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Meet CH’I: Brickell’s newest restaurant turns into a club at night

The Miami nightlife scene has officially returned in 2021

CH'I's dining room. Photo by Michael Pisarri.
CH'I's dining room. Photo by Michael Pisarri. (Courtesy of CH'I and Rockaway PR)

BRICKELL, Fla. – If there’s one thing about Miami restaurants that makes them unique it’s that some of the most popular ones completely transform after 10 p.m.

Let me explain.

There’s probably no other collective of restaurants in the entire country where you’ll have polar opposite experiences at the exact same restaurant. Take, for instance, Swan: A 7 p.m. reservation at David Grutman and Pharrell’s Swan in the Miami Design District is completely unlike a group of guys’ 11 p.m. reservation at the same spot, where they’ll hit up Bar Bevy upstairs around 2 a.m. and leave just four hours shy of a group of girls visiting from out-of-state’s 10:30 a.m. brunch reservation.

This is Miami in a nutshell, and its latest addition to the restaurant scene embodies just this.

Meet CH’I, a multi-faceted entertainment venue in Brickell City Centre that fuses several concepts — a garden, a mercado, a lounge, and a Latin-Chinese restaurant — all in one.

Because, Miami.

The Mercado at CH'I. Photo by Michael Pisarri. (Courtesy of CH'I and Rockaway PR)

“CH’I is by far and away one of the coolest, most unique concepts we’ve ever created,” says Francesco Balli, Co-CEO of Grove Bay, the South Florida-based restaurant group who co-created the space. “We’re particularly excited about the dining component and to introduce our fresh take on Chino-Latino cuisine which celebrates all of our partners’ Hispanic roots with our shared love for Chinese food and culture.”

At the restaurant, expect a ”high-energy ambiance” throughout its 12,000-square foot indoor and outdoor space that includes three bars, two DJ booths, neon signs throughout, and multiple lounge and dining areas. As for what’s on the menu? The menu features Chino-Latino cuisine that owners say is inspired by the Chinese cafes that first dotted the streets of Latin America.

As previously mentioned, CH’I is broken up into four sections: the garden, the mercado, the lounge, and the main restaurant.

At the garden, guests will be seated in an open-air terrace with an island bar, outdoor seating, and cabanas, which are all centered around a light installation intertwined with greenery. Here, guests can order snacks from their light bites menu, which is prepared at their mercado. A DJ is set to play in the evenings and throughout the weekend.

The mercado at CH'I. Photo by Michael Pisarri. (Courtesy of CH'I and Rockaway PR)

Across this space is the mercado, which, according to creators, is modeled after an Asian-themed market. Here, expect casual menu offerings like soups, salads, bao buns, rotisserie, and wok items, like their Sweet & Spicy Fried Chicken, Lomo Saltado, and their Habanero Char Sui Pork Ribs. The mercado’s interior features neon signs, dimmed lighting, and floor-to-ceiling displays of antique objects and knick-knacks.

Then, just when you thought you had seen it all, through a large wooden door in the back of the mercado lies the lounge. Here, guests are greeted by two giant murals, a mirrored wall, and more than 150 paper lanterns. Inside the lounge, guests can order libations from a full-service bar as they wait for their seat (or, they can just vibe at the bar).

The lounge at CH'I. Photo by Michael Pisarri. (Courtesy of CH'I and Rockaway PR)

Lastly, but not least, is the main dining room, which features a menu by Chef Rafael Perez Cambana, who is CH’I’s executive chef. The Peruvian-born chef, who’s worked at numerous concepts in Miami, has created a Latin-Chinese menu of soups, salads, dim sum, small lates, wok items, and signature dishes, such as the Shrimp Enchiladas Dumplings and Ropa Vieja Spring Rolls, (which, according to the restaurant, are a must-have).

Other notable dishes include their Peking Roasted Duck Tacos with whole peking duck, flour tortillas, scallions, pickled vegetables, avocado, kimchi cream, and soy wasabi mayo, and their Porter House, a 32-ounce fire-roasted porterhouse steak made with black pepper soy sauce, smoked chili sauce, and lemongrass ginger chimichurri.

CH'I Habanero Char Sui Pork Ribs. Photo by Michael Pisarri. (Courtesy of CH'I and Rockaway PR)

The dining room’s interior is filled with booths, tropical décor, and Asian-inspired aesthetics that mix earthy brown and green velvet tones with hints of gold, jewel tones, and crimsons. Plus, like any lavish restaurant in Miami, expect crystal chandeliers galore.

Following dinner service, the lights go down, the music turns up, and the celebration really begins. A full bar and bottle service is available until close, as well as the mercado’s late-night selection of light bites. (The bar and lounge are open until 3 a.m. from Thursday through Saturday.)

The dining room at CH'I. Photo by Michael Pisarri. (Courtesy of CH'I and Rockaway PR)

“We are incredibly proud of the magic we’ve created at CH’I, blending four separate concepts into one amplified, jaw-dropping dining and nightlife experience,” says Emi Guerra, co-owner of Breakwater Hospitality, whose group also co-created the restaurant.

CH’I is located at 701 S. Miami Ave. #339a inside Brickell City Centre. The mercado and garden are open Sunday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m to 12 a.m.

The dining room and lounge are open Sunday through Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m.

For more information, click here, or, call (305) 257-8726.


About the Author:

Nicole Lopez-Alvar is a Miami-born and raised journalist and TV personality covering South Florida and beyond for Local10.com.