5808 NE Fourth Court, Miami, 786-953-7850, CafeRoval.com
From the owner of the famous News Café and former Van Dyke Café in Miami comes this quaint New American charmer in the Upper East Side.
The 1923 building originally was a pump house for the Morningside neighborhood, where restaurateur Mark Soyka lives. He's owned Soyka only blocks away for 17 years.
"I have had my eye on the property for over 10 years, and thought it would be perfect for a restaurant. But I had to fight to have it zoned as such," Soyka says. "This place has something magical about it."
Coral-rock walls lend a rustic, European atmosphere with exposed rafters, chandeliers and paintings under a cathedral ceiling.
The patio circles original coral-rock wells that now cascade through the sprawling, lush back yard as tiered lagoons, crowned by a Buddha statue. A path meanders through three distinct seating areas with Van Dyke umbrellas as torches flicker amid serenading frogs.
Highlights of the seasonal menu include yellowfin tuna crudo with quail yolk ($14), octopus carpaccio ($16), local yellowtail snapper ($34) and Malbec-braised short ribs ($34).
Conclude with Nutella banana or strawberries and cream crepes ($9).
Dinner is served nightly until midnight. Weekend brunch and live music are in the works.
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