Remember long-time neighborhood spot Soyka and its stripped-down, industrial dining room? If you do, you certainly won’t recognize the space after seeing the gigantic, splashy new restaurant that’s opened in its place. CHICA by Lorena Garcia is the second outpost of the critically acclaimed Las Vegas eatery by the same name, which brings with it all its Sin City glitz to Miami’s historic MiMo district. There are tall banquettes and even taller ceilings, vibrant, jewel-toned furnishings and specks of brass, terracotta and mosaic tiles, serving as a design nod to the Latin American countries represented on the far-reaching menu that covers weekday lunch, weekend brunch, dinner and late-night bites in the bar-lounge area.
Chef Garcia—who’s appeared on Spanish-language cooking shows such as Top Chef Masters and America’s Next Great Restaurant—is from Venezuela, but her cooking runs the gamut of Central and South American cuisines. You’ll find her native arepas on the long list, which also draws from Mexico for its selection of tacos, Peru for its assortment of ceviches and Nikkei dishes, and from Argentina for the signature parrillada. In between, there’s a grilled octopus, a suckling pig porchetta, a whole roasted fish and other complex protein preparations that showcase Garcia’s prowess in the kitchen.