Visitors flock to Coconut Grove to see the famous, Italianate mansion, Villa Vizcaya. But did you also know that, for Italian restaurants, Miami’s oldest neighborhood is a fantastic destination? In fact, this leafy, historic area is just the place to embark on an Italy-inspired adventure. Begin at the palatial Vizcaya, where magnificent rooms pay tribute to different Italian towns. You can even enjoy an exclusive tour of the villa’s antique-filled halls, beautiful statuary, and ornate waterfront gardens. Afterwards, continue your journey through Italy at one of Coconut Grove’s culinary destinations. Your taste buds are certain to say, “grazie!”
Strada in the Grove
Helmed by Maurizio Farinelli, Strada in the Grove has become the neighborhood’s new place to see and be seen. Whether you sit inside or out, you immediately feel at home amid the comfortably chic décor. Discover appetizers like creamy grilled polenta with asparagus. Don’t forget to read the specials board for the daily cicchetti. These snack-sized portions, like fried olives stuffed with Gorgonzola cheese, pair beautifully with a glass of chilled pinot grigio. For your main, indulge in the Milanese-style breaded pork chop, accompanied by a concasse of tomato and basil. By the time you’re blissfully tucking into the tiramisu, you agree that Strada truly deserves its Ospitalità Italiana award. Of all the Italian restaurants Miami is home to, Strada in the Grove is certainly one of the most authentic.
Sapore di Mare
The phrase “sapore di mare” means flavor or taste of the sea, and this diminutive space has you dreaming of dining in some romantic ristorante perched on the Amalfi coast the minute you walk in. You’re immediately charmed by the interior, with its blue-and-white theme and playful nautical touches. Chef Valter Mancini’s cucina may be small, but you quickly realize that he’s a real maestro, stressing freshness and a light touch. Don’t even try to resist the delicious fresh-baked bread when it arrives at your table. Instead, ask your server to recommend an Italian wine to accompany your antipasto of smoked tuna and marlin carpaccio. The staff at Sapore di Mare take real pride in knowing the menu. For the main event, polpo alla griglia makes for a sublime main course, as the fresh-from-the-sea grilled octopus complements the springlike flavors of a puree of sweet peas. Your entire ocean-inspired experience is intended to be savored, without any rush.
If you simply desire a little something sweet, stop in at Bianco Gelato. This isn’t any old gelato ordinario; it’s organic, crafted with only the freshest, most carefully selected ingredients to deliver bright, extraordinary flavors to your grateful mouth. The hazelnut and chocolate make for a classic ice cream combination. Feeling slightly experimental? Federico and Carla di Franco’s artisanal shop gladly obliges with flavors like pink salt caramel peanut butter. È molto buono!
What could possibly add to this perfect day of la dolce vita? Perhaps nothing except traveling from Villa Vizcaya to one of these culinary attractions in a fabulous Italian Ferrari. Ciao, bella!