Turning Tables: The Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai Opens with New Restaurants

Wine

Who’s behind it: Located in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, the Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai is the first Caribbean property within the Edition Hotels portfolio (a partnership between hotelier and entrepreneur Ian Schrager and Marriott International). The “lifestyle hotel” group’s restaurants include three Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners in New York: the Clocktower at the New York Edition and 701West and the Terrace at the Times Square Edition.

Chefs Tomás Bermúdez and Francisco “Paco” Ruano oversee the food and beverage programs at the Riviera Maya hotel. Ruano previously worked at El Celler de Can Roca in Spain, and is the chef and co-owner of Alcade in Guadalajara, Mexico; Bermúdez is the chef and co-owner of La Docena, also in Guadalajara.

The opening: The 182-room Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai began its preview opening in November 2023 and opens fully this month.

Ki’is: A Nature-Inspired Restaurant

The culinary approach: The Riviera Maya’s centerpiece restaurant is Ki’is (“zest” in Mayan), whose main inspirations lie in “natural elements,” the ocean and the local produce of the Yucatan Peninsula and Riviera Maya. Ruano’s contemporary Mexican tasting menu includes dishes such as tuna toro tlayuda (an Oaxacan dish with a toasted tortilla as its base) with chicatana ant salsa macha and avocado, as well as totoaba fish with white beans, clam velouté and chintextle (a smoked chile paste). “We strive for all dishes to reflect a contemporary and flavorful Mexico that speaks of the journeys I have taken and the traditions of the peninsula,” Ruano told Wine Spectator via email, highlighting a salad of pumpkin, vegan ricotta (made from grated macadamia) and the local huauzontle plant.

A dish of tuna toro tlayuda at Ki’is (Courtesy of The Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai)

What’s on the wine list: Ruano selected about 100 labels, with spotlights on Mexico (with wineries like Henri Lurton, Mogor-Badán and Ícaro), California, Spain, France, Austria and Italy. There are about 10 sparkling wine choices, including Cava and A. Margaine Champagne. Cabernet choices come from wineries such as Argentina’s Alta Vista and Napa Valley’s Schrader Cellars. Much of the list emphasizes wineries practicing environmentally sustainable techniques, with several natural wines. Guests can also pick from mixologist Fabian Lepe’s cocktail program, which features agave-based spirits from western Mexico.

The design: Ruano describes Ki’is as offering a “sophisticated yet relaxed” atmosphere; the space features clay, marble and wood elements and local plants.

So’ol: A New Beach Club

The culinary approach: Bermúdez created the menu for So’ol (“oyster” in Mayan), a more casual beachside restaurant that infuses Mexican influences with those of Mediterranean beach clubs and southern France. Seafood is at the center of the menu, which features fresh clams, oysters and other raw bar items from Mexican waters. “So’ol’s food is completely honest, respecting the best-quality raw materials that are found in Mexico and specifically [this] area, with little intervention in their natural flavors,” Bermúdez said. Expect dishes like aguachile with shrimp, tomatillo tatemada salsa, guacamole, aioli and coriander, prepared in the style of La Docena. Fresh oysters are grilled over charcoals and dressed with clarified butter, parsley, shallots and lemon.

 A plate of fresh oysters and other assorted shellfish on ice.

Fresh raw bar orders come right from local waters to your plate at So’ol. (Courtesy of The Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai)

What’s on the wine list: Like Ki’is, So’ol features about 100 wines on its list overseen by Bermúdez and his partner Alejandro de la Peña. It is based largely on their worldwide travels (Bermúdez and de la Peña have personal experience with much of the list), with wines from Mexico, Argentina, California, Spain, France, Austria, Germany, Italy and farther afield. Fittingly for an oceanside restaurant, white wines are a focal point, including Vinho Verde, white Burgundy, Albariño from Rías Baixas, Mexican Chardonnay and Sicilian Grillo. So’ol’s beverage program also includes tequilas, mezcals and aguas frescas.

The design: So’ol matches its beach setting with bright colors and a terrace area that surrounds a pool. Diners have views of both the Caribbean and, thanks to the open kitchen, the restaurant team at work.

There’s even more: In addition to Ki’is and So’ol, the Riviera Maya Edition at Kanai is also home to Kitchen at Edition, an all-day restaurant with local culinary influences, as well as the Pool Bar (which focuses on sustainable cuisine) and the hotel’s Lobby Bar, which features smaller plates and regional wines.—C.D.


As Avery Moves to Scotland, Its Team Opens a New San Francisco Wine Lounge

A new Avery: You may need a passport for your next dinner from the team behind Avery, a former Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner in San Francisco. While the fine-dining restaurant closed its doors in November 2023, a new iteration of Avery is opening in Edinburgh, Scotland, this year.

