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Chef’s table: La Mar’s Diego Oka dishes on his favorite Miami restaurants

Diego Oka, La Mar
Photograph: Courtesy La Mar

Cooking is Diego Oka’s passion—just don’t expect him to do it for himself. “When I cook for myself, I lose the excitement of eating something I didn’t make,” says the 34-year-old executive chef of La Mar. “I always make myself eggs, steamed white rice and pickled vegetables—that’s it. I prefer to go out.” This is where Oka goes when he’s craving something tasty and elaborate.

Classic comfort

My go-to restaurant for comfort food is Monserrate. It serves a super-delicious Colombian sancocho, and it’s only $10. The chuletas with beans and rice are good, too. It’s close to my house, and delivery is fast.

Weekend tradition

In Peru, we go to Chinese restaurants called chifas. Unfortunately, there isn’t any good Chinese food where I live, so on Sundays I go to Cake Thai Kitchen. The crispy pork belly with Thai basil is a must, and then any curry or salad that chef Cake sends out—he’s amazing.

Fourth meal

Don Glotón is great for late night. I order tequeños, arepas and a passion-fruit juice. It’s delicious and open until 5am.

Typical brunch

Gold Marquess serves the best brunch. I drive 40 minutes to get there, eat tons of dim sum, drive home and go back to sleep.


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