Quinto La Huella, had me intrigued with its name alone. And that’s before I’d even looked into what this restaurant was all about. This signature eatery of the EAST Miami hotel sounded cool, exotic and probably unlike anything I’d tried before.
When I delved a bit deeper, I realised, I was right. First up, Quinto La Huella is Uruguayan – a cuisine I’d never tried ahead of our Miami trip. Secondly, it’s the sister restaurant of Parador la Huella in the Uruguayan town of José Ignacio. This chic beachfront eatery has won a string of awards and was voted one of Latin America’s top 50 restaurants in 2017.
Quinto La Huella, meanwhile, is the first outpost of this coveted establishment. And when the managing director of EAST, Miami first approached the owners of Parador about opening up a second restaurant in Miami, I think they were pretty averse to the idea.
A visit to the ever-evolving Magic City later, however, and I think they had their minds completely changed.
I wondered how this establishment, which had built up such an esteemed reputation in a chic corner of Uruguay, would transcribe in the bustling hub of Brickell in Downtown Miami.
We were staying at EAST Miami for two nights. And as we arrived late on the Friday evening (after a long flight to Fort Lauderdale), we decided to book dinner at Quinto La Huella for the Saturday. Hopefully by then, we would be feeling less bleary-eyed and our taste buds would be a bit more switched on.
As our airport cab driver reminded us, it’s usually a good idea to swerve hotel restaurants. And I guess, it would be very tempting to do so if you stay at EAST, with the abundance of excellent restaurants you’ll find on its doorstep.
I am however, going to tell you to make an exception here, as I think you’re probably going to like this one.
First of all, for all the reasons I’ve explained above, Quinto La Huella is far from being ‘just another hotel restaurant’.
And second of all, the great thing about EAST, is it’s actually part of the buzzy Brickell City Centre – a sophisticated shopping mall filled with designer shops, restaurants, a WeWork Space and (being the Financial District), surrounded by some of the most powerful financial companies in America. There’s even a direct entrance to the hotel via the mall, so there’s no shortage of footfall from the outside world here.
And third of all, as you are about to see, the food is great…
Quinto La Huella, EAST Miami
You’ll find Quinto La Huella (meaning The Fifth Footprint) on the fifth floor of the hotel and breakfast for guests staying at EAST, is served here every morning. So we’d already got a glimpse of the lovely interiors, masterminded by LA designers Studio Collective, that day.
As you’ll see, they’ve managed to capture a really tasteful modern-meets-Latin-American vibe, with cow-hide lamp shades hanging from the ceiling, rustic South American-style fabrics and shelves filled with copper kitchenware and all sorts of Uruguayan knick-knacks.
We loved the quirky artwork in here too.
The service is warm and friendly and, rather surprisingly, staff had asked if we wanted to sit outside. But since it was blowing a serious gale, we quickly declined the offer! A table at the back of the restaurant with a cosy leather sofa seemed much more appropriate and was perfect for people watching over our dinner and wine.
There’s no dress-code as such at Quinto La Huella and it all feels pretty relaxed. But as it was Saturday night, there was a buzzy vibe and many guests were arriving, dressed to impress.
The culinary talent at the helm of Quinto La Huella is Nano Crespo and while the Argentinian chef grew up in his father’s restaurant in Buenos Aires, he has gone on to work with an array of prestigious names including the well-known Soho House group.
When we arrive, there’s a hint of the ocean in the air. The original eatery in Uruguay, we learn, goes by the slogan ‘Sea, Earth and Fire’, with a strong focus on seafood, and they’ve carried on the same passion here with a great selection of fish on the menu.
As a nod to the hotel’s eastern roots, there’s a sushi counter, but fear not, carnivores: in keeping with its South American roots, the restaurant also serves a selection of meat and steak, cooked in a traditional wood-fired parrilla.
Here’s what we had…
The starter of ‘chipirones’ was a show-stopping plate of garlicky and tangy rocket leaves, cherry tomatoes and smoky, chargrilled baby squid. It really was delicious.
Meanwhile, the burrata was a rich bubble of creaminess served with prosciutto ham, Bosc pears and a scattering of mint leaves and broken almonds. It was quite a lot to eat for a starter but again, it won on flavour and presentation.
It was tempting to go for the waiter’s suggestion of seafood. After all, the original Paridor La Huella pulls in the jet-setting travellers for this very reason. But instead, I went for the Entrecôte – a whopping 16oz Uruguayan grass fed ribeye steak which was a little salty for me, but was beautifully chargrilled, served with chimichurri on the side.
BC’s rack of lamb (actually sourced from New Zealand) was excellent.
and it was all served with chunky wood oven vegetables, smashed potatoes and an excellent glass of Argentinian wine.
Our waiter was lovely with a capital ‘L’. He couldn’t help us enough with our food selection, he had a great chat with us about the wine and we really enjoyed his service.
We really wish we’d been able to fit in dessert (the dulce de leche at breakfast was incredible so expect big things from the pastry chefs here) But alas, we were fit to burst. It was a good job our hotel room was just an elevator ride away.
I can’t speak for its much-lauded sister restaurant, but Quinto La Huella overall, impressed us hugely during our stay at EAST. The food isn’t quite perfection but the portions are huge, the restaurant is full of character, and it’s filled with warm and helpful staff.
My advice: arrive hungry – you’re in for quite a feast.
Quinto La Huella, 788 Brickell Plaza, Miami, Florida, 33131m USA, +1 786 805 4646