Lutum: A Breath of Fresh Air in Miami’s Food Scene

Sunset Harbour has become one of our favorite dining destinations. Two reasons: In this Miami Beach neighborhood, the parking’s easy — hello, $1/hour parking garage  — and there’s so many restaurants to choose from. It’s basically a food blogger’s dream. Want to eat clean? There’s a place for that. Craving some pasta? There’s a restaurant for that. Tapas? Yup.

But what about a restaurant for diners who don’t want to limit themselves? What if I want it all or — more likely — can’t decide what I want to eat? Thankfully, there’s Lutum.

El Grito’s Washington Charles and Antar Sosa have charged Michael Mayta (ex-Cena; ex-Dusk) with leading the kitchen at this purposely diverse establishment. Emphasis on diverse: Despite the Latin name, the menu pulls in influences from just about everywhere. When restaurants try to do too much like this, quality can suffer. That’s not the case here; guests are in the capable hands of a proven chef who’s worked under Miami’s own Michelle Bernstein.

Dining out as much as we do, food can get boring. There’s only so many variations of a crudo or chicken and waffles or [insert popular dish here] you can try before you lose interest. Which is why Lutum is such a breath of fresh air: It’s different. However, if you read some of the names on the menu like Burger, Florida Fish and Half Roasted Chicken, you wouldn’t think so at first glance.

But a closer look (and bite) will have you saying otherwise. Florida fish with coriander polenta, shrooms, puffed barley and miso? Hell yeah, I’ll have it. Falafel Scotch Egg with fall squash hummus and pickles? Sold. Croqueta Madame? You had me at croqueta. Even seemingly simple dishes like Cacio e Pepe and Trash Can Chicken have a Mayta touch that pushes them past their peers. You can tell the kitchen is having fun yet serious about serving great food — there’s even a special weekly burger that plays off puns you’d typically find on Bob’s Burgers.

For dessert, Mayta’s partner Keily Vasquez (Illegal Bakery) has whipped up some decadent treats including a massive Apple Pie that will have you rolling out of the restaurant with a smile on your face. And mark our words: You will leave with a smile on your face. When fun and skill collide in the kitchen, magic happens. That’s exactly what’s happening at Lutum, and as diners, we’re all lucky to have a front row seat.

Lutum is located at 1766 Bay Road on Miami Beach. For hours of operation and more information, please visit their official website or call 786-773-3149.