Chef’s Choice: Cesar Zapata, Phuc Yea

Cesar Zapata, chef/owner of MiMo’s Phuc Yea, dishes on his favorite Miami restaurants
Cesar Zapata, Phuc Yea
Photograph: Jonathan Pozniak
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Phuc Yea’s co-owner and chef Cesar Zapata is nothing if not a creature of habit. Every day starts with a morning workout at B-Fit Biscayne, followed by lunch and dinner at his favorite local restaurants. Chances are, you’ll catch him ordering the same dishes on each visit. “I’m boring, and I never cook at home,” he admits. Come mealtime, here’s where Zapata makes his rounds.

After work

Around here, I always end up at Gaijin Izakaya by Cake*. They’re open late, and you can always get good sushi. I love Japanese food, so I’ll usually have the chicken katsudon, hot tea and maybe chicken wings—it depends on if I want to misbehave. If not, I get the chirashi don, which is raw fish thinly sliced.

Lunch rush

I go to Ghee Indian Kitchen for lunch. They have a great special: five small dishes, including rice, naan and a protein, served in these little Indian lunch boxes [called tiffins]. I like it because it changes every day, and it’s always delicious.

Faraway foods

When I have a day off, I love going to this place in Broward [County] called Gold Marquess Fine Chinese Cuisine. I think of them when it comes to comfort food, even though I’m not Asian. Their dim sum always hits the spot. I like their pork baos, which are baked, not steamed, so they’re sweet and crispy on the outside.

*Editor’s note: Gaijin Izakaya by Cake has since closed.

Hungry? Make dinner plans of your own.

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