MARE NOSTRUM RESTAURANT TO BRING MODERN MEDITERRANEAN CUISINE TO DOWNTOWN BRICKELL

Lucky Clover Irish Pub also on Tap in Spanish Hospitality Company’s First U.S. Foray

Slated to open in December 2011, at 1111 SW First Avenue at The Axis Building on Brickell, Mare Nostrum, which means “our sea” in Latin, is also what the Romans called the Mediterranean. It’s a fitting name for the 8,000 square foot, design-forward downtown dining destination, which will serve contemporary Mediterranean cuisine in a chic but welcoming setting. With a mandate to offer fresh perfectly-executed cuisine that is typical of the Mediterranean diet, the restaurant plans to wow diners with healthy and delicious fare that will be friendly to the waistline and wallet. Everything on the menu will be made in house daily from scratch using the highest quality available ingredients. However, seafood will be the true star of the Mare Nostrum menu, with a focus on all varieties of fresh fish – from those plucked that morning from local waters to imported European specialties. The distinctive flavors of Spain and Italy are on offer with house-made pastas, salads, risottos, pizzas and regionally-inspired mainplates, comprising the bulk of the menu. With an eye toward authenticity, Chef Pedro Gallardo of Murcia, Spain – a region in the southern part of the country renowned for its cuisine – will oversee culinary operations.

In an ambitious build-out that has been underway since January 2011, the restaurant includes seating for 154 in the dining room, along with an alfresco patio that accommodates 60; and an intimate private dining room available for parties as large as 16, as well as a lively bar and lounge. At the restaurant’s entry, a dramatic 11-foot tall glass wine room houses over 2,000 bottles; the wine rack divides the bar/lounge from the dining room, while a spectacular 25′ long seafood/raw bar display overflows with oysters, langoustines, crab claws and other seafood specialties on ice. Mare Nostrum boasts a state of the art kitchen with advanced European equipment created by its Spanish designers and retrofitted especially for South Florida; with top of the line equipment including pizza ovens, pasta, paella and risotto stations. The eatery will open daily for lunch and dinner.

Opening in tandem with Mare Nostrum at the same address is The Lucky Clover Irish Pub, a bustling restaurant and bar that will deliver the true Irish tradition of great food and lively entertainment. The Lucky Clover features a moderately priced menu with delicious casual fare including perfect fish n’ chips, juicy burgers and great salads along with a comprehensive beer and libations list, served at three bars. With 24 flat screen TVs, a large screen HD TV, a top notch sound system and permanent stage, The Lucky Clover will become Miami’s go-to spot for live music as well as a great place to catch a game with friends, all set in an atmosphere that feels straight out of Dublin. At over 10,000 square feet on two levels, The Lucky Clover can seat over 350 indoors and out, and will serve lunch and dinner, with late night dining available on the weekends; the bars will stay open ‘til the wee hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

Both venues are the first hospitality industry forays in the United States for the Mare Nostrum Restaurant Group, which is a subsidiary of Polaris World Development; a Spanish company which owns golf resorts, restaurants and hotels in Europe and has real estate holdings and design/furniture studios Baltus Collection and Yedra in the U.S.

Pedro Gallardo, executive chef at the InterContinental Hotel La Torre, a five star property in southern Spain, that is part of the Polaris portfolio, will hold the same position for the group’s U.S. projects. Oscar Suarez, a seasoned industry veteran, who has held management positions with the BLT Restaurant Group, Lago Mar Resort in Fort Lauderdale and Sonesta Hotels, among others, is the group’s Miami-based director of operations. According to Suarez, Miami was a natural destination for the Spanish company’s first test of the U.S. market.

“Miami’s climate, demographic make-up and geography make it the perfect destination for Mare Nostrum to debut stateside. We think that perfectly prepared, flavorful but health conscious cuisine with an emphasis on fresh fish is a great match for South Florida diners,” said Suarez.

Mare Nostrum features breathtaking design from showroom/studio Baltus Collection, the premier furniture division of the Polaris World Family, which is located in the Miami Design District. The modern, sophisticated look of Baltus perfectly complements the restaurant’s serene and inviting Mediterranean vibe through its calming and subtle oceanic palette. Contemporary handmade Moroccan tile, stunning mosaics, bleached white bamboo ceilings and frosted glass accents enhance the understated custom designed Baltus furnishings to create an ambience whose quiet luxury and style perfectly showcase the freshly prepared cuisine.

Designed by Spanish pub specialists Retromania to resemble a traditional Irish corner pub, down to the rustic floors and antique fixtures, The Lucky Clover employs hand-decorated wooden ceilings, charismatic memorabilia and period lighting to create the welcoming and authentic environment found in the very best of Dublin’s ale houses. Vintage canoes, antique mirrors, reclaimed signage and the delicious pub fare help define The Lucky Clover as a casual but lively watering hole.

Mare Nostrum and The Lucky Clover Pub, both scheduled to open in December 2011, are located at 1111 SW First Avenue in the Brickell neighborhood; directly across the street from the Brickell Avenue Metrorail MetroMover station. Valet and street parking are available. For reservations, call Mare Nostrum at 786-691-2770. More information can be found at marenostrumrestaurant.com and luckycloverbar.com.