Avery chef and owner Rodney Wages’ wife is from the U.K., and the couple has been planning to start a family there when the time is right, explained Sean Widger, general manager and head of beverage. Wages decided to transplant Avery to Edinburgh after falling in love with the city, finding it an exciting and burgeoning place for restaurants. “Fine dining is budding, and tourism is on the rise,” said Widger. “And there’s a greater demand than we expected for new things in food and wine.”

 A table with red and white wine, displayed in bottles and poured in two glasses, alongside cocktails, finger sandwhiches and charcuterie boards.

In San Francisco, Avery is now RTB Wine Lounge, where small bites are paired with premium bottles. (Joseph Weaver)

When it will open: The team is aiming for summer 2024. Widger said they’re currently in a fundraising period, and Wages has been opening pop-ups to generate interest and awareness.

What happened to the San Francisco space: Meanwhile, with four years left on the lease for Avery’s Fillmore District location, Wages planned to sublease the space to a fellow restaurateur for a pop-up concept. When that fell through, Widger found a way to keep the Avery legacy alive while delivering something new—a type of establishment he wished were more common in San Francisco.

In mid-December, Avery became RTB Wine Lounge, which Widger described as a comfortable place with midcentury modern furnishings, velvet sofas and lounge tables where guests can have a glass of wine, enjoy a meal or even respond to emails. “We wanted to make it accessible and fun, to serve the community that supported us so long and let them still enjoy a piece of Avery,” said Widger.

What’s on the wine list: Although wine is at the center of the new lounge, Widger—who had a nearly full, 1,500-bottle cellar to play with—didn’t make significant additions to the bottle list. Instead, he expanded the by-the-glass program: The 30 selections include everything from a $14 Corbières Boutenac red (from France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region) to a $40 glass of Sonoma Pinot Noir made by Failla. Using a Coravin preservation system, RTB also offers cellar-aged pours such as Dante Rivetti Barbaresco Bricco Riserva 1998. Carrying over from Avery, the bottle list includes a heavy dose of Champagne and other options from France and California, as well as a sizable selection of sake.

The culinary approach: Widger described RTB’s dishes as “fine dining bites.” The concise menu includes shareable plates like popcorn with jamón fat, aonori (green laver seaweed) and onion; and aebleskiver (Danish fried batter balls) with pickled peppers, roasted garlic and prawns. For guests looking for a full meal, the restaurant team can plan a coursed menu.—A.R.


Los Angeles’ Manzke and Its Downstairs Bistro, Bicyclette, Will Close

When are the restaurants closing: Chefs Margarita and Walter Manzke are closing their West Los Angeles fine-dining restaurant Manzke and the adjoining bistro, Bicyclette, on March 1. With a wine program of more than 450 labels, Manzke earned a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence in 2023. Working with their partner, hospitality group Sprout LA, the Manzkes opened their namesake restaurant in March 2022 above Bicyclette, which opened in June 2021.

 The exterior of Manzke restuarant and Bicyclette bistro in Los Angeles

Manzke and its adjoining bistro, Bicyclette, will close on March 1, 2024. (Kristin Teig)

This follows the fall 2023 closings of two other restaurants from the Manzkes and their Manzke Hospitality Group: Petty Cash Taquería and Sari Sari Store. In a statement, the Manzkes explained that the closures were due to “financial losses.” Their flagship, Best of Award of Excellence winner République, will remain open in Los Angeles.

The menus: For those who want to try it before it’s gone, Manzke’s cuisine embodies its chefs’ decades of fine-dining experience. Its seasonal tasting menu ($165 per person, with optional reserve wine pairings for an additional $295) spotlights Southern Californian ingredients and Asian, European and Latin American culinary influences. Dishes have included Dungeness crab in green Thai curry, white asparagus with Kaluga caviar and Wagyu beef with potato mousseline. Meanwhile, Bicyclette builds off the Manzkes’ passion for French cuisine; it offers Parisian-style bistro dining, with baguettes, cheeses and dishes like cassoulet and Bourguignon short ribs.

What will happen to the wine: France, especially Burgundy and Champagne, are the main strengths of the cellar at Manzke, which includes more than 2,000 bottles. The shorter wine list at Bicyclette is exclusively French. Wine director Sarah Clarke will bring the Manzke and Bicyclette collections to République, where she also oversees the wine program. This will expand the restaurant’s nearly 2,000-label list, which focuses primarily on France, particularly Burgundy.—C.C.


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