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August 6, 2008updated Jul 15, 2015

Fontainebleau Miami Beach Focuses On Food With $1 Billion Re-Opening This Fall

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

MIAMI, FL – Fontainebleau Miami Beach is seeking to make a big impact on South Florida’s culinary scene when it reopens this fall, following a $1 billion renovation and expansion.

Among the celebrated chefs assisting to whip up the area’s gastronomy scene will Alfred Portale, Scott Conant and Sean O’Connell as well as restaurateur Alan Yau.

The 22-acre ocean-front property will offer 11 dining destinations of varying style and cuisine, each showcasing fresh, innovative flavors in warm, engaging environments created by renowned designers including Jeffrey Beers, David Collins and French firm Gilles & Boissier. Fontainebleau Miami Beach will provide an ideal setting for all guests and visitors whether seeking sophisticated five-star cuisine or light on-the-go fare.

“Fontainebleau Miami Beach will create an unparalleled dining destination with its reopening. No other resort in the area provides the level and variety of culinary diversity that we will offer our guests and the greater South Florida community,” said Howard Karawan, Chief Operating Officer of Fontainebleau Resorts. “We are delighted to have Fontainebleau Executive Chef Sean O’Connell overseeing the resort’s culinary program and working closely with Alfred, Alan and Scott, who will soon call Fontainebleau home.”

Among the offerings:

Alan Yau, Hakkasan
Alan Yau, praised for single-handedly changing the face of Chinese cuisine within the United Kingdom, is the owner of Britain’s Michelin-rated Chinese restaurant, Hakkasan. This award-winning restaurant will make its U.S. debut at Fontainebleau. Hakkasan will offer its diners a diverse menu of modern Cantonese cuisine with a wide array of wines, sake and cocktails.

Designed by French design firm Gilles & Boissier, this sleek and contemporary restaurant will be located atop the fourth floor and affords guests stunning views of the beach. The name “Hakkasan” pays homage to Yau’s ethnicity – ‘Hakka’ refers to the people from the New Territories of Hong Kong while ‘san’ is the respectful Japanese form of address.

Alfred Portale, Gotham Steak
Alfred Portale, chef and owner of perennial New York City favorite Gotham Bar and Grill, is among the culinary leaders set to open within Fontainebleau. Portale’s new restaurant Gotham Steak, which was designed by Jeffery Beers International, is a two-level, 16,000-square-foot restaurant with indoor and al fresco dining. Portale’s menu expands beyond modern American steakhouse fare to include fresh seafood, specialty cuts of meat and 500+ wines from around the world. Design highlights include a brilliant chandelier of hand-blown glass, an open exposition kitchen and a two-level, glass-enclosed wine tower.

Gotham Steak’s haute but accessible cuisine will appeal to both youthful diners looking for adventurous food as well as distinguished guests who appreciate time-honored cooking. Drawing inspiration from his Italian heritage, extensive background in French technique and admiration for Asian simplicity, Chef Portale’s dishes each have their own architectural design, bringing attention to the colors and textures of the carefully crafted recipe and adding to the dining experience.

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Scott Conant, Scarpetta
Scott Conant, formerly of L’Impero and Alto, is at the helm of Scarpetta, Fontainebleau’s Italian restaurant. Its sister restaurant, located in New York City, recently received a glowing three star review from The New York Times. An Italian expression that means “little shoe” – or the shape bread takes when used to soak up a dish – Scarpetta represents the pure pleasure of savoring a meal down to its very last taste.

Overlooking the resort’s poolscape, the David Collins-designed restaurant features ocean and poolside views, a wraparound veranda as well as casual dining areas and a cocktail lounge. A light, airy and sophisticated interior displays a refined nautical palette, with elements that reference mid-century Italian design. Floor to ceiling columns, reminiscent of coral or weather-worn driftwood, line the windows adding an organic, sculptural element.

The restaurant’s architectural features highlight Conant’s seasonally-inspired Italian fare comprised of farm-fresh ingredients and clean, earthy flavors that pay homage to his heritage and
time spent in Italy. Known for coaxing the most sublime flavors out of the simplest ingredients, Conant has created a satisfying and soulful meal that encourages guests to pick up a piece of bread and clear their plates.

