Essensia Restaurant – Pure Farm-To-Table Delights In The Heart of SOBE
Essensia is a beautiful restaurant located in the gorgeous Palms Hotel in South Beach. We love Essensia and were excited to return for a refresher review. The kitchen has recently welcomed renowned Chef Ilde Ferrer, a culinary master in the exquisite cuisine industry with over 20 years experience. Upon entering Essensia, I knew we were in for a treat. The ambiance and decor of the intimate interior dining room and Caribbean-style covered terrace was pleasing to the eyes, with eye-catching orange and blue accents of color coupled with plush pillowed chairs for a modern beach-side feel. The outside seating overlooked a lush garden backing up to the brilliant blue ocean. The garden was not only lovely to view, it also is the source of many of the ingredients featured on Essensia’s menu, exemplifying the farm-to-table concept. Essensia has been granted the esteemed Slow Foods Snail of Approval and most of the fruits and vegetables are locally grown and organically farmed. With so much wellness infused into every dish, it was easy to be excited to eat.
Our culinary venture began with a delightful Essensia Mule cocktail and the best watermelon and feta salad I have EVER had, which is a rarity for a food blogger! Essensia’s Bar features all hand-crafted cocktails made with fresh herbs from the onsite Chef’s organic garden and eco-conscious craft spirits. The mule featured Purity Organic Vodka, fresh lime, muddled cucumbers, jalapeño peppers, ginger puree, club soda, and was topped with basil aroma. It tasted fresh and crisp with a bitter-sweet after taste from the ginger. I enjoyed every last drop and it paired perfectly well with the divine salad. The presentation of the watermelon feta salad was unique and the taste incredible, unlike any other I have indulged in before. The ingredients for this mouthgasm comprised of watermelon, French Feta, Harpke Farms spinach, red onion, chives, Korean Chili agrodolce, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The watermelon was a burst of juiciness coupled with the savory sharp cheese. The chili kicked the taste up the notch and was soothed by the balmy olive oil. It made for an amazing flavor profile and I highly recommend you try it out!
After devouring that fantastic salad, Essensia blew me away again with their local waters calamaretti. This is the most delicious calamari I have ever tasted. I could hardly believe it! The plating of the dish was detailed and lovely. The fresh ingredients featured grilled greens, Tonnato sauce, lemon zest, parmesan, aleppo pepper and Essensia Garden parsley. All of Essensia’s seafood comes from sustainable sources, with an emphasis on local sourcing. This breading on the calamari was light and perfectly moist. The Tonnato sauce and shaved parmesan created a tangy and sweet taste, and the lemon zest on top was a mouth-watering kiss of citrus goodness. I would come back here just to have the salad and calamari every day if I could!
We continued the seafood trend with their new addition to the menu, the gluten-free local shrimp and watercress risotto. This creamy dish was absolutely delicious and quite filling. It was made with crispy local shrimp, lemon zest aioli, watercress, red onion, lemon and olive oil. It was a wonderful compliment to the rest of the dishes we had been blessed with.
With bellies full to bursting, we managed to taste and recommend two of their fabulous desserts. The chocolate cake was gluten-free and velvety smooth. It was completely flourless and garnished with Florida blueberries, Essensia garden mint, and coconut ice cream. The Florida peach and bourbon sponge cake was equally tasty, made with peach and bourbon glaze, toasted pecan streusel and ginger ice cream. Both were yummy in their own right, and satisfied my chocolate craving and my moist sponge cake craving.
Overall, dining at Essensia was an incredible experience and one that I look forward to returning to very soon. There are meal options for everyone, with sustainability and wellness intention infused into every dish. Treat yourself and your loved ones to an oasis for the taste buds by coming here to dine this summer.