Le Zoo

Le Zoo markedly stands out amongst the other restaurants in the Bal Harbour Shops thanks to its voguish reflective design. Red, blue, and yellow patterned rattan chairs are settled in the patio, surrounded by lush palm trees—recalling the essence of a sidewalk café in Paris. The charming interior radiates class and an Old World elegance, with wooden candle-lit tables, a large luminescent clock, foliage that lines the ceiling, pink neon lights, mosaic-tile floors, and a backlit bar. The French brassiere is the brainchild of famed restaurateur Stephen Starr, who also owns the adjacent Makoto. The menu features French Mediterranean classics and creations by Executive Chef Julian Baker.

I happily raised my Bellini to toast with my guest. Le Zoo’s bubbly sorbet-pink Bellini is made with Prosecco, White Peach Nectar, and Giffard Crème Pêche. I reveled in the sweet notes of the classic Italian cocktail! My first appetizer was sensational: The Sautéed Foie Gras, fatty duck liver that delivers a distinct and bold taste. This foie gras was particularly tasty thanks to the caramelized apples and homemade toasted Brioche. The apples are soaked in Calvados French brandy and are cooked along with the duck in a process called confit. The apples then absorb some of the duck’s fat, making for a unique piquancy that harmonizes with the melt-in-your-mouth foie gras.

For my entrée, I opted for the Trout Amandine with a side of Tagliolini. Trout can be a bit plain at times, but with this dish, it was the contrary. I was rewarded with the lemony, zesty taste of the beurre noisette sauce, the crunchiness of the haricots verts (French green beans), and the nuttiness from the toasted almonds that were spread atop the fish. I’ve never had trout with nuts before—it seemed like a bit of an odd mix—but when I dug in, I immediately retracted my criticism! The Tagliolini was superb; the thin pasta strands were covered in fresh parmesan cheese and a silky black winter truffle butter sauce that had me twirling more and more around my fork each time!

Le Zoo’s enjoyable and distinguishing menu doesn’t tone it down when it comes to dessert. To gratify my taste buds, I was treated to Profiteroles. This beloved French choux pastry is basically a cream puff, but with vanilla ice cream inside. The choux dough is crunchy and light, making way for the contrasting smooth ice cream that follows. Bittersweet chocolate sauce was poured all over for that extra kick—it wasn’t too sweet or too thick, making it just right! At Le Zoo, you’ll escape reality for a few hours as you sip on Bellinis, bask in the essence of Paris, and indulge in French gastronomy.


By Aaliyah Pasols