Adriana Cisneros’ dining boltholes

The CEO of Cisneros, the media and property conglomerate based in Miami, does deals over caipirinhas in São Paulo, ceviche in the Dominican Republic and gnocchi in New York

Adriana Cisneros at Azabu
Adriana Cisneros at Azabu | Image: Rose Cromwell

“In my home base Miami I do a lot of breakfast meetings at the Mandarin Oriental and the Four Seasons as they’re convenient for most people. I love the outdoor terrace at the Mandarin Oriental where they serve good black coffee, overnight oats and green juice. I try to eat healthily and am 75 per cent vegan, 15 per cent vegetarian and 10 per cent good manners.

I spend most of my time travelling to oversee our business divisions and am in the office so little that I am happy to work through lunch. I will, however, make an exception to my “no lunches out” rule for Alberto Ibargüen of the Knight Foundation, with whom I work on several Miami-related arts initiatives. He loves Boulud Sud, and the cauliflower tabbouleh there has become a favourite.

I’m more enthusiastic about going out to dinner, and my go-to spots tend to feel like my kitchen – comfortable and easy. Michael’s Genuine is excellent and I’ve brought architect Terry Riley there to discuss real-estate projects over delicious watermelon salads. Azabu is another staple for business dinners because it’s small and quiet. I recently shared an omakase meal there with Robert Wennet, the developer behind New York’s Meatpacking District, to discuss his latest mega-project, Allapattah, which will be Miami’s tech hub. The crispy corn tempura with curry salt, moromi miso, as well as the grilled avocado topped with uni, soy and wasabi, never disappoint.

Much of my travel is to South America and São Paulo figures prominently. I meet with architect Isay Weinfeld who is designing our Four Seasons project in the Dominican Republic as part of our low-density resort called Tropicalia. We toasted his final designs at Mani – which specialises in northeast Brazilian cuisine – over sublime caipirinhas made of acajou cashew fruit. When I’m with our Four Seasons partners in the Dominican Republic I always go to La Cassina in Santo Domingo, where they make great cacio e pepe, as well as vegetable tiraditos and ceviches – my favourite is the one in pineapple juice with coconut.

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In the past year we have opened nine new offices in Latin America where entertaining is central to doing business. We represent Facebook, Instagram and Messenger in countries such as Paraguay and Bolivia where there is no established presence. I recently dined at Tierra Colorada Gastró in Paraguay with a senior executive of the ad agency Ogilvy. He introduced me to sopa secca paguaya, a local delicacy that’s like a pie, and the setting – in an old house in a cobblestone street – added to the authenticity. 

As half of our digital team is in Colombia, I spend a lot of time there. In Bogotá, I like El Cielo, which is a true molecular gastronomy experience. Chef Juan Manuel Barrientos has created a foundation to teach cooking to those displaced by the guerilla movement. He is helping to break the cycle of violence and poverty and it makes a meal there even more special. 

New York is like my second home. The arts and culture side of our family – the Cisneros Foundation – has donated contemporary Latin American and modernist Latin American art collections to MoMA so I like to have meetings at the museum’s The Modern restaurant – but at the bar rather than one of the coveted tables: I love the casual, lively atmosphere and the green gnocchi is to die for. 

With Latin-owned family businesses no one particular meal is transactional; we meet over many meals over the course of time. We’ll be in the same neighbourhood for maybe 100 years, so it’s more about getting to know the other person.”

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