Aqimero is bringing Latin-American flavor to the upscale -- if sometimes stiff -- Ritz-Carlton hotel. In the gigantic historic lobby, textured glass partitions and blue accents in the carpet hint at the sea, which is reflected in the seafood-heavy menu. Ocean eats are presented simply in a plate of grilled octopus, enveloped in cheese for shrimp quesadillas, and topped with turf fare in seared scallops with pork belly and snap peas. The so-called “Mexican beach campfire” whole-roasted snapper stands out on the menu, even though Philadelphia is far from any beach, Mexican or not. Guests can watch the staff chuck oysters, crack clams, and whip up ceviches behind the marble bar. Mexican mezcals take center stage at the bar (Narcissistic Noriega: mescal, tequila, rosemary, pineapple shrub, lime, ginger beer), but drinks are not limited to the smoky elixir (sake sangria: vodka, sake, lemon-basil, tequila, ginger ale).
Wake up lazily on Christmas morning and head to brunch at the Ritz-Carlton. For those who wish to celebrate in high-style, Aqimero is offering a five-course Christmas Brunch for $95 per person, complete with a complimentary mimosa or belini. The lobby restaurant is taking a very liberal definition of “brunch,” as well, with seatings stretching from noon to 5:45 pm. Take a seat and you’re in for a raw bar, assorted toast presentation, and entree options including huevos rancheros and Mexican-chocolate French toast. End it all with a dessert spread before you roll right back into bed.
If you’re brunching at the Ritz-Carlton, you’re probably already expecting the best. Aqimero lives up to the challenge with a la carte and bottomless brunch options that satisfy, whether you’re opting for piña colada French toast made with caramelized pineapple, or going all-out for a four-course meal with endless bubbly for $70. The prix-fixe option starts with a cheese plate, baked goods, or a parfait and assorted toasts before moving on to main courses like bananas foster pancakes or a brunch burger and churros for dessert. Aqimero also sets its brunch hours for the sleepy heads among us, kicking off at noon and running until 3 pm.