Review : Essensia

After weeks of putting it off, I finally had a chance to go check out Essensia at the Palms Hotel in South Beach. I had heard of Essensia before, but for whatever reason it didn’t really interest me to check it out. All I knew about Essensia was that it was a ‘Farm to Table’ restaurant and they had their very own garden where they grow a lot of their own herbs and vegetables. So after being invited several times, we finally decided to give it a try and boy was a dumbass for not trying this place earlier.

Essensia is located on the lobby floor of the hotel. The restaurant has an awesome outdoor dining area that faces the hotel pool and garden. The inside decor of the restaurant was awesome too. This place doesn’t make you feel like you’re in Miami nor South Beach. It just has this great loungly, upscale vibe.

Now let’s talk about the food.

To start we had their ‘South Beach Ceviche with Local Grouper’ and their ‘Stuffed Squash Blossoms.’ Both dishes tasted as great as they looked. The ‘South Beach Ceviche’ was a local citrus cured grouper with tropical fruit, red bell pepper, jalapeno, Asian pear and cilantro. The ceviche was served on this beautiful martini glass and served with plantain chips. The ceviche was great. It was fresh and fun. The ‘Stuffed Squash Blossoms’ contained crab, ricotta cheese, fire-roasted pepper, preserved lemon served with a pea tendril salad and a blood orange fennel pollen vinaigrette. Again, this was delicious as well. I mean I didn’t leave a piece of lettuce on the plate, so it must have been amazing. You can instantly taste the freshness of this dish. You can easily tell the salad was picked earlier that day. So good and so fresh. Highly recommend both of those dishes as appetizers.

After the appetizers, we went for a salad. We tried their ‘Heirloom Tomato and Roasted Beet Salad.’ The salad comes with local tomatoes, which are grown in the chef’s garden at the hotel. The tomatoes were a combination of red and green tomatoes. The salad also comes with roasted beets and a local burrata. Burrata is one of my favorite things ever. The burrata in this salad was fresh, local, and creamy. Delicious! This is a classic salad and not many people can do it right, but when it’s done right, it’s awesome.


Now onto the entrees.

I went with the ‘All Natural 8 Oz. Filet Mignon.’ Easily one of the best steaks I have had in Miami. It makes my list of the top 10 steaks in South Florida. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare and topped with blue cheese, all on a bed of some truffled wild mushroom risotto and roasted broccolini. The complete dish was awesome. It was so simple, but it worked and worked well! Simple, fresh and delicious.

We also had their ‘Amazone Paiche.’ Now you’re wondering what is an Amazone Paiche… Well the Amazone Paiche is a freshwater fish raised in Northeast Peru. The taste of the Paiche is a combination of a Chilean sea bass and a black cod. Sounds interesting right? Well it’s damn good. The fish was cooked perfectly and contained lots of meat and lots of flavor. The Amazone Paiche was topped with a tomato-olive relish served on a bed of a celery root-leek puree. This complete dish together was delicious and fresh. If you’re a fan of fish, you will love this dish. So simple yet, so delicious.

Do you see a pattern here? You should. This place is taking simple dishes and ingredients and making them delicious. Stuff you cannot find in South Beach.

As an extra side dish, we went with the ‘Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi in Brown Sage Butter.’ If gnocchi isn’t done right, it isn’t good. Essensia did it right and tasty I might add. The gnocchi was fried and good perfectly.

After all that food, we were pretty full, but you know we had to have dessert. For dessert, we went with the ‘Chocolate Ancho-Chili Mousse.’ Your thinking chili spice in my chocolate? Yes it works very well! It gives the chocolate mousse a great flavor. The chocolate mousse comes with cayenne frozen strawberry yogurt. Now this was a little too spicy for me and I love spicy food. In this occasion, I don’t think it worked well. The yogurt was sweet at first, but then the spice hits the back of your throat and there’s no turning back. If you want to try something different, this is for you. I enjoyed the chocolate mousse very much, but the yogurt had just a little too much spice for my liking.

Essensia is awesome. The food is great and Chef Julie Frans is doing a damn good job of bringing farm to table to South Beach. All the dishes were simple, yet delicious. Essensia is creating simple dishes with fresh local ingredients and putting a modern twist on them. And I have to say, they have one of my favorite waiters I have ever in Miami. His name is Matias. So if you happen to go to Essensia make sure to ask for him. You will have an amazing time. I will definitely be back and you should check it out. Essensia is one of Miami’s newest hidden gems. Go find it now.

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