Restaurant review

La Social Miami Upper Eastside Restaurant Review

La Social’s pastel pink facade greets travelers entering the Belle Meade neighborhood in Miami’s Upper Eastside. With a towering ficus tree overhead, the bistro and cafe offer a friendly dining room filled with locals linger over their meals.

The watchword here is “community.” Diners stop throughout the day to savor the bistro cuisine of Puerto Rican couple Ivan Nieves and David Flores. Considering the size of the restaurant’s original location in the beachfront community of Condado near San Juan, you could say the concept grew to meet the demands of the neighborhood.

“We started selling pastries, but customers in the surrounding area who didn’t like to cook started asking for menus,” says Nieves. “The neighborhood wanted us, and the sense of community made us believe our business was going to work.”

After a few years, La Social in Puerto Rico grew to house a boutique and beauty salon and became a popular one-stop-shop for dining and entertainment. When the couple closed the restaurant in September 2017 for Hurricane Irma, it was assumed the closure would be temporary. However, a few weeks later, Hurricane Maria hit the island, leaving Nieves and Flores homeless and without electricity or water to run their operations.

After the devastation, the couple traveled to Miami with Nieves’ grandfather, a cancer patient in need of treatment. “His doctor left the island after the hurricane and we couldn’t get the attention he needed there,” Nieves said. “It became clear that the island was not going to recover quickly, so we decided Miami would be a good place to start over. David and I saw it as an adventure – we were young and had good savings; our business was doing well in Puerto Rico before the hurricane. ”

In December, La Social had electricity again, and Condado residents without electricity were gathering in space. “I went back to the island to shut down the club, but it was Christmas and a neighbor convinced me not to. She said, ‘You are the hanging lights of Condado. Please don’t turn them off, “” Nieves recalls. “They helped us clean up, and we resumed operations with this were able to save, in the best possible way. ”

Back in Miami, the couple looked at more than 50 potential locations over a three-month period before deciding on a 1,200-square-foot space on Biscayne Boulevard at NE 76th Street. The catalyst that sent them to the region was the realization that there was no place to order almond milk coffee. Soon after, La Social debuted in May 2018.

At the Miami outpost, Nieves, who has worked for more than a decade in food, beverage and hospitality, runs the kitchen, where he offers an affordable menu of ingredient-based items. natural. “We offer something between the fast-casual and a restaurant, where locals can chat with friends over a good meal and move around from there.”

Click to enlarge Almond berries with chicken, spinach, mandarins and goat cheese.  - SOCIAL

Almond berries with chicken, spinach, mandarins and goat cheese.


La Social maintains its simple breakfast menu with oatmeal and maple fruit ($ 7) and French toast with coconut cream ($ 12), as well as a snack bar. omelets offering vegetarian, Greek and Spanish options with manchego cheese and prosciutto. Drinks include watermelon and cucumber lemonade ($ 5.50), green smoothie ($ 7), and carrot orange juice ($ 6).

All-day menu options include avocado hummus ($ 9) and organic carrot and ginger soup ($ 8). The salads are stuffed portobello ($ 14), caprese ($ 8) and a colorful almond berry with chicken, spinach, tangerines and goat cheese ($ 12).

A trendy toast offering includes peaches and goat cheese or salmon and avocado ($ 14), and pita pizzas can be personalized with toppings such as spinach, bacon, and tomatoes ($ 6.50 $). The kitchen also offers a variety of homemade pastries to enjoy with freshly made beverages such as Jojo tea ($ 5.50), cortado ($ 3.75), and matcha latte ($ 5.50). Weekend brunch warriors will enjoy a rotating a la carte menu and live music on the terrace.

The couple travel to Puerto Rico regularly, but Nieves’ mother Myrna Torres now runs the original location. In fact, according to Nieves, he and Flores are getting more established in Miami: They hope to open a store in downtown Miami before the end of the year.

“We are fortunate to have the chance to live our life and run our business in a new way,” he says. “We want to move a lot of things.”

The Social. 7601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 786-542-5922; Monday to Saturday 8 am to 8 pm; Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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