Pastis Makes Another Comeback, This Time In Miami

It’s not every day a New York culinary legend lands in Miami and maintains the same quintessential charm that originally catapulted it to prominence. The Parisian-style brasserie Pastis manages to pull off this feat with ease, a mirror image of the famed Meatpacking District locale with its curved zinc bar, white subway tiles, vintage mirrors and red leather banquettes.

Pastis Makes Another Comeback, This Time In Miami
Food & Drink

A product of James Beard Award-winning restaurateurs Keith McNally and Stephen Starr of STARR Restaurants (tapped for the second iteration of Pastis in 2019), Pastis is slated to be Miami’s next shiny new thing—a recurring reminder that the city known for its beaches and nightlife is quickly becoming a magnetic force in the world of gastronomy.

And oh what a délicieux world it is inside the fantastical, vegetation-lined patio that gives way to a French fairytale.

We’re talking French onion soup with melted gruyere cheese, steak frites, salade niçoise, escargot and a heaping cup of dark chocolate mousse. More favorites include a wonderfully Parisian take on mac and cheese, the gratin au macaroni, and a tomato tart made of delicate pastry dough that melts in your mouth. The beverage program highlights over 300 offerings that nod to major French wine regions, embracing the Parisian way of savoring a glass with every bite.

With newly launched brunch, lunch and midday menus that call for a spritz and a taste of Europe’s joie de vivre, Pastis welcomes locals, visitors and lovers of Paris to be transported to leisurely bliss found at the neighborhood sidewalk cafe.

"Since first watching Miami Vice in the 1980's, I've been desperate to have a vice in Miami. Finally, opening Pastis in Miami I have one," McNally said in a press release.

McNally isn’t alone in this desire. Those nurturing a weakness for indulgence will find themselves right at home at Pastis, except this kind of indulgence possesses a uniquely egalitarian element that Pastis has honed since its inception in 1999.

Executive Chef Neil O’Connell’s menu is sophisticated yet approachable, set at price points that generally don’t break the bank—although the grand seafood plateau at $195 and the lobster frites at $72 certainly allow big-money spenders to do some damage.

And unlike other buzzed-about newcomers, reservations are actually attainable beyond just the two time slots of 5:30 or 11:45 p.m. This might be shocking to some, considering the stylish mobs of A-listers that filled Pastis in Meatpacking back in the day and established its impossible-to-snag-a-table identity.

The phenomenon was represented in the final season of “Sex and the City” when Carrie and The Russian were guilted into sharing their table with acquaintances desperate to be seated. “There’s ten thousand restaurants in New York and everyone’s at Pastis” was the famous line uttered by the intruder who crashed their date.

Everyone appears to be at Miami’s Pastis in the first few weeks of its opening, ever curious to witness the power of the French behemoth for themselves and to determine whether the hype has been adequately preserved. The answer? It most definitely has.

Perhaps the first-come, first-serve bar seats and expansive cobblestoned garden seating assist in making Pastis available to the army of eager patrons who soon convert to regulars.

The whimsical al fresco dining option functions as the ultimate Miami stamp of approval, there to remind guests that as New York as Pastis is, Pastis Miami still brings its own flavor found in the enchanted pergola that envelops a lively outdoor bar and patio. Miamians chose the south over New York for a reason, after all, and it has something to do with the year-round tropical weather.

It's no coincidence that the vision for Pastis was one that belonged in Wynwood, a blossoming neighborhood that has evolved from its warehouse roots to become a mecca for arts and culture. If this coming-of-age story reminds you of the Meatpacking District’s maturation from butcher central to swanky hotspot, it’s because that’s the intention.

“For the last few years, I’ve had my eye on Wynwood. I’ve witnessed the vibrant and artistic neighborhood transform into a booming cultural hub with an incredible dining scene,” Starr said in a press release. “Since opening my first South Florida restaurant in 2009, I’ve watched the culinary scene explode in this electric city and I’m thrilled to be a part of its growth.”

Miami welcomes Pastis and its je ne sais quoi with open arms. The future is bright for the bistro icon—it’s almost as if it’s been here all along.