Artful Dining at the National Hotel Miami Beach

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Tamara’s Bistro restaurant at the the National Hotel in Miami Beach.
Tamara’s Bistro restaurant at the National Hotel in Miami Beach.

The food, almost too beautiful to eat. The venue, an iconic Art Deco hotel in Miami Beach. Me, as happy as a clam dining on samples from the National Hotel Miami Beach’s new menu at the charming Tamara’s Bistro restaurant.

This month, the National Hotel—an oceanfront beauty in South Beach’s celebrated Art Deco neighborhood —re-introduced chef Matthew McDonald at the onsite Tamara’s Bistro restaurant through a 4-course tasting menu, which included bacon-wrapped dates, grilled oysters, herb rubbed rack of lamb and a light, creamy and rich creme brulee so delicious my neighbor leaned in and had a try. While feasting on chef McDonald’s masterful creations, the group took in views of the intricate ceiling mosaic modeled after the 1921 “Girl with Gloves” painting and funky David Bowie paintings.

After dinner, I rolled into the back of the kitchen for a quick chat with the chef, who retook the helm at Tamara’s this January after spending four years in the Keys. An American chef with a background in French cooking techniques, chef McDonald developed his own style after working in four- and five-star restaurants throughout his career.

When asked how a hotel’s restaurant ties into the property’s overall booking appeal, chef McDonald explained, “In a hotel like this, culinary plays a big part because its boutique, it’s South Beach. There’s a lot of competition, so in order to adapt and be successful as a hotel, you have to be strong as a group, whether it’s your sales team, culinary team, front of the house, guest services…all of it matters,” says chef McDonald. “So the food, the chef and the restaurant are all a representation of the hotel itself, therefore it has to have a certain standard [of excellence].”

The pool at the National Hotel Miami Beach.
The pool at the National Hotel Miami Beach.

The National Hotel Miami Beach with its luxurious 151 guestrooms, swanky Blues Bar and Aqua pool and lounge is the ideal destination for couples looking to take a romantic getaway for two. Book the hotel’s Timeless Romance package, and your clients will be treated to chocolate covered strawberries, Champagne upon arrival in their room, complimentary Ocean View upgrade, and complimentary 4 p.m. late checkout.

Before, during, and after the tasting guests were serenaded by soulful Cabaret South Beach performers who belted out a few oldies and newer tunes that kept us tapping our toes as we simultaneously lifted our forks. On Sundays, the National Hotel offers a Sunday Cabaret aBrunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with live music and brunch favorites, including chicken apple sausage, eggs benedict with hollandaise sauce and smoked salmon. The Sunday Cabaret aBrunch is $39 pp; $19.50 for children.

To have your clients experience the romance of the National Hotel Miami and try the new dinner menu at Tamara’s Bistro, which coincides with the popular Miami Spice month-long offering of pre-fixe lunch and dinner menus at the area’s top restaurants, call (305) 532-2311 or visit nationalhotel.com. Rates start at $95 through August on weekdays; $145 per night on weekends.