Caffe Abbracci- Best Restaurants in Miami
When visiting Miami, there are a few key elements one should not miss. Going to the beach and sipping Cuban coffee are needless to say, part of Miami’s charm. After many trips to the Latin hotspot though, this spoiled traveler has come to feel that Miami’s reputation as a culinary meccah has been severely overrated. Restaurants abound with sky high prices and low blow service. And did I forget to mention the just barely passable cuisine? That is exactly how I felt about most of Miami until an unplanned dinner at Caffe Abbracci.
Despite the 20 year anniversary of the Italian restaurant, I was poised to endure yet another typical Miami experience where I’d leave grumbling about having wasted my time and money on terrible food and service. Upon entering Caffe Abbracci my guest and I were greeted by several smiling waiters and an efficient maitre ‘d. Good start. Our waiter, Horacio, introduced himself and proceeded to tell us a little history on the restaurant and artwork before moving on to the very serious business of food and wine.
Not feeling like having an entire glass of wine myself, my guest ordered a glass, thinking we were going to share. Somehow Horacio had read our minds and brought us two glasses with the one order already split (and I suspect a little more). With a wink and a gracious smile, he encouraged us to enjoy as we began sampling the decadent Fried Scamorza Cheese, perfectly crisp on the outside and lusciously melted inside. One little gesture that made me begin to question if I hadn’t misjudged Miami after all. An hour and a half later, I sat in my seat in utter astonishment and regret. Astonished that transitory and superficial Miami could produce such an incredible restaurant with superfluous talents and superlative service and regret that I had not discovered Caffe Abbracci years ago.
The Porcini Risotto was one of the best I’ve ever had since being in Italy. Earthy tones of the mushroom were perfectly infused into the risotto while just a touch of truffle oil rounded out the dish beautifully. Yellowtail Snapper was light and refreshing with lemon juice drizzled over a filet that was seasoned and cooked just