By Lisa Petrillo

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Chef and restaurateur Michael Schwartz calls his new waterfront restaurant, Amara, in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood, his love letter to his city.

“Welcome to Amara! It’s totally amazing. I have to pinch myself every time I come,” Schwartz exclaimed to CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo.

Still under construction with an expected early January official opening, the restaurant will feature dining both inside and out with everything facing the wide bay views.

“You know as well as I know we’ve lived in Miami a long time and there should be many waterfront restaurants and there are so very few,” said Schwartz.

“All of this, that’s not done, will all be whipped into shape, landscaped with walkways that will connect to downtown,” he said pointing to the unfinished Bayfront backyard.

The James Beard Award winning chef, with several restaurants around town, has opened Amara up this week only for Art Basel. It is a high-end pop up 4-course all-inclusive menu that is a ticketed event designed to show off the space and the food.

“We’ve been so anxious to get into the space and we really wanted to get here and to start cooking so we thought that it will be a good opportunity to offer a very limited preview to give people a chance to see what’s going on here and get it started,” he explained.

At the helm in the kitchen is Executive Chef Michael Paley who is ready to show off his Latin American style menu.

“It’s great. It is my first Art Basel in Miami. The weather is beautiful, the restaurant is beautiful, we are ready to go,” said Paley.

Chef is preparing a generous sampling of what’s on the pop up menu this week which include tasty choices such as the a nine inch short rib, veggie and beef empanadas and so much more.

Lisa got a taste of a Brazilian favorite, Yucca cheese puffs.

“I mean you can pop them in your mouth all day, they are so good,” said Petrillo.

“Yes, these are bar snacks,” explained Schwartz.

The short rib is moist and tender and paired with a tasty cool slaw on purpose.

“You’ll often see something at Michael Genuine’ s that are cooked or slow roasted or grilled that are hot served with accompaniment that’s crispy and cold and bright and acidic most chefs will tell you they love the acid to cut the fat,” he explained.

The empanadas are authentic and delicious as is the refreshing corn salad.

The Amara pop-up is open through Saturday. It is $189.00 per person and includes a 4-course menu and all drinks and tip.

Click here for tickets.

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