When it comes to crafting unexpected fusion food that strikes all the right notes, chef Cesar Zapata is a master, so, naturally, we invited him to hold court at Time Out Market Miami. Learn how our market curation works here, but basically we tasted his food, reviewed his restaurant and ultimately, recommended him for a coveted spot. Here’s why:
Cesar Zapata’s great Viet-Cajun experiment began as a pop-up in 2011. The response? More, please. And so Phuc Yea was born in Miami’s MiMo District, an area that has thankfully ballooned with culinary talent over recent years. Phuc Yea is no small part of that balloon. The restaurant enjoys a prime location on Biscayne Boulevard in a building that once housed the Sir William Hotel. If the outside of Phuc Yea sings old-school glamour, the inside screams a more modern Miami attitude—with dashes of Wynwood industrial chic, Asian flare and a tiki bar aftertaste.
The Vietnamese/Cajun menu leans towards Asian plates with a delicious selection of pho, bao buns and Bánh mì sandwiches for lunch. The Cajun influence is certainly visible, though, especially in dishes such as the Cajun fried rice or the smoked duck ’n’ grits, a brunch favorite. And before you get too full, we should mention that the coconut bread pudding, served in a heavy cast iron skillet, is very possibly the best dessert in Miami. Still, don’t get too attached to any of the above. Zapata seems to always be tweaking and tinkering with his restaurant—leading to very positive results. The most recent example comes in the new lobby cocktail lounge, Madame Phuong, where diners can now lounge around and sip the bar’s inventive cocktails and sake or order from the late-night menu, which features beef pho, the signature house noodle dish (coated in garlic, oyster sauce and parmesan) and even Colombian empanadas—because why the hell not?