Chef Justin Smillie, known for his California-inspired cuisine, and famed restaurateur Stephen Starr whose portfolio features some of the nation’s most exciting restaurants from New York to South Florida, opened a second outpost of Upland in South Beach. Roman & Williams, visionaries behind Upland NYC were tapped to design the project in Miami’s chic South of Fifth neighborhood. Named for the southern California town where Smillie was raised, Upland debuted November 29.
Smillie, who first rose to prominence as chef at Il Buco Alimentari before partnering with Stephen Starr has received critical acclaim—including nods from The Wall Street Journal and New York Times—for Upland NYC’s contemporary California-inspired cuisine, and recently authored a cookbook Slow Fires: Mastering New Ways to Braise, Roast, and Grill. Upland Miami showcases Smillie’s sophisticated sensibility with a menu featuring rustic and seasonally influenced fare that mirrors the New York location. Dishes range from expertly prepared fresh pastas, pizzas, vegetables and wood-fired proteins. Highlights include a Little Gem Salad with avocado, cucumber, ricotta salata and walnut vinaigrette; Pappardelle with spicy sausage ragù, kale and parmigiano; and Roasted Short Rib for Two with castelvetrano olives, walnuts, celery and horseradish. In true California style the wine list is robust and food friendly. Upland features a voluminous wine cellar with a focus on American, Italian and French wines and an emphasis on artisanal farmers. Selections range from the accessible to the sought-after.
“South Florida and Southern California have similar tastes in food—health conscious consumers with sophisticated tastes—and we look think Upland will be a great fit for Miami Beach,” says Smillie of the move. “The partnership with Starr has been fantastic and I look forward to joining Starr Restaurants’ Florida family.”
Situated at the southernmost end of Collins Avenue, Upland features indoor and outdoor seating and a gorgeous modern bistro setting with an open exhibition kitchen. Design elements —including walls lined with wine and preserved lemons and artichokes—pay homage to Upland’s New York City counterpart. Meanwhile, the kitchen is outfitted with state of the art equipment and thoughtful details including humidity controlled room that ensures perfect pasta and pizza dough all year round.