MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With lush green gardens set in an enchanting environment outside, to a charming and rustic European style eatery inside, Cafe Roval, located on 58th Street and NE 4th Court in Miami’s Morningside area, is a sight for sore eyes.
The historic space is restaurateur Mark Soyka’s first restaurant to his namesake spot in 15 years. Cafe Roval is a throwback to his youth.
“The restaurant is Mark Soyka’s brain child, and Cafe Roval was a popular restaurant in Tel Aviv in the ‘50s and ‘60s. It was the place to be and this is where Mark spent his time in his 20s,” said General Manager Gary Sanon-Jules.
Cafe Roval is a designated historic location with natural 1920s oolite coral both inside and out.
“It’s been a lot of things since it was built in the ‘20s. It was a water pump house. It’s been a tire dumping site, a car junkyard, a refuge for an escaped convict from Michigan. It’s been a temple. It has got a lot of history. It has life. It breathes,” said Sanon-Jules. “People can be wherever they want to be, whether it’s in Europe or in the islands. It’s like walking into a movie set.”
In the kitchen, executive chef Curtis Rhodes cooked up classic Mediterranean dishes.
The first dish was the Mezze, a platter of several delicious dips and fresh vegetables served with warm pita bread that includes fava bean hummus and tahini sauce.
“The fava beans are so fresh and I’m a dipper. I can dip into this all night,” said CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo, after tasting the dips.
Petrillo then tried the fried cauliflower with capers and lemon.
“That’s the best cauliflower I’ve ever had,” said Petrillo. “There is so much flavor and crunch on the outside. You don’t even know you’re having a vegetable.”
Next, a tender grilled octopus served with a gigante bean salad and then fresh Colorado lamb ribs, which were served with a spiced apricot chutney.
“This is a delicious piece of lamb seasoned perfectly. It has true Mediterranean flair. It sure is working here at Cafe Roval,” Petrillo said laughing.
And finally, a Cafe Roval special: Florida softshell crab, fried in buttermilk with chef Curtis’ secret spices.
“This is a really great and crispy, and it’s got a kick. I taste the spice. It’s the perfect amount of heat,” Petrillo said.
Cafe Roval is a secret Mediterranean garden ready for you to taste and explore.
Cafe Roval is open seven days a week for dinner only, and brunch on Sundays.
For more info: http://www.caferoval.com.