The idea is to have our customers feel like they’re in Barcelona,” says Deme Lomas, chef and owner of NIU Kitchen. Since opening in 2014, the restaurant has carved out a unique space within the Miami food scene: An authentic Catalonian tapas joint in a sea of flashy, celebrity-driven power dining. Occupying a quiet downtown corner, the humble dining room is a portal to Spain’s culture capital with natural woods, Spanish ephemera, and 70s-era European music.
At NIU, gimmicks take a backseat to what’s on the plate—the ambiance is quaint, but Lomas’s irresistible pintxos and shareable dishes sing loudly. Crowd pleasers include the vegan paella with escalivada mushrooms, octopus carpaccio, and ous (poached egg) with potato foam, crispy jamón ibérico, and black truffle. The elemental nature of the cuisine extends to the riveting wine program built around hard-to-find natural and organic varietals from around the world. (The restaurant’s adjacent wine bar is one of the Magic City’s underrated gems.) How confident is the team in its wide-ranging menu? One of the specialties on offer is a “round of beers for the kitchen staff.”
In the latest installment of our Designing Delicious series, produced in partnership with Dorsia, we pay NIU Kitchen a visit.