.
"Aventura was really missing something like this — where you go to have this type of meal and have this level of experience," sums up Gomez. "A natural place for something like this could have easily been Brickell. But, we're glad to be here and look to repeat the concept in the U.S."
Beyond the December opening in Aventura, Gomez says the next Amalfi Llama will open in San Diego.
The Amalfi Llama. 19505 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura; amalfillama.com. Opening early December.