Fabel space
All photos courtesy of Fabel

The RundownMiami

All About Fabel, the Wynwood Restaurant and Nightspot That Wants You To Stay a While


The concept of a restaurant transforming into a nightspot is nothing new in Miami, but making it inviting to everyone from bachelorette parties to babies is pretty much unheard of. Atop the verdant walls of the Wynwood Jungle, Fabel is pulling it off.

The Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant, done up in light woods and linens, has been a nonstop hit since it opened in December of 2022. Its popularity stems from combining interesting flavors in a place where you’ll feel comfortable and cool at the same time: a place where you can enjoy a meal and a little dancing without feeling like you’re having dinner at a rave.

We sat down with founder and owner Matthew Rosenberg on a Friday night as he guided us through the entire experience, showing us how he’s found success using a secret weapon unfamiliar to many in Miami: Subtlety.

Fabel outdoor space
Fabel outdoor space

The experience is not “Miami” at all.

Fabel eschews the staple Miami soundtrack of club music and reggaeton, opting instead for a galloping pulse of tribal music one might expect to find at Burning Man. Rosenberg’s background is in architecture, and that comes through in the dining room: Low slung imported tables surround a DJ booth and dance platform. The ceiling looks more like a tent than a roof. Smells of sage fill the air, and if it weren’t for the savory steaks and colorful cocktails coming through, you might think you’d arrived at an outdoor yoga studio.

“I’m not trying to be different, I’m trying to deliver something I love, and something I’ve spent 25 years traveling and experiencing,” says Rosenberg, who prefers to stay out of the spotlights. “No one knows who I am, still, and I promise you, I’ll keep it that way as long as possible.”

Similarly, Rosenberg has focused Fabel on the experience inside rather than a roster of celebrity guests. Do famous people come to Fabel? Probably. But Rosenberg doesn’t drop a single name during the course of the entire evening, evidence he’s happy to let the Fabel experience speak for itself.

Fabel dancer
Fabel dancer

The vibe changes over the course of the night.

“I’m super influenced by what Scorpios in Mykonos did back in the day,” Rosenberg says. “They were able to capture people’s attention. You’d go out for lunch, then for a massage, then back for a sunset cocktail and dinner, and then you’re there ‘til sunrise. It changed my whole idea on what hospitality could be.”

While Fabel doesn’t have an onsite spa — not yet anyway — it does morph into a higher-energy experience the longer you stay. A sunset, rooftop cocktail leads into a leisurely dinner, where the music is kept soft enough that conversations flow freely. As dinner proceeds, fire dancers appear on the stage by the DJ booth in the center of the room, performing tableside as the beats begin to swell.

[Mykonos] changed my whole idea on what hospitality could be. — Fabel founder Matthew Rosenberg

Parades of torch-bearing, linen-clad waitstaff announce birthdays and bottle orders, a tribal departure from the usual parade of sparklers and servers in skimpy outfits. It’s Fabel’s subtle sexiness at its finest — elegant and alluring without being too obvious. And as the night progresses, the music gets louder and the dance floor fills, and it’s your choice whether to join the pretty people on the platform or kick back and enjoy the show.

Fabel grill
Meat on the grill.
Fabel crudo
Rosette of cobia crudo.

Dishes are a multi-sensory experience.

While the atmosphere at Fabel is its most unique aspect, the food sets itself apart by adding some sensory touches to each dish.

“We’re tapping the five senses; the texture, the smell. What do you hear at the same time that you’re eating that hummus?” Rosenberg says. “It’s very important. The highest attachment to memory is fragrance. So you’ll smell stuff around the restaurant, we have custom fragrance here.”

Scents are indeed among the most memorable parts of a trip to Fabel. A coriander salt crusted dorade is lit ablaze next to your table, and the familiar fiery aroma mixes with lemongrass and makrut lime. It’s like a southeast-Asian campfire, simultaneously transportive and comforting.

“It’s buttery, it’s luscious on your tongue. You bite into it, and you go, ‘This tastes like childhood,’” Rosenberg says. “You’re tasting something, and you don’t quite know where that scent came from, and you think it’s a taste but it’s not.”

Fabel hummus
The hummus at Fabel.
Fabel hummus
The hummus at Fabel.

The hummus took six months to create and has dehydrated olive oil.

Hummus is a staple item on Middle Eastern menus, and while many boast innovative adaptations, none are quite like Fabel’s. Its hummus is served spread in a thin layer around a large bowl, with dehydrated olive oil and parsley placed in the center like spicy, savory Dippin’ Dots. The effect is twofold: First, the hummus doesn’t get overwhelmed by olive oil. Second, it give the hummus a surprising little crunch that explodes with flavor when you bite in.

“I wanted to make the best hummus in the world. And how do you make it so it’s not so far over the top, but enough where it’s like, oh, what’s that?” Rosenberg says, driving home Fabel’s theme of subtle intrigue. “And so the way it feels on your tongue is important. And if the hummus feels the same way in your tongue as every other hummus, what’s the point?”

Fabel cauliflower
The cauliflower tagine at Fabel.
Fabel muhammara
The muhammara at Fabel.

Fabel has fantastic options for vegetarians.

Though the menu of smoky, spicy meats shouldn’t be discounted, the vegetarian offerings are where Fabel truly excels. The hummus is the obvious example, but the muhammara is exceptionally smooth with hints of peanut and pimento inside. The trio of dips is rounded out by a spicy labneh made with goat cheese, packing a more powerful flavor that one expects to find in this creamy starter.

Fablel’s other signature vegetable dish is the crispy cauliflower tagine, a full head filled with Marcona almond butter, dusted with tamarind, and served with pickled pear. The complex notes and creamy almond butter give it enough flavor to stand up without being saturated, and even meat eaters may want to consider it as a lighter entrée option.

Fabel doesn’t want you to leave.

Not that restaurants should be faulted for trying to turn tables — volume is the name of the game in much of the dining world — but Fabel takes a different tone. Rosenberg says he wants you to stay a while, kicking back with cocktails before your meal, enjoying your food leisurely, then dancing until close.

“We don’t kick people off the table here. Stay as long as you can, I want you here for eight hours,” he says. “That’s a totally different premise than places that want you out after an hour and 45 minutes.”

We don’t kick people off the table here. Stay as long as you can, I want you here for eight hours. — Fabel founder Matthew Rosenberg

Fabel Miami is expected to be the first of many.

Fabel’s Miami success has led Rosenberg and his partners to spread the concept to other locales. This summer, he says he plans to open in New York and Ibiza, with locations in Los Angeles and Mexico City coming later.

“We’ll do five in the first three years, then 10 to 12 in the next four,” he says confidently. “I leveraged everything I had to make it work, and I have no choice. I’m all in.”