California’s Eureka! Restaurant Group and Mexico City-based Grupo Carolo — the powerhouses behind Eureka! and La Popular — have now added a new concept to their joint roster: Amalfi Llama, located in Miami. Inspired by Mediterranean and Patagonian cultures and cuisines, the new concept opened Jan. 26 at Esplanade at Aventura, an open-air retail, entertainment and culinary destination just up the coast from Miami in Aventura, Florida.
The spacious interior measures 9,595 square feet, with a 157-seat dining room, two bars and a warm, modern farmhouse design. Natural light shines on pale woods, antique mirrors, native greenery and two soaring wine displays. The dining room is anchored by a live-fire grill and wood-burning oven, so guests can see and smell the action as chefs cook the food over hot embers.
The Amalfi Llama also houses two patios that accommodate another 92 patrons combined under a canopy of trees. Fire plays an important role on the patios, too, which are dotted with candles, lanterns and fire pits.
“One of the earliest known innovations of humankind is harnessing the beauty of fire,” Eduardo Gomez, CEO of Eureka! Restaurant Group and Grupo Carolo said. “It’s a timeless art form that results in dishes that draw people in like smoke signals. The Amalfi Llama’s spectacle of smoke in its live-fire cooking further flavors the food for an authentic farm-to-table approach unique to South Florida’s culinary scene.”
Executive chef Jeffrey Mondaca leads the kitchen. Before joining the Amalfi Llama team, he honed his skills at a diverse lineup of restaurants, including Michelin-starred Rouge Tomate in New York, Casa Don Alfonso at The Ritz-Carlton in St. Louis, and ZZ’s Club in Miami. He also holds a certification from the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana Italian cooking school, and where he developed an expertise in making authentic Neapolitan and Roman-style pizzas.
The Amalfi Llama menu is broken down by starters, wood-fired dishes, salads, pizzas, pastas, and sides. Starters include tuna crudo, beef carpaccio, cedar-roasted burrata, and caviar with homemade blinis. The wood fire is enlisted for select dishes, like 32-ounce wagyu tomahawks, New York strips, Patagonian grilled chicken, cedar plank salmon and branzino.
Pizzas range from the fresh and simple margherita to the alla Positano, which is topped with salami, pepperoni, and spicy honey. Pastas include cacio e pepe, spicy lobster spaghetti, and black truffle tagliatelle.
The bar makes cocktails that pull from the concept’s inspired regions, with drinks like the negroni and a martini infused with sun-dried tomatoes and white peppercorns. Wines hail mostly from Argentina, Italy, and the United States.
The Amalfi Llama’s Miami restaurant is just the beginning. A second location is already slated to debut this spring in San Diego, and Gomez expects to introduce the concept into additional markets in the future.
“The expansion into San Diego is a testament to our commitment to sharing the culinary journey inspired by Patagonian and Mediterranean influences,” he said. “As we continue to grow, our vision is to create more unique destinations that blend diverse landscapes, live-fire cooking, and a warm, inviting ambiance, inviting guests to savor a fusion of flavors in every bite.”