By Michelle Farnham
June 23, 2022
SANDESTIN – When Hotel Effie opened in February of 2021, it brought with it three new food and beverage opportunities: The Lobby Bar, Ara Rooftop Pool & Lounge, and Ovide, the hotel’s year-round fine dining restaurant.
The menu at Ovide comes from the mind of five-time James Beard nominee Hugh Acheson, 2012 winner of Best Chef Southeast and an alum of Bravo’s “Top Chef” series.
The food coming from the Ovide kitchen combines Gulf coast cuisine with Acheson’s Southern sensibility, then takes it to the next level by adding a French twist. Jesus Pacheco, director of food and beverage of Hotel Effie, said their food is really making waves.
“It’s unique in style; a trendsetter in this area,” Pacheco said. “Whether you’re proposing to your fiancé, or having a night out with the girls, it fits.”
Eats and drinks
Owner and developer Tom Becnel named Hotel Effie after his grandmother, and the Ovide name was borrowed from his grandfather.
“Effie was the ultimate host, her place was the place to be,” said Nova Winfield, assistant hotel marketing director. “We have really embodied that here.”
No place is that link to the past more evident than in Effie’s Biscuit, a menu staple made with salted butter and sorghum, using the actual family recipe.
From the starters menu, Pacheco pointed to the chargrilled octopus as a favorite, with its avocado, jicama and small chili salad.
“To me, it’s something you would never expect and the taste sticks around with you till your next bite,” he said.
One of the biggest brunch-time sellers is the farm egg with crispy rice, served with kimchi, spring onions and oyster mushrooms.
“This dish is thinking outside of the box and describes the culinary aspect of Hugh. It gives you the appreciation of our local cuisine,” Pacheco said.
From the dinner entree menu, he assured diners that Ovide’s pan-roasted snapper with bok choy and Thai chili is unlike anything you’ve had along the Emerald Coast.
“It makes your mouth water, to be honest! It’s our twist on a dish you’ll find everywhere around town, but it gives you that Ovide experience,” Pacheco said.
Beyond the breakfast, lunch, dinner, and kids menus served seven days a week (brunch on weekends), Ovide takes things further yet, welcoming guests to the immensely popular Saturday jazz brunches, special holiday meals, and the occasional celebrity chef dinner when Acheson is in town. Future plans include wine dinners and beer tastings as well.
Speaking of libations, the bar program at Hotel Effie was created by award-winning mixologist Kellie Thorn, always using fresh produce and house-made juices.
“We’ve made it our focus to be able to do those craft cocktails, and have bartenders that can really craft something specific for you,” Pacheco said, adding that the menu changes at least four times a year.
Stepping into an “aww”
The family ties continue in the décor, as Sara Becnel, GM of Sandestin Resort, hand-picked every detail in the restaurant. This marriage of fine dining and fine décor has been called “romantic” and even “sexy” – especially after the sun goes down. Here you’ll find rich, dark woods, warm lighting, and a dramatic floral ceiling mural that might stop you in your tracks.
“Sara took her time to create Instagrammable moments throughout the hotel to encourage people to notice the details – like our ceiling,” Winfield explained. “During brunch it’s a homey, family vibe. At night, it’s hopping, the music is good, the lights are down, the smells coming from the kitchen are amazing. It’s the place to be seen.”
Ovide is found on the ground floor of Hotel Effie, located at 1 Grand Sandestin Blvd., Miramar Beach, within the Sandestin resort. They take reservations and are open year-round for all meals, including weekend brunch. Visit them online at www.hoteleffie.com/dining/ovide or call 850-351-3030.