In a melee of Miami restaurants at the South Beach Food Festival, one dish stood out. So did the man who handed it to me. Charming, attractive, and international, Yago Giner told me he was opening a restaurant in one of Miami Beach's reemerging neighborhoods. And so we went to Klima. We were not disappointed.
Klima is Barcelona come to Miami, both cities on the sea. Giner and his partner Pablo Fernandez-Valdes were CEO and CO (respectively) of an upscale brand of restaurants and hotels called Tagaluz, who gave it up three years ago for a "new adventure." A family caucus (read their wives) selected Miami Beach as their new destination, over Mexico and Canada. They already had Latin friends here talking up the city as an international hub. And they loved the combination of warm weather, a good educational system and political security. With their families, their head chef and maitre d', they began building the first outpost of a new dream, called Klima, for "climate."
"We've brought a bit of Barcelona to Miami in all of the senses," Yago told us. "The base is Mediterranean but with an international touch. The menu is based on very simple fresh dishes, but there is a lot of work behind it, a lot of techniques, including low temperature cooking."
"It's a multicultural city growing in all senses," said Giner. (Photo: Lee Fryd)
There are plates to share, "but we don't call them tapas because we are tired of this word... Okay, we can call them tapas," he laughed. Call them what you want, this would be a foodie paradise, even without the hot, haute, hip factor. The room is flanked by picture windows and sky lights. The interior, a confluence of "cool" architectural elements made into a warm ambiance to make people to feel at home, Giner explained. Art from such major Spanish artists as Jaume Plensa and books are displayed on shelves give a living room feel.
Miami is certainly becoming the new home for many. "It's a multicultural city growing in all senses," said Giner. "I live in Key Biscayne surrounded by Spanish, Latin, American, French and Italian neighbors. We all love Miami. There are many things going on here. We feel it is the right time to be here and the right place to be."