Sean O’Connell, Executive Chef, Fontainebleau Miami Beach
Overseeing the resort’s culinary program is Executive Chef Sean O’Connell, a Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong alum who held top kitchen positions at revered properties including the Bellagio (Las Vegas), Legian Resort (Bali), Raffles Hotel (Singapore) and Banyan Tree Resort (Phuket, Thailand).

“Fontainebleau has long been regarded as been a celebrated destination with world-class dining and entertainment, and it is very exciting to oversee such an innovative and diverse culinary program as part of this legendary resort’s rebirth,” said Sean O’Connell, Executive Chef.

Fontainebleau will allow guests to create their own culinary excursion throughout the property with an array of innovative dining options. Among these destinations are La Côte, an open-air restaurant and lounge infused with the flavor of the French Rivera, and Blade sushi bar, serving traditional, purist Japanese cuisine. Overlooking the chic poolscape is Bleau Bar, the property’s lobby bar. With views of the famed Staircase to Nowhere and its proximity to the bustling pool, Bleau Bar is the place to see and be seen.

La Côte
Inspired by the Côte d’Azur, Fontainebleau opens La Côte, a chic, two-level restaurant situated beach and poolside. The open-air restaurant on La Côte’s upper level will offer guests the flavorful cuisine of the South of France, as well as a lively bar with fashionable cocktails and tapas-style snacks.

The poolside restaurant’s relaxed environment will serve simple, accessible fare to those looking to dine casually and in style. Menu highlights will include Fruits de la Mer, salads, crudités as well as char-grilled seafood and meats, all complemented by refreshing desserts.

Capturing the essence of the resort’s glamorous history, Vida will offer guests an energetic yet composed atmosphere. The restaurant will cater to guests whether seeking a casual quick meal or a social dining experience. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Vida will offer Pan-American cuisine influenced by Florida, California, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Brazil and the Caribbean.

Boasting an exhibition kitchen complete with rotisserie and hearth ovens as well as a sumptuous pastry station with mouthwatering desserts including signature soufflés, Vida will inspire a multi-sensorial dining experience.

Located at the entrance to the pool, Fresh will offer guests a selection of snacks and simple cuisine, ideal for the guest on-the-go. Snack menu highlights include hot and cold coffee beverages, juices and freshly prepared gelato. For more substantial appetites, Fresh will serve a selection of salads, hot and cold sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs and pizza by the slice. Creative and unique packaging will make it possible for guests to easily take food to the pool or back to their room.

Solo, the resort’s coffee and pastry shop will be located adjacent to the lobby. The café will offer a selection of exceptional quality coffees, cappuccinos, espresso, teas and juices available throughout the day. Solo will also serve breakfast pastries in the morning and evolve into a more substantial offering of sandwiches, salads and desserts as the day progresses.

In addition, Solo will sell Fontainebleau’s iconic cakes revived under the direction of award-winning pastry chefs Jean-Marie Auboine (Executive Pastry Chef) and Sylvain Bortolini (Assistant Pastry Chef). The cakes, which have been synonymous with Fontainebleau since its opening 1954, have attracted customers from across the country. A selection of cakes will be available daily for purchase or made to order for any occasion.

Blade Sushi Bar
Opening on to a stylish and sophisticated pool area sprinkled with private cabanas, Blade Sushi Bar will offer a selection of Japanese fare featuring fresh sushi that is caught daily. Inspiring an atmosphere of fun, Blade takes unique and interactive approach to dining and encourages guests to share its range of dishes.

Mouthwatering sauces, relishes and innovative techniques please the palette. Complementing the cuisine will be a selection of purist sake and a variety of sake cocktails. This intimate and relaxed sushi bar will be the quintessential spot to begin or end an evening with old friends, as well as the perfect environment to make new ones.

Fontainebleau Miami Beach will reopen in fall 2008.

For more information, please call
(305) 538-2000 or visit

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