When most restaurants say they are “Mediterranean,” the fare they usually offer is often from the European side of the sea, Greece, Italy, France and Spain.
But Panarea Mediterranean Sea Grill, a new restaurant in North Miami, expands that idea to also include dishes and wines from the Middle East and North Africa, drawing from Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia.
“I was born in Rome and raised in Sardinia, the island,” explains owner/host Luca Delogu. “So right from the heart of the Mediterranean. I grew up eating fresh fish and actually catching a few of them myself.”
Delogu, a trained sommelier, adds, “We created a menu which is really a map of the Mediterranean and we placed all the wines in their place or origin. So it’s visually attractive and color-coded and you can find the wines on the menu very easily. And the location of the winery is actually on the map, so it’s easy for you to navigate and choose the wine of your liking. We believe in territoriality, which we basically believe in paring a wine of a region with a particular recipe coming from that region...that is why we like to introduce wines of North Africa as well as Italy.”
Handling the recipe end is executive chef Claudio Sandri, a native of Torina, Italy, and a star on The Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” Sandri also carries the title “Master Chef,” as determined by the Italian Culinary Federation.
Delogu came to South Florida about 23 years ago, extending a visit in the Caribbean where he had recently opened a resort and “I fell in love with the place.” Teaming up with a group of investors he became a consultant of Global Restaurant Concepts, which has opened and operated 50 restaurants throughout the Caribbean, South American and South Florida.
The restaurant is named after “...the second smallest island in the Aeolian group, which is basically formed of eight different islands,” explains Delogu. “And they are famous for their capers.”
Panarea Mediterranean Sea Grill is at 11052 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Hours are noon-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays. For more information or reservations, call 305-640-5580 or go to PanareaSeaGrill.com.