Celebrity Chef James Tahhan and Michelin Star Chef Patrick Baloup are proud to announce the opening of La Doña, a new Mexican seafood restaurant concept at Sawgrass Mills, one of the largest outlet and value retail shopping destinations in the United States.
Inspired by the influential women who have shaped Mexican gastronomy, La Doña, meaning “the lady” in English, combines authentic Mexican cuisine, featuring flavors from various regions, with diverse seafood specialties. Guests can expect a rich tapestry of Mexican culinary heritage from the moment they walk in, setting the tone for a unique and immersive dining experience in one of the most visited shopping destinations in the country.
La Doña captivates visitors with its expansive 5,418-square-foot space, seamlessly blending authenticity and allure. The 224-seat open-air dining room offers a lively atmosphere, featuring a large fish tank with mesmerizing jellyfish so guests can watch them glow while dining. Every element of decor, from stones and flooring to lamps, is meticulously sourced from various regions of Mexico. The addition of lush greenery and pink florals throughout the restaurant adds a natural and elegant touch, creating a harmonious fusion of colors that enhances the overall aesthetic. This thoughtful design transports diners to the heart of Mexico, fostering an ambiance that celebrates its rich cultural heritage.
La Doña stands as the result of the collaboration of two culinary masterminds, award-winning Chef Patrick Baloup and celebrity Chef James Tahhan. Originally from Paris, Baloup fell in love with Mexican cuisine after living in the country for 20 years. His journey includes prestigious stints at Pasticceria Marchesi in Milan, Italy; Negresco in Nice, Résidence de la Pinède in Saint Tropez, France; and Louis XV in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Boasting an impressive record of 21 Michelin stars throughout his illustrious career, Baloup seamlessly blends culinary influences from his extensive experience with French, Italian, Mediterranean, and Mexican gastronomy.
With over a decade as a prominent figure on Telemundo’s hit morning show Un Nuevo Día, Tahhan explored global gastronomic cultures, winning the hearts of millions. In 2020, he expanded his culinary influence, co-founding the restaurant Sabores in Miami and launching Foodiescuela, a cooking school teaching people to cook like professionals. With a diverse culinary background, Tahhan currently focuses on sharing his passion through various projects, including hosting BELatina on Lifetime and appearing on popular shows like Chopped, Top Chef Middle East, Worst Cooks in America, MasterChef Latino and Rachael Ray.
“Selecting Sawgrass Mills as the home for my first venture in seven years was a strategic decision driven by the desire to introduce a unique Mexican experience to the South Florida community,” said Tahhan. “La Doña’s commitment goes beyond flavor, delving into the traditions that define Mexican culture.”
At La Doña, Tahhan and Baloup skillfully blend authentic recipes with fresh creations from the sea, embarking guests on a culinary journey through Mexico’s diverse regions, where flavor takes center stage, and each dish is presented with a unique touch.
“We aim to elevate the dining experience through an interactive menu where culinary artistry unfolds at each table – like homemade salsa and guacamole prepared before guests’ eyes,” said Baloup. “This hands-on approach caters to passersby, creating a dynamic space for locals seeking a go-to Mexican restaurant or a vibrant night out and shoppers looking to savor a margarita while enjoying the Sawgrass experience.”
Guests can begin with entradas (appetizers), featuring Mexican staples such as Guacamole de la Casa prepared tableside; Jicama Shrimp Tacos with thinly sliced jicama, butterhead lettuce, rock shrimp, chipotle mayo, thai basil and fresh pineapple; Octopus Carpaccio in light habanero vinaigrette, creamy avocado, spicy mayo and fresh tomatoes; and the Lobster Taco in a garlic guajillo butter and Mexican cheeses blend in our handmade flour tortilla.
For lighter options, salads and soups offer a refreshing alternative, including the award-winning Tortilla soup; Mexican Caprese with fresh slices of organic seasonal tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and sliced avocado with balsamic dressing; and Watermelon and Mango Salad with fresh watermelon, mango and dragon fruit cubes dressed with a mango-passion fruit vinaigrette, agave honey, passion fruit pulp, crumbled feta cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds.
The entrées section of the menu has an array of choices categorized by “From the Sea”, “From the Grill” and specialties. “From the Sea” highlights fresh seafood dishes, such as the fresh Snapper Ranchera, with grilled snapper loin over Ranchera style white beans, topped with pork rind cracklings and crispy leek, while “From the Grill” showcases meat-based dishes like the Ancho-Rubbed Rib-Eye, a 12 ounce Angus Steak in a lime-mezcal butter sauce served with oven-roasted potatoes and brussels sprouts and the world’s favorite street food inspired Pork Chop al pastor grilled to perfection served with cilantro rice, grilled pineapple, guacamole and plantains.
La Doña’s specialties showcase rich flavors that represent Mexican heritage. This includes the Carnitas Estilo Michoacan, a slow-cooked pulled pork confit served with crumbled pork crackling, onions and cilantro with a fresh tomatillo-avocado salsa, or Birria de Res, highlighting slow-cooked beef ribs in a flavorful ancho and pasilla pepper broth and a side of salsa guajillo-chipotle. Explore the menu further with Pescado Estilo “Yucatan,” a dish made of achiote and guajillo-rubbed red snapper paired with pickled red onion and cilantro-lime rice, or Roasted Salmon, a wild-caught delight with mango pico de gallo and cilantro-lime rice. A must-try on the menu is the Mexican Seafood Rice, an original La Doña recipe featuring seafood sautéed in white wine and a touch of dried chili all topped with avocado, cream and pork cracklings.
Elevate the dining experience with chef’s favorites such as the Grilled Octopus, a fusion of lemon-cilantro grilled octopus, arugula and baby potato salad, guajillo chipotle sauce and avocado pomade. For those seeking bold and spicy flavors, the Diabla Shrimp presents shrimp marinated in three-chili adobo and garlic butter served with cilantro-lime rice, while the Puebla Tenderloin is a grilled beef filet artfully placed over creamy sautéed poblano pepper and corn relish.
At La Doña, diners can pair their meals with selections from the expansive wine list, curated to complement the cuisine. Those in search of an authentic taste of Mexico will appreciate La Doña’s extensive tequila and mezcal collection, featuring over 100 exceptional Agave spirits. As a bonus, patrons can anticipate exclusive happy hour specials with deals on a variety of spirits from Monday to Thursday from 5pm to close.
La Doña is located at 1800 Sawgrass Mills Circle, Sunrise, FL 33323. It is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, visit ladonarestaurants.com or follow @LaDonaRestaurants.