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  • Restaurants
  • West Coconut Grove
  • price 4 of 4
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. Sereia
    Photograph: World Red EyeSereia
  2. Sereia
    Photograph: Ruben Pictures
  3. Sereia
    Photograph: Ruben Pictures

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

An Iberican-themed modern seafood restaurant by a decorated chef proves Coconut Grove's dining scene is only getting better.

One of my favorite local Instagram accounts follows the exploits of a couple with an enviable life: they travel the world eating at only the finest restaurants. After the Michelin Guide debuted its Miami recommendations, they posted their own analysis, arguing that our local picks didn’t hold up against other cities.

I disagree with that conclusion, but I thought about it during my recent meal at Sereia. This modern seafood restaurant in Coconut Grove seems destined for the Michelin Guide—multiple stars, even—because it succeeds at every key fine dining metric, from impeccable service to dishes displaying a sophisticated level of technique. 

Take the bacalao. It’s salt cod, which some may remember as a fishy, over-seasoned offering from their grandparents. Here, it arrives in the form of a tarte, pretty enough for the front window display of a French bakery. A cured egg yolk sits on top like the center of a blooming flower. It’s mixed tableside, a light and delicate dish with the flaky cod the star of it all. 

This refined approach is the work of Henrique Sá Pessoa, who earned a pair of Michelin stars before opening Sereia in Michael Beltran’s old Navé spot. The space received a minor facelift, the bar still off to the left as you walk in, and an open kitchen in the back for those who want to watch the chefs work. To helm the kitchen here, Sá Pessoa hired Miguel Massens, a tasting menu master.

Luckily they went with an a la carte menu at Sereia, since diners (and their wallets) seem to be growing weary of the trend. With an Iberican theme, the fairly limited menu comprises dishes inspired by Spanish and Portuguese classics. Mostly it’s done with a deft hand, the scallop shining in a delicate crudo appetizer. 

The Scarlet Prawn Rice emphasizes the flavor of the shellfish, imparted heavily into the sticky socarrat, the delicately poached prawn swimming above it. Nothing tastes more of prawns than this rice. The Cataplana de Peixe e Marisco is a fish stew made with stocks simmered seemingly for days on end. 

Desserts here are largely takes on the classics, too: a char-edged basque cheesecake, a custard so deeply complex in flavor yet made with the simplest of ingredients. They’re evidence of something only great chefs can manage, inducing nostalgia with dishes we’ve never had before. 

The cocktail menu is full of ingredients made in-house, and the wine program suggests interesting pairings you’d never imagine work, like dry sherry with that bacalao. 

Sereia exists to display the talents of very good chefs worthy of all those stars, and the work of servers who nail every step of a meal. While we hotly disagree that Miami restaurants don’t measure up to Michelin’s standards elsewhere, none of it matters here at Sereia, a restaurant that exists to fulfill its own highest standards.

Eric Barton
Written by
Eric Barton


3540 Main Hwy
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