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.
Varanda’s menu deposits delicious Brazilian cuisine in hungry stomachs, ensuring they're happily filled with ingredients from South America. Guests such as Lady Gaga and Ricky Martin have dined at Varanda’s, and the eatery can also satisfy inner celebrities with starters such as asinha de frango (chicken wings, $7.95) or pastel de queijo, a popular cheese-filled pastry ($1.95). Meat eaters can enjoy the muqueca de peixe—a fish fillet simmered in coconut sauce and spices and served with beans and rice ($13.95)—plunge their teeth into a picanha steak ($13.95), or sample linguica, a Brazilian-style sausage served with beans, rice, and a side ($12.95).
From behind an ultramodern lounge filled with jewel-toned sofas, exposed-brick walls, and black leather booths, Trio on The Bay's chefs forge a menu of surf 'n' turf, using local vendors and sustainable practices whenever possible. On the patio overlooking Biscayne Bay, waiters swing from canopies bearing sizzling steaks accompanied by locally grown vegetables or pan-seared scallops with a wild mushroom risotto and lemon crème fraîche. Chefs also cater to off-hour hunger pangs with Sunday-morning brunch and bar snacks, which blend the seafood hub’s signature flavors into palatable egg dishes and portable snacks.
Trio on The Bay hosts special events every Friday and Saturday night beginning at 10 p.m. Revelers head to the chandelier-sprinkled lounge to take in the flat-screen TVs and vacation slide shows from 1973, or retire to the outdoor patio's cushioned rattan chairs for drinks under the illumination of light-festooned palm trees and fire pits.
Panka saves diners a trip to Italy with its steady supply of handmade pastas, grilled fish, and risotto. Appetizers arrive in hot or cold form, from freshly fried calamari to chilled beef carpaccio. The main courses include housemade ravioli stuffed with lobster or pear and cheese, as well as tagliatelle al ragu romano. Black Angus steak and mahi-mahi slide off the grill and into diners' mouths, making pitstops on artfully arranged plates in between.
Shula’s Steak House romances diners with opulent white linens, cherry-wood walls, and football-themed décor, replete with photos of famous athletes in gold-plated frames. The restaurant’s appetizers, salads, and sides feature 3- to 4-pound Maine lobsters, jumbo lump crab cakes, and vegetables, satisfying those eaters who stray from meatier fare. All steaks served by Shula’s must meet eight meticulously defined criteria—marbling, maturity, consistency, leanness, flavor, appearance, and tenderness—before advancing to the next round of a steak-selection reality show. Legendary NFL coach Don Shula’s name marks restaurants across the country, signifying the utmost dedication to quality beef.