What initially began in 2020 as a small passion project turned restaurant wedged between two jewelry stores in downtown Miami has recently emerged as one of Miami’s most successful Israeli-Mediterranean hot spots.
Motek, owned by husband-wife team Charlie and Tessa Levy with locations in Aventura and Coral Gables, has announced it will soon open at Brickell City Centre. The restaurant will occupy the fourth-floor spot previously occupied by Est. 33 Thai Craft Brewery & Kitchen.
“This growth is all about momentum,” Charlie Levy tells New Times. “We’ve had fans in Coral Gables, Aventura, and throughout Miami, so we thought if it could work there, it could work anywhere. At this point, it’s much easier to take a successful restaurant and expand than building a concept from scratch, which is what we’re doing here.”
Motek’s Brickell City Centre spot will be the restaurant’s fourth location and largest to date. A unique component compared to other sites, however, is the in-house bakery where pita, Jerusalem bagels, bourekas (savory meat- or cheese-filled hand pies), and more will be crafted fresh daily.
Menu staples will include the brand’s famed South Beach Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash People’s Choice-winning “Arayes” burger, with Lebanese beef stuffed into a pita and served with tahini and harissa aioli.
The spread at Motek, which is coming soon to Brickell City Centre.
Other highlights include an all-day brunch with savory dishes like shakshuka and less familiar offerings like the malawach Yemenite pancake topped with tahini and a spicy tomato mix. Staples like hummus, mezze, salads, kababs, and wraps are on the menu, too. For dessert, a silan date syrup-sweetened halva ice cream is a standout flavor journey, layered with fluffy tufts of shaved halva and candied pecans.
Vibe-wise, the Brickell City Centre location seats as many as 250 guests between its yellow accent-painted, contemporary Mediterranean dining room and outdoor patio. Other components include wood-fired ovens and a 24-seat bar for sipping on concoctions like the “Carajillo,” an espresso shot with Licor 43 that screams with vanilla notes and a citrus kick.
Beyond Brickell City Centre, it’s been a busy year for Motek. In March, its Coral Gables location opened on Miracle Mile, and its Aventura outpost moved to a space in Aventura Mall’s outdoor courtyard, nearly tripling the size of the space.]
According to Levy, yet another is on the horizon, with a Miami Beach restaurant slated to open in early 2024, as well as plans to expand to Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in the future.
Motek at Brickell City Centre. 701 S. Miami Ave., Miami; motekcafe.com. Opening winter 2023.