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BY Jen Karetnick | March 17, 2017 | Feature Features National

A picture-perfect location, see-and-be-seen patrons and stellar Mediterranean cuisine by chef Alfredo Alvarez ensures The Deck at Island Gardens offers a balanced mix of style and substance.
The mezze tray with enginar, fava, kabak tzatziki, shakshouka, hamsi, kereviz and mercimek

Spring is the time of year when you take stock and ask yourself certain questions. If you’re of a faithful bent, it might be about what you’ve given up for certain holidays and what those sacrifices symbolize. If you’re philosophical, you may think about the renewal of the seasons and the overall cycle of life. And if you’re a dedicated diner and lover of nightlife, you may be wondering about the chicest waterfront place to dine and lounge that is not only perfect now, but will maintain its breezy integrity throughout the summer. The Deck at Island Gardens caters to this last individual rather well.

Located on Biscayne Bay’s Watson Island, behind the Miami Children’s Museum off the MacArthur Causeway, Island Gardens is a mixed-use development-in-progress that includes Deep Harbour, the only marina with capacity for mega-yachts in the Western hemisphere. The 5,000 feet of slips for these billionaire toys bring Miami into the stratosphere of resorts like Capri and Cannes, making good on that “American Riviera” nickname our city was given so long ago.

Situated entirely outdoors and replete with greenery, The Deck is Island Gardens’ first culinary component, put together by the development’s CEO, Mehmet Bayraktar, a Turkish real estate tycoon who relocated to South Florida. He recently nabbed Alfredo Alvarez to be executive chef—and yes, Alvarez brought with him his signature cognac-enhanced lobster risotto—and legendary club entrepreneurs Michael Capponi and Eric Milon to head up the entertainment. The result is a venue that’s attractive for numerous reasons: terrific food, high-end pours, eclectic live and DJ-mixed music, unbeatable views of Miami’s skyline, a light stir of wind no matter the time of day and an endless loop of wheel-heeled patrons in head-to-toe designer apparel.

Like other places where Alvarez has been chef—Seaspice and Palmeiras Beach Club among them—The Deck is a lure for those on the floating party circuit as well as locals who want to impress clients in a waterside canopied cabana or enjoy an evening out that diverges from the tried and true.

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