Upland, from cuisine dream team Stephen Starr and Justin Smillie, doesn't play by the usual Miami Beach rules. There's a decided lack of glitz and glamour inside: the ambiance is clean, warm, elegantly urban, with a distinct New York vibe (the first Upland debuted in NYC in 2015). You can smell the coal- and wood-burning stoves that are the trademark of this open fire cookery. Altogether, it's a welcome change of pace from the usual ultra-modern, neon-soaked Miami scene.
The vibe is New York but the cuisine is California-inspired, including fresh pastas, delightful pizzas (sausage + kale, pistachio + fontina, and more), savory vegetable dishes and seared proteins from those open fire stoves. The roasted short rib for two includes a generous garnish of olives, walnuts, celery and horseradish. Seafood is well represented: drunken snapper, tuna tartare, a wahoo crudo. Sharing is encouraged, so everyone can sample a variety of flavors, and several menu items are advertised as for two, three or more.
Upland is a wonderful change of pace for Miami Beach, with a warm and friendly vibe, and it just happens to also have amazing tasty and elegant dishes alongside the companionable atmosphere!