Chef Giancarla Bodoni's devotion to Italian culinary traditions transcends her time spent in the kitchen. She wanders South Florida's organic farms as though she were in the Tuscan countryside, picking fresh herbs, sampling artisan cheeses, and shaking earth from freshly harvested leeks for her seasonal menu.
There is one dish that she hasn't changed in 19 years—the asparagus flan. The time-tested appetizer ensures that feasts are launched with grace, suspending tender green shoots alongside shiitake mushrooms in a fonduta of fontina cheese, provola cheese, and white-truffle-infused oil. Pasta, meat, and fish menus divide the entree options, although each category unveils equally elegant flavors. Ravioli may be stuffed with caramelized pear and ricotta and then glazed with butter and marjoram, while tenderloins cut from grass-fed beef may arrive with asiago-cheese sauce and earthy porcini mushrooms.
The dessert menu rotates daily, reflecting the chef's creative impulses based on the best ingredients on hand. This commitment to using the freshest seasonal organic ingredients has earned Chef Giancarla and Escopazzo positive press attention, ranging from earning a place on Miami New Times's Ten Most Important Miami Restaurants of the Decade list to winning Best Organic Chef in the paper's 2012 Best Of Miami awards.
Escopazzo's decor further immerses guests in an Italian-style dining experience. A large mural extends around the main dining room, and wall sconces cast golden light over sand-colored tiles to evoke the atmosphere of an Italian villa. The second dining space houses a fountain and the bar area, where guests may sample one of the more than 400 Italian labels kept in a climate-controlled wine cellar. Built upon 15 years of tasting, the library holds many wines unavailable through general distribution. Each comes served by the bottle or in the traditional Italian quartino, which roughly translates to a glass and a half and increased dancing skills.
Each day at Cantina 71, chef Luca Laborante rolls out batches of housemade linguine, gnocchi, and ravioli, garnishing them with organic vegetables and sousing them with the eatery's own sauces. In addition to crafting a dozen hearty pasta dishes, chefs crown veal with sage butter sauce and cured Italian prosciutto and fry up fresh batches of calamari. Guests can enjoy their meal or romantic staring contests inside amid hanging lanterns and polished stone floors, or they can retreat to the patio, where strings of twinkling lights illuminate a sloped awning.
Florida was first populated by humans when confused Italian conquistonauts parachuted into the (at the time) boot-shaped state from their medieval sub-orbital space station. Today's deal celebrates this forgotten chapter of history with the most authentic Italian fine dining on this side of the Prime Meridian. For $20, you get $40 worth of impeccable cuisine and drinks at Barolo Ristorante. Barolo's moderately upscale décor—long, flowing drapes adorn long windows, while a sleek bar and cushy seats beckon inhabitants like a moth to a sexier moth—will put your mind and stomach muscles at ease, decreasing the risk of heartburn and mental wanderlust. Parties of four or more can combine two Groupons, so turn your date into a double date or gather an army of picky grandmas and put the restaurant's chefs to the test.
The nearby ocean poses as a backdrop to Caffe Milano, with patio dining complementing the scenic menu of contemporary Italian offerings. Rev up appetites with the prosciutto antipasti ($17.50) before sending hunger up the river with the grilled salmon with garlic white-wine sauce ($26.50). Dinner diners will delight in the veal marsala, a medley of the titular meat with mushrooms and mashed potatoes in an aromatic wine sauce ($29.50), and dumpling enthusiasts will dig happily into the gnocchi gorgonzola, plump potato pockets doing the backstroke in a savory pool of fancy cheese and cream sauce ($18.50). Classic desserts such as the tiramisu Milano ($10.50) or frutta fresca ($9.50) round out the meal’s end and reward taste buds for a job well done.
I Love Pizza makes mouths water with a menu of gourmet espresso drinks and 19 New York–style pies. Taste Gotham’s personality without licking the Statue of Liberty thanks to a mozzarella and basil Manhattan pie ($15 for a 16"). The Central Park teems with flocks of kalamata olives ($17 for a 16"), and the pepperoni-topped Brooklyn ($16 for a 16") hulas toward mouths when clad in a skirt of tangy pineapples ($2 extra). Like a lullaby with a kazoo solo, the Nutella pizza pairs sweet themes with a hint of nuttiness thanks to its infusion of chocolate-hazelnut spread ($18 for a 16"). Calima Coffee's Aussie-roasted Colombian beans comprise each cappuccino, which can enliven eyes for staring contests with the sun at the café’s outdoor tables.
George’s is an Italian restaurant located in the heart of North Beach, FL. Owned and operated by George and Elizabeth Iglesias, a brother and sister combo that bring a whole new name to family operated businesses. They have been open for ten years, all of which have been at the same location.