MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) -- South Floridians love to eat out. There are plenty of remarkable restaurants where diners can find delicious deals but there are also exceptional eateries that bring in the crowds despite sometimes hefty prices. One of those restaurants is nestled in the heart of South Beach at 23rd Street off Collins Avenue.
Villa Azur Restaurant and Lounge is a pleasure to the palette as well as the eyes.
The romantic decor is a mixture of both antique and modern motifs. The bar is engaging and relaxing and the outdoor patio area gives customers the feeling of being in a garden somewhere in the French countryside.
"That was the goal to get you to feel like you're in Europe. As soon as you come in, you feel out of Miami. People are so surprised. They love it," said owner Michael Martin.
Martin is one of three owners of Villa Azur, along with restaurateur Jean Phillip Bernard and actor Olivier Martinez, also known as Halle Berry's guy. The restaurant opened last March to rave reviews.
The menu is mostly French Mediterranean prepared with an Italian twist.
Entrees average in the mid $30's price range with classic Italian meals like Morel Mushroom Rigatoni and the signature French dish Bouillabaisse.
"We did it Mediterranean. We didn't want it just be French food. It's more Italian, Provencal, to have more choices for people to come here. We want them to have a taste of Europe when they come here," explained Martin.
Executive Chef Michael Benza served CBS4's Lisa Petrillo one of his favorite dishes; Italian beef tartar followed by that Bouillabaisse and then some pasta.
"Magnifique," exclaimed Petrillo.
Villa Azur is open 7 days a week. For more info: www.Villaazurmiami.com.
for more features.