This New Two Story Restaurant In Brickell Marries Food, Art and Music

Best of South Florida

A two-story Mediterranean- and Asian-inspired culinary concept has opened in downtown Brickell.

Kaori officially opened on Friday, May 28, the first hospitality venture from Miami-based Umai Group. As their inaugural endeavor, Kaori's founders say they aimed to create a highly-curated experience from the venue's unique food and beverage programming to its synergetic entertainment component.

"We are beyond excited to finally be able to share this truly exceptional experience we’ve created at Kaori Miami with all our guests," says Diego Pagola, creative director for Umai Group and Kaori Miami. "Intention has been a very important factor in our conception of the brand."

As such, Kaori's creators want you to embark on a special journey when dining at their establishment.

It begins with a grand entrance. Upon arrival, guests will be welcomed into the 4,500-square-foot space at the ground level of SLS LUX Brickell where they're greeted by Kaori's signature bar and lounge area. For those looking for an inviting neighborhood spot with an authentic evening-time vibe, the bar also offers an inspired mixture of entertainment and live music featuring exotic instrumentals from a wide range of cultures.

The music component of the space plays a fundamental role in establishing the identity of Kaori as a whole, adds Pagola, as part of the curation of the venue’s full-sensory guest experience. The signature Kaori playlist is also available for anyone to follow via Spotify, offering guests a unique takeaway experience that alternates bi-weekly.

Beyond the bar and lounge space, guests will come across a dimly lit staircase, which elegantly links to the restaurant's spacious second-floor dining area. Here, executive chef Fabrizio Garofolin focuses on creating a balance between modern and time-honored techniques, combining the two worlds of Mediterranean and Asian cuisine.

"Food is the purest reflection of the soul of a chef," says Garofolin. "It’s the way we show our passion for innovation and creativity in our menu. Apart from our uniquely different Mediterranean-Asian style cuisine, the menu offers a genuine culinary experience that lets our guest’s tastebuds travel around the world without ever having to leave their table." 

Garofolin unleashes his culinary artistry with a menu that exudes a diverse and sophisticated fusion of flavors. Highlights from his farm-to-table practices offer an eclectic culinary journey through land and sea. Signature menu items include cuts of A5 Japanese Miyazaki Kobe Strip Loin with Shiso Chimichurri; Furikake Chicharron with Yuzu Mojo; Yellow Fin Tuna with Charred Avocado and Miso Sweet Potato Puree; home-made Short Rib Dumplings with Manchego Foam; and a Kabayaki Glazed Seabass
Sofia Barroso for FIID Agency

In addition to the unique culinary focus, guests can also expect an equally provocative cocktail, wine, and sake program. Prominent local bartender James Maclnnes — formerly of KYU Miami — serves as Kaori's lead bar manager, incorporating a variety of innovative ingredients from different cuisines into the signature cocktail menu. Pulling influence from his residencies in Sydney, New York City, and Miami’s bar scene, the mixologist describes his approach as minimalist and flavor-focused, with a notable emphasis on execution and elegant presentation.

To compliment the spirit program, the bar's wine and sake offerings are spearheaded by two powerhouse women, Macarena Carrillo and Mariel Dalmau, who double as the founders of the natural wine social club, Grape Crush Miami. Their method creates a sustainable and innovative program, blending classics while simultaneously pushing boundaries. 

Kaori's experience wouldn't be possible without the unique vision of Esteban Bressan, founder of Miami-based design firm Spazio Bressan. A collaborative initiative with Cooper City-based Interior Image Group, Bressan says every detail of the two-story concept was designed to offer an authentic, harmonic ambiance to enhance the overall experience that is Kaori.

"The best interiors evoke a mood," sums up Bressan. "They're an extension of our lifestyle. They entertain, provide solace, bring us closer together, and welcome us home — and that's what Kaori is all about."
Sofia Barroso for FIID Agency

Kaori Miami. 871 South Miami Ave., Miami;

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