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15 Years in the Making: Mark Soyka Returns with Cafe Roval

#7 of 25 Things We Love About Dining Out in Miami, from the DiningOut Miami Winter 2016 Print Issue

Recently celebrating its 17th anniversary, Mark Soyka’s restaurant, Soyka, continues to be a mainstay of the Miami Beach scene. What seems like an impossible feat for a restaurant seems to be a running theme for Soyka; many of his operations have withstood the test of time. His first concept, the News Café, has been open for 25 years (serving patrons 24 hours a day, seven days a week), while the historic Van Dyke Café soared for 19 years on Lincoln Street before it shuttered in 2003. Truly a visionary of South Beach, Soyka’s ventures played a key role in reviving South Beach. Seemingly, each of his concepts started a ripple effect, prompting the rise of high-quality restaurants in the area—an area that is now our bustling dining scene.

Of course, Soyka could’ve rested easy on his laurels, but instead, the restaurateur has been quietly brewing a new concept. For years, he had his eye set on a building dating back to the 1920s, the Coral House. Made of native-coral rock and wood, the building was initially a pump house, which provided fresh tap water to the Morningside neighborhood. After years of changing owners, the building eventually landed in Soyka’s hands—seeing new life as Café Roval. Emitting an almost speakeasy feel, Café Roval’s cavernous interior is entirely made of coral rock, creating perfect acoustics for the live jazz inside. The dimly lit chandeliers pave the way to a warm and inviting bar, which deliver an impressive view of an expansive two-level patio, encompassed by a lush landscape of palm trees and two lagoons. Executive Chef Nuno Grullon has crafted a true farm-to-table experience here, drawing on influences from around the world. Grullon not only sources ingredients locally, but he pulls from the restaurant’s own edible garden of herbs, vegetables, and tomatoes, which he integrates into dishes such as the vegan dish of the day. Playing off a menu driven by the seasons, starters include Seasonal Oysters with a litany of sauces—including mignonette and habanero leche de tigre—and Fresh Yellowfin Tuna Crudo with toast, quail yolk, red onion, capers, tempura crisp, and ponzu dressing. Patrons can dive into larger offerings such as the Grass-Fed Filet Mignon Skewers with tri-color fingerling potatoes, romanesco, confit cipollini, and tarragon mustard, while ending the night with Fondue de Cacao for two finished with a bottle of sparkling wine. Undersocred by an extensive wine list of over 80 varietals and a full cocktail list including housemade sangrías from mixologist Douglas Beedoo, the bar is definitely a spot to linger. With an enchanting environment and chef-driven cuisine, Mark Soyka’s latest creation deserves a standing ovation. {786.953.7850; caferoval.com}

By DiningOut Miami