You might know Sawgrass Mills as one of South Florida’s best outlet malls, but these days, the sprawling retail wonderland boasts so much more than just bargain shops. In addition to its growing roster of deeply discounted luxury labels like Fendi, Gucci and Prada, Sawgrass now also claims its own restaurant helmed by a Michelin-starred chef.
Next time you get the itch to cross county lines and brave the mall crowds, you’ll want to stop in at La Doña, though the brand new Mexican concept by celebrity chef James Tahhan and Michelin-starred chef Patrick Baloup might just be worth a visit on its own.
Inspired by the diverse regional flavors of Mexico and the influential women who helped forge the country’s culinary tradition, La Doña (“The lady”) focuses on coastal ingredients and techniques. Located at the Colonnade Outlets section of the mall, the 224-seat open-air seafood restaurant features a massive, mesmerizing jellyfish tank as its centerpiece.
La Doña is the first duo concept from chefs Baloup and Tahhan. Originally from Paris, Baloup fell in love with Mexican cuisine while living in the country for 20 years. Outside of Mexico, Baloup worked prestigious stints at the likes of Pasticceria Marchesi in Milan, Negresco in Nice and Résidence de la Pinède in Saint Tropez, among others, and racked up 21 coveted Michelin stars along the way.
For his part, Tahhan spent more than a decade as a prominent figure exploring global gastronomic cultures on Telemundo’s hit morning show, Un Nuevo Día. In 2020, he deepened his culinary resume by co-founding the restaurant Sabores in Miami and launching the Foodiescuela cooking school. You can also spot him on popular shows cooking shows including Chopped, Worst Cooks in America and MasterChef Latino.
“We aim to elevate the dining experience through an interactive menu where culinary artistry unfolds at each table,” says Baloup. This includes dishes prepared to order tableside, like the Guacamole de la Casa. Other starters include jicama shrimp tacos, octopus carpaccio in a habanero vinaigrette and a lobster taco made with garlic guajillo butter, a Mexican cheese blend and a housemade flour tortilla.
From the larger dishes, highlights include a grilled snapper loin served ranchera-style over white beans and topped with pork rind cracklings, and the street food-inspired grilled pork chop al pastor served with cilantro rice, grilled pineapple, guacamole and plantains. As for drinks, La Doña’s extensive tequila and mezcal collection features more than 100 varieties of agave-based spirits. Happy hour is every Monday through Thursday from 5pm to close.
La Doña is located at 1800 Sawgrass Mills Circle in Sunrise. It is currently open Sunday to Thursday from 11am to 10pm and Friday and Saturday from 11am to 11pm. For more information, visit ladonarestaurants.com.