Two-Time Winner of Burger Bash: Motek Opens its Doors in Coral Gables


Marina Astorga

A look inside Motek’s new branch in Coral Gables, with modern design choices to accompany the delectable dishes.

Our Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐(5)

Location: 45 Miracle Mile, Miami, FL 33134

Motek, Hebrew for sweetheart, and said to be “the restaurant of our dreams” by couple Tessa and Charlie Levy, has now opened its doors in the popular destination of Miracle Mile. With its ancestor influence coming all the way from Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Turkey and Yemen, the restaurant gives the urban area of Coral Gables a window into Eastern-Mediterranean culture through pungent flavors, traditional dishes and architecture. 

Designed with the purpose of emulating an Israeli café in Jaffa or Tel Aviv, this third restaurant features bright yellow and floral patterns throughout the two private dining rooms, with both indoor and outdoor seating areas that add up to a 7,600 square foot area. It is incomparable to the original Motek, which was inaugurated in 2020 in the historic Seybold Building in downtown Miami, Fla. With time and success, a second Motek opened in 2022 inside Aventura Mall and even brought about a take-out concept called Yalla, in the mall’s Treats Food Hall.

Served with a side of caramelized red peppers, Motek’s Laffa Pita bread is a fluffy and well-seasoned appetizer to start the meal. (Marina Astorga)

Laffa Flat Pita 


Although the flat pita is a typical dish throughout the world, Motek’s take is unique in its flavors. An appetizer that might seem basic at first is bravely brushed with olive oil, Maldon sea salt, rosemary and caramelized red pepper. This $9 Yemenite inspired traditional pita itself is a flavor-bomb, with aromatic hints from the rosemary and sweeter tones from the red pepper. The fluffy, thick bread is paired perfectly with homemade hummus and a great option for those who want a group appetizer.

The Crispy Cauliflower Hot Mezze is a sweet and spicy delight, with a crunchy texture from the caramelized cauliflower. (Marina Astorga)


Crispy Cauliflower Hot Mezze


When one thinks of cauliflower, they might not expect it to be topped with a tangy and spicy harissa glaze or fresh mint. Described as “the best way to eat cauliflower,” the Crispy Cauliflower dish at Motek brings several of the fried cauliflower bits for the solid price of $13. The platter’s crunchy outside ties with its soft and sweet taste but spicy inside, highlighting the honey glaze’s tangy flavors. The dish is ideal to share as an appetizer with a group; however, it features a flaming aftertaste that one who dislikes spicy foods may not enjoy as much.

For $23, Motek’s Crispy Chicken Schnitzel Plate includes a sesame seed breaded chicken cutlet, hummus with tortillas and mixed greens. (Marina Astorga)

Crispy Chicken Schnitzel Plate


The Crispy Chicken Schnitzel Plate fulfills its promise with its crispy breading of breadcrumbs and sesame seeds, while still maintaining a surprisingly tender and juicy chicken breast. The pungent vinaigrette on the salad greens is an appreciated contrast to the more mild flavor of the creamy, almost silky hummus and tortillas. Perfect for picky eaters, the plate brings a good amount of food for the price of $23, but is nothing too out of the ordinary. It would have been interesting to see a more traditional take on the dish with stronger flavors or even an unusual twist on it. 

Motek’s two-time award winning Arayes Burger includes four mini burger bites along with seasoned fries, harissa aioli and mayonnaise, all for $23. (Marina Astorga)

Arayes Burger


The Arayes Burger features a Lebanese-style sandwich blending lamb, beef and herbs that can currently be ordered on the menu for $23. The grilled patty served inside pita bread with a side of crispy fries and harissa aioli became popular after winning the South Beach Wine and Food Festival’s People’s Choice award in 2022. After winning this award for the first time during the festival’s 21st anniversary, Motek’s scrumptious Arayes burger regained support from its fans during the 2023 SoBeWWF to yet again reclaim its title.

Not like the typical hamburger, the Arayes burger is cut up into four different sections that are succumbed by Pita bread. From the first bite to the last, juice and the flavor of different seasonings fill one’s mouth; the meat is perfectly cooked. While eating, however, the amount of juice and grease in the burger soaks up most of the bread left on the outside, causing it to fall apart after taking a few bites. Nonetheless, this dish is a mouthwatering delight.

The plethora of dishes on Motek’s menu leave the diner satisfied with a wide variety of seasonings and textures. The restaurant’s service is speedy and efficient and delivers most platters ordered to the table in a matter of mere minutes. Though a bit high-price for its quantities, the delectable flavors the dishes carry balance out the prices. After paying the bill, customers from around Miami leave the restaurant with a unique experience into Eastern-Mediterranean culture through its cuisine.