Lantao Kitchen + Cocktails

Where can you find street food-inspire dishes surrounded by plush scenery and a nice set of walls, tables and chairs? Normally when you think of street food in the United States, you think of food trucks. Not anymore.

Lantao Kitchen + Cocktails at the Surfcomber South Beach Hotel is a new eatery (indoor and outdoor) that opened up in the beginning of December 2011. Don’t be fooled with the new kits on the block as you will enter something of an upscale Asian street food fair. As the name suggests, they make a mean Lychee martini but more impressively enough, they serve Southeast Asian cuisine on par with the food made in Hong Kong (as well as its largest island, Lantau) and Bangkok. With Chef Freddy Orti (formerly of China Grill and Asia de Cuba) at its helm, the dishes are served family-size and the menu is separated into four categories: Gansig (snacks), Shala (salads), Bo ling (bowls), and Zhuban (main plates).

So what does this all really mean? Expect to taste lots of lemongrass, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk, chili, and curry. Go for the Banh Mi Miami Style (beef, pork belly, pickled vegetables, cilantro, and spicy mayo on a baguette), the Green Papaya and Pork Belly Salad (jicama, celery root, daikon, carrots, chayote, mint, and Thai basil) or the Madurese Street Noodles in Spicy Coconut Broth (chicken, shrimp, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and crispy shallots). The best part, they’re all worth it. All dishes stay below 20$. 

Inside and Out

Apologies in advance for the photos. It was such nice weather out, we decided to dine on the patio but the lighting was pretty dim so had to use flash. Not my best work but I hope the deliciousness jumps out of the photos. Trust me, it was.

Blue Crab Spring Rolls (Cabbage, Mushrooms, Carrots, Scallions, Lump crab, and Ginger-miso sauce). Crunchy on the outside and not overcooked or oily with a hint of sweetness from the blue crab.


Barbecue Pork Ribs (Korean BBQ sauce, Shallots and Toasted Peanuts). Falling off the bone, crispy on the outside, perfect combination of flavor. 

Green Papaya and Pork Belly Salad (Jicama, celery root, diakon, carrots, chayote, mint, thai basil). Unbelievable, just like in Thailand. 

Bacon and Egg Spinach Salad…Ok, not Asian, I know but still delicious. Always love bacon in salads. 

Street Noodles in Spicy Coconut Broth (Chicken, shrimp, mushrooms, boiled egg, watercestnut, crispy shallots). not a lot of broth like a Tom Yum but close enough to what I was missing.

Pad Thai (Rice noodles, chicken, pork, shrimp, egg, peanuts, sprouts, chilies, shrimp powder). Oops, was so hungry, we ate it before remembering to take a picture…Again very authentic, especially the noodles and the right amount of spice.

Wash down the spicy fare with lychee martinis or soju cocktails made from pomegranate  like the Nocturnal Mule and if it’s nice out, sit back and enjoy the view of the Atlantic. 

The restaurant really brought me back to the times when I visited Lantau island to eat good seafood or when I used to eat noodles from a street vendor on the streets of Bangkok. I’m glad it came all the way to Miami and I hope it remains authentic. If you can’t get a flight to Bangkok or Hong Kong for the holidays, try out this joint. 

Lantao Kitchen + Cocktails

Address: Surfcomber Beach Hotel, 1717 Collins Avenue

Tel: 305 604 1800

Website: www.lantaorestaurant.com

 

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