Restaurant Openings

Telemundo's Chef James Tahhan Opens La Doña in Sunrise

Television personality Chef James has opened a new Mexican seafood restaurant in Sunrise called La Doña.
Chef James Tahhan, left, and Patrick Baloup, right, have partnered for La Doña at Sawgrass Mills.
Chef James Tahhan, left, and Patrick Baloup, right, have partnered for La Doña at Sawgrass Mills. La Doña
Share this:
Emmy-winning television personality and chef James Tahhan, best known for his work on Telemundo's Un Nuevo Día, has opened a new Mexican seafood restaurant in Sunrise called La Doña.

The Venezuelan chef, television personality, restaurateur, and author is best recognized for being the official chef of Telemundo and being a co-presenter of its morning show. Tahhan has also been a judge on several competitive cooking shows, including MasterChef Latino, Rachael Ray, Chopped, and others.

Nine years after opening his since-closed Miami Beach restaurant, Sabores by Chef James, the Miami resident is back in Miami to bring his culinary expertise to Sunrise. To do so, he partnered with Michelin-starred chef Patrick Baloup to open La Doña at Sawgrass Mills in January.

“I needed a break and wasn’t quite enjoying myself as much with what meant so much to me...the cooking world,” Tahhan tells New Times. “As time went by, I missed the adrenaline and serving people. A couple of years ago, I really felt something was calling me back, and this opportunity resurfaced. It was actually something Patrick and I talked about seven years ago, and now, here we are.”

Tahhan and Baloup have been friends for quite some time, and their culinary passions are very much aligned. They are both French-trained chefs who have a passion for Mexican food, which is an incredibly rare combination to find.

Baloup, who is originally from Paris, has decades of work experience around the world, including Pasticceria Marchesi in Milan and Louis XV in Monte Carlo.
click to enlarge
La Doña features pink hues, lobster delights, and 100-plus agave-based spirits.
La Doña
La Doña is a Mexican seafood restaurant whose name translates to “the lady” in English — and for good reason. The restaurant is inspired by the influential women who helped shape the country’s gastronomy and cuisine.

The space spans 5,400-plus square feet and can seat more than 200 people. Visual anchors include a jellyfish tank, stone and lamp elements from Mexico, pops of lush greenery, and pink floral elements.

As for the menu, Tahhan says, “The feedback has been extremely positive thus far. A lot of the love has been for our Mexican classics, which are implemented in contemporary ways.”

Initial crowd favorites include the restaurant's tableside guacamole made with Michoacán-sourced avocados. (For $5, you can add some grasshoppers to the dish.) A couple of lobster dishes have also been standouts, including the Mexican seafood rice cooked in a lobster stock that is then loaded with shrimp, clams, and mussels and the guajillo butter-doused lobster tacos.

On the libations front, La Doña boasts an extensive wine menu with glasses in the $11-17 range and more than 100 agave-based spirits.

“The whole concept here is that food is that our food and drinks are the main attraction,” says Tahhan. “We’re really proud of all the Mexican flavors on full display.”

In 2016, James released a cookbook, The Homemade Chef: Ordinary Ingredients for Extraordinary Food. Beyond this venture, Tahhan also cofounded Foodiescuela, an online cooking series.

La Doña. 1800 Sawgrass Mills Cir., Sunrise; 754-324-5743; Monday through Friday11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
KEEP NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. Your membership allows us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls. You can support us by joining as a member for as little as $1.