From curated luxury homes to in-the-know local hot spots, we at Oasis always pride ourselves on filling you in on the latest happenings in all our destinations. Every once in a while a particular bar or restaurant will catch our eye, which is exactly what the newly redesigned Vagabond Restaurant & Bar has done after opening this past December in Miami. Part restaurant, part bar and part art gallery, this revamped motel offers a fresh alternative to Miami’s dining scene.
The Vagabond Restaurant & Bar features a casual fine dining menu filled with American, Latin and Asian influences inspired by Executive Chef Alex Chang’s world travels. The 25-year-old, self-taught chef has spent the past few years working stints at notable restaurants around the globe, including Animal in L.A., the Michelin-starred Pujol in Mexico, along with stops in Tokyo and Belgium. Chang also earned notoriety at the University of Southern California when he and a fellow student ran an underground restaurant on campus that became the subject of Gil Freston’s documentary, Paladar.
But at Vagabond Restaurant, Chang has combined his travels and life experiences to create a truly unique and worldly dinning experience. “A vagabond is someone who travels the world and is nomadic,” Chang says via a press release. “It’s been such a fun experience creating this menu because I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned from kitchens in North America, Asia and Europe and meld those flavors with those of South Florida.”
On the menu expect a mix of classic restaurant fare like the Vagabond Burger and Jerk Chicken Wings mixed in with some more eclectic dishes like Chapulines, a grasshopper (yes, like the bug) dish sautéed with Marcona almonds and Szechuan peppercorns and an Iberico Skirt Steak, a piece of marbled pork from Spain topped with xato sauce, charred scallions and mojo canario.
The modern 120-seat restaurant space, designed by Stephane Dupoux and curated by Alvaro Perez Miranda, has an art gallery vibe yet remains unpretentious with plenty of artwork hanging on its walls including a series of portraits of local artists and native “vagabonds.” The restaurant’s sunken bar is naturally the centerpiece of the restaurant, featuring classic cocktails with a modern twist and small production wines that complement the food menu.
The dinning room itself is certainly an eye opener. Both retro and futuristic, the focal points are a sunken bar, a wall of photos paying homage to vagabonds and an Airstream-style open kitchen. Polaroid-photo coasters of the staff are one of the many quirky, charming touches for this casual yet stylish 120-seater. While you sink into one of the most comfortable restaurant chairs you’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting in, be sure to look up at the hand-drawn constellations connecting the intergalactic retro light fixtures. If the Jetsons had a favorite restaurant, this would be it.
As for the menu, it’s divided into three sections: small, medium, and large. Diners are encouraged to order all items at once so the meal can be properly served. The restaurant is open nightly for dinner, with lunch and brunch plans in the works. Stay tuned for more details.
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