From Chile… India Comes to Miami

Rishtedar expertfully blends Latin cocktails with Indian cuisine in Miami

Rishtedar expertfully blends Latin cocktails with Indian cuisine in Miami’s innovation district

By Kylie Wang

Walking into Rishtedar from the chaos of Wynwood, Miami’s enclave for artists and entrepreneurs, is like stepping into a different world. Outside, half the neighborhood is under construction; inside is an oasis of calm. Light bulbs couched in patterned poufs hang from the ceiling. Along the left wall, a reflective purple façade is framed in golden latticework, interrupted only by arched windows that offer a glimpse of Wynwood in transition. Up the staircase, next to a luminescent gold wall decorated with shards of mirrored glass, intricately carved lantern lights lead to another dining room. 

The cocktail menu is simple, with classics like daiquiris and margaritas. We dared to try one of each, with low expectations considering the restaurant’s dedication to Indian cuisine. After all, why would an Indian place have a good margarita? The answer to the fabulous concoctions we imbibed is, of course, Rishtedar’s inception – not in India, but in Chile. Rishtedar’s location in Miami’s Wynwood district is, it turns out, the restaurant’s fourth – and the only one not in Latin America. 

This has no bearing on the food, however, which is distinctly Indian, made by Indian chefs. We tried the murgh tikka as an appetizer, drawn to the waiter’s description of a steaming spicy chicken kabob, served tableside in a sort of metal bassinet and still smoking from its cooking time in a traditional Indian tandoor. The large urn-shaped oven is made of clay, used to bake many Indian delicacies, including the famous tandoori chicken. 

We also tried the goa chilly jheenga, sauteed shrimp with onion, green peppers, and a spicy tomato sauce. It felt a little outside the Indian cookbook – one doesn’t usually think of shrimp as an Indian staple (and these were Ecuadorian shrimp as well!) – but the chili bite was right on point, the spices deeply Indian, and the shrimp plump and succulent. 

For entrees, we tried a more traditional dish – butter chicken – to see how
it stacked up against other iterations we’ve tried. Rishtedar’s is an instant classic, juicy and well-balanced. Equal parts creamy and tangy, it’s a simple dish that has the usual Indian flavoring without the spice (though you can ask for more heat if you want). 

Most interesting was the lobster masala, which features coconut and South Indian flavorings. Despite the sweetness of the coconut, it lands with a pleasantly acidic taste, pairing well with an accompanying spoonful of basmati rice. The slender-grained rice mainly grown in India and Pakistan is more aromatic than plain white rice and far less sticky. If you find your dish too hot (and Rishtedar does not skimp on the spice), basmati rice can make a huge difference between bites. The restaurant offers two options besides the regular version: nimboo baath has curry and mustard seeds, giving it a slightly sharp flavoring, while kashmiri pulao has fruits and spices for a sweeter take. 

Of course, naan is also an option for a side and Rishtedar has several kinds. The bread, recently ranked the third-best type of bread in the world by international food travel guide TasteAtlas, is usually baked in a tandoor and seasoned simply. But at Rishtedar, you can have it with garlic (lasun naan), cheese, or made with sesame and coriander (till dania naan) – or, of course, traditionally, without additions. 

For dessert, you could have a full platter of all Rishtedar’s offerings or go simpler with our favorite, gulab jamu: sweet milk starch balls marinated in rose water with saffron. 

Delightfully authentic to India with a Latin flair on the cocktail menu, Rishtedar is about as international as it gets. Stepping inside takes you somewhere else, from a busy street in Miami to a palatial restaurant in India. 

Moving from gateway to bridge of the Americas

Moving from gateway to bridge of the Americas

Should cities replace states as global diplomacy and solution connectors?

Sustainability in the DR

Sustainability in the DR

The latest high-end resort by the Cisneros Group aims to preserve and protect

You May Also Like