Gusto Bistro's owners and pastry chef hail from Paris, and they incorporate regional French influences from Provence and Brittany into their Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. Dishes are served "in a setting that's less about 'dinner' and more about sitting around shooting the breeze with your mouth really full" according to Thrillist. To jumpstart conversations, the bartenders pour glasses of wine from a list that emphasizes Italian regions and varietals and includes a collection of French and New World bottles. In the kitchen, chefs artfully decorate small plates with arrangements of seasonal fruits and vegetables, French cheeses, or beef carpaccio. Pastry chef Manuel Bengochea brings meals to a sweet finish with a wide variety of homemade French desserts.
Around the dining room, brushed-nickel lamps and black-and-white-tiled floors create a sleek, modern look, while lime-green drapes and a kaleidoscopic assortment of cushions add splashes of color. Large, decorative wine labels hang above the bottle-lined shelves, warning diners about the walls' sulfite content.
Surrounded by romantic red velvet arm chairs and glamorous images of Audrey Hepburn, the interior of Voulez Vous Bistro is an experience for the senses. Chefs prepare classic French dishes, such as escargot simmering in a fragrant garlic-butter sauce, tender, slow-cooked boeuf bourguignon, and paper-thin crepes filled with homemade ratatouille. The pastry chef also prepares pretty Parisian-style sweets, including torched creme brulee, dark chocolate mousse, and berets made out of marzipan.
At Gina's Pizza Italian Ristorante, customers can find their favorite Italian-American staples?meatball parm subs, stuffed shells, and New York?style pizza, to name a few. But they can also walk on the wild side with specialty pies topped in everything from chicken cordon bleu to steak and cheese. Open 24/7, Gino's is a short trip from the beach, allowing diners to load up on mozzarella sticks that they can later use as bait.
At Cara Mia Trattoria Italiana, chef Alessandro DiMaggio takes a farm-to-table approach to his menu, creating dishes that pop with the flavors of fresh mozzarella, organic greens and vegetables, and wild porcini mushrooms. The restaurant blends fine Italian cuisine with a festive Caribbean motif, like a macaroni map of the Lesser Antilles. The cooks augment the culinary beauty of plates of thin-sliced carpaccio and creamy risotto with the aesthetic beauty of terracotta tiles, white-leather barstools, and a hint of a pink-neon glow. The open air of the high-ceilinged dining room hosts meals of homestyle lasagna or grilled swordfish, and the full-service bar doles out 14-ounce pours of cold Peroni beer as well as glasses of Italian wines.
Bella Napoli pizzeria fills the air with the aroma of New York?style pizzas, Italian heroes, and pastas. Chefs fling wads of dough into the air and spin them into thin crusts using the hand-tossing techniques and family recipes that have endured for more than 30 years. Bilingual English- and Spanish-speaking staffers then ferry out pizzas by the pie or slice to the dining room, which evokes a traditional neighborhood Italian eatery with its dark mauve tablecloths, red and gold accents, and portals to Naples on the wall. They also whisk out bruschetta, toasted meatball heroes, fettuccine carbonara, and veal parmigiana to hungry patrons.
In addition to saying AltaMare has ?the freshest fish in town,? South Beach Magazine, praised owner Claudio Gordano for creating a ?menu that showcases the best catches from local fishing boats intermingled with classic Italian dishes.? Diners can feast on battered local yellow-eye snapper blanketed with cucumber cr?me fra?che or lightly seared wahoo plated with baby artichokes and arugula.
Not to be outdone by the entrees, many of the desserts are creative takes on classic dishes: a ?ceviche? swaps seafood for a m?lange of tropical fruits swimming in citrus dressing, and the deconstructed tiramisu combines mascarpone mousse, ladyfingers, and shots of espresso and Bailey?s.