For just having opened a little more than a month ago, Dolce has been getting quite a lot of attention as one of the tastiest Italian restaurants in Miami Beach (read review here). Of course, it comes as no surprise knowing that the restaurant is the brainchild of LDV Hospitality, the people who brought us Scarpetta. Offering a sexy ambiance within the newly remodeled 1940’s Gale South Beach hotel, Dolce has become one of the best places for classic Italian cocktails and classic Italian fare by Chef Paolo Dorigato. For those who have yet to try it out, Dolce is giving the perfect incentive as it launches its Apertivo Happy Hour and Sunset Prix Fixe dinner menu today.
There are two things that Miami Beach seems to have a lot of these days: constant change and Italian restaurants. Many Miami natives sometimes wonder whatever happened to the quirky SoBe they knew back when Gianni Versace held court there, and it seems as if for the non Miami Beach resident, every subsequent visit to the southern reaches of Collins Avenue reveals more change, more commercialization, and a sense of frustration. As much as we may not like to hear it, there seems to be no going back to the 90s for Miami Beach, and the few remnants of 20th century seem to get polished up and renovated one by one almost every day. Then there are the denizens of Italian restaurants dotting almost every imaginable storefront and hotel lobby, apparently making South Beach a chic, sexy little Italy of the 21st century. There are, obviously, a great deal of bad restaurants, a great many more mediocre ones, but still enough fantastic Italian restaurants to warrant at least an occasional visit for any foodie. A recent dinner at Dolce in the newly renovated Gale South Beach showed that all the change on SoBe can actually be a good thing and that Miami Beach continues to be a destination for some of the best Italian fare.
For some reason, it seems as if time really flew between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, which means that most of us have been scrambling to get our greeting cards and presents in order, as well as trying to keep track of the various holiday functions we feel obliged to attend. When your main preoccupation is trying to find just one good gift for your mom and realizing that you haven’t sent anything to your in-laws while they sent you a box of presents, the last thing on your mind is planning a Christmas (or Noche Buena) feast. Sure, you can do what I do and round up a selection of charcuterie and cheeses from Graziano’s and Epicure to nibble at throughout the holiday - or visit a Blue Sky for your lechón - but with so many fabulous restaurants offering such wonderful Christmas and Christmas Eve dinners, it’s hard not to take the easy way out and leave the preparations to the gourmet chefs. If you’re finding yourself in Miami without dinner plans this Christmas, let Joonbug outline a few suggestions for you:
Few restaurant empires have as unique a story as that of Serafina. Two best friends, Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato, were stranded in Hampton Bay one day during a horrific storm and made a pact to each other if they came out of it alive: to open a restaurant serving the best pizza and pasta in the world. Nine restaurants later, including one in São Paulo, the have finally reached the Sunshine State and have continued to make South Beach one of the most delicious concentrations of authentic Italian cuisine. Occupying the space attached to the Dream South Beach Hotel that formerly housed Tudor House, Serafina’s Miami Beach location is in the heart of all the action, making it the perfect stop to savor exquisitely prepared northern Italian cuisine before enjoying an evening of SoBe’s legendary nightlife. A recent dinner at Serafina demonstrated that besides an unwavering dedication to quality, the driving force behind Serafina’s success throughout the world is a love and passion for food that can be felt and tasted everywhere at this restaurant
Three new restaurants are debuting in South Beach this December, and two of them not only carry pedigrees to get excited over but are also suggesting that perhaps Miami Beach is becoming America’s newest - and most stylish - Little Italy. SoBe has been attracting models, artists, and entrepreneurs from Italy ever since their paesano, Gianni Versace, put the southernmost part of Miami Beach on the map, and the resulting migration is making South Beach a veritable mecca for Italian-from-Italy cuisine representing everywhere from Sicily and Sardinia to Piedmont and Venezia. The other restaurant, while Italian by way of its designer from Bologna, is a departure from the pizzas and pastas of the other two and promises to offer a farm-to-table concept with an international flair. Just in time for Art Basel!
It seems as if Delray Beach is where it's at if you're a foodie in search of a good deal next week. Angelo Elia's restaurant D'Angelo Trattoria will be offering a four cours prix-fixe menu with wine pairings on Tuesday, August 7th for only $50 per person. Chef Rickie Piper has created a sumptuous menu featuring classic Roman dishes that will beautifully accent the selection of Northern Italian wines from the region's best boutique vineyards:
PROSCUITTO DI PARMA E PERE COTTE NEL VINO BIANCO
Thinly Sliced Parma Proscuitto with White Wine Poached Pear and Balsamic Reduction
Long before our eyes and palates turned away from our ethnocentric ideals and began to embrace the cultures and cuisines of Asia, Africa, Latin America, and elsewhere, it was all about Europe. France has had the stronghold on cuisine for over a century, being one of the first to formally establish a school of thought on the matter, as well as rules, formal techniques, and regulations. However, as many food historians would point out, if it were not for the Italian nobility (Catherine de' Medici comes to mind) that brought its dishes and techiques to france, as well as Italian explorers who brought exotic seasonings ands foods to Europe, French cuisine would not be what it is today. Both cuisines are rich, diverse, expansive, and quite different from each other, and the argument over which is better is one that has inflamed the passions of even the most casual eaters.
There is perhaps no other instituion on Collins avenue more symbolic of the South Beach renaissance that occurred in the 90's than The Delano. Ahead of the game back then, the iconic Philippe Starck-designed hotel continues to be ahead of the curve by periodically reinventing itself, which usually includes changing up some of the restaurants. One of the newer additions to the hotel's dining options is Bianca, an Italian restaurant that opened with a typical SoBe bang this past January and seems to continue to do well.
The fare at Bianca consists of that brand of Italian cuisine that become to be a trademark of Miami Beach dining - closer to the Italian cuisine eaten in Italy than to the red sauce, spaghetti and meatballs Italian-American cuisine that the rest of the country is probably more familiar with - which translates into homemade pastas, fresh seafood, and light antipasti. Starting on Mother's Day, Bianca will be "putting the B in brunch" with a spread that includes Italian delicacies alongside much-loved brunch staples. Menu offerings will include a selection of sushi and rolls from Umi Sushi & Sake Bar, which took the place of Blue Sea, as well as a selection of chilled shellfish, Bloody Mary Oyster Shooters, and caviar. The buffet will also include an array of charcuterie, prosciutto, and artisan salumi alongside signature homemade Bianca pastas. Of course, no brunch buffet is complete without the requisite omelet and Belgian waffle stations, and in true brunch buffet form, Bianca will also be offering a carving station featuring rosemary prime rib. The restaurant's head pastry chef will also be offering his dessert and pastry creations.