I was incredibly lucky to spend a full week in Miami for Thanksgiving. On my first day in the Magic City, I went from the airport straight to the Miami Book Fair. It was a blast walking through all the tents and I found some adorable children's books for my friends' kiddos.
That evening, my parents wanted to take me to a new Chinese restaurant in Wynwood, one of my favorite neighborhoods. It's called Palmar, and it was recently named to Bon Appetit's list of the 50 best new restaurants in America.
Palmar has its own, free parking lot which makes visiting there a total breeze. Right off the parking lot is their outdoor patio, which looked so dreamy under the twinkle lights.
We walked around to the front door to head in.
At night, Palmar has a very sexy, red-light-special vibe going on. This would be a great date spot.
Though I was really digging the atmosphere, the red overhead lighting was a nightmare for taking pictures. I apologize in advance! For a clear view of the restaurant and it's beautifully plated dishes in natural light, check out their Instagram, @palmarmiami.
To begin, my dad ordered a Coedo beer, which has a floral / citrus taste to it. I asked if I could take a quick photo of the bottle, and as I was lifting my camera out of my lap, he placed his chopsticks over his glass and said, "See, I'm helping!"
My mom ordered a hot green tea, which arrived in a very pretty pot. Our waitress warned, "Careful, the tea pot is much heavier than it looks."
We spent a while looking over the food menu, which had a lot of yummy sounding choices. My parents agreed to go mostly vegetarian, so we could share more dishes. The first to arrive was the shiitake and edamame potstickers.
The pinched edges of each potsticker were wonderfully crispy. Inside, they were packed with veggies. Even though this was the first thing we tasted, I already knew it would be my favorite dish.
Next, my parents shared the pork chive bao. After a few bites, my dad commented, "This is like a little pork meatball. It's served piping hot and it's very flavorful, but definitely not what I was expecting. It was more like a knish than a traditional pork bun."
We also ordered the shishito peppers, which I usually love, but these were lackluster. They weren't seasoned at all.
Then we moved on to the egg fried rice. It comes with a poached egg on top and you're supposed to mix it in to bind everything together. We all agreed the rice was perfectly cooked and we loved the veggies too.
The black bean Shanghai noodles were next, which we devoured. We all felt it was too small a portion for sharing. That said, the black bean sauce had a great smoky flavor, and the scallions added a nice kick.
Last but not least, we also ordered the crispy eggplant, which was served like a tempura. The eggplant was cut into big, square chunks, lightly battered and then flash fried. My mom really enjoyed this one and kept sneaking more pieces.
With every dish, my parents remarked how beautiful the serving bowls were.
I did have one major gripe about Palmar, which is that all of our dishes came at once. It made the table unbelievably crowded, and we ate super fast (because we could) which made me feel like the meal was over in an instant. Maybe that's how they turn tables quickly, but I wish they had coursed it out a bit more.
Though Palmar serves Chinese food, this place is so Miami. They were blasting high energy, Latin music all night and everyone in the restaurant was speaking Spanish (except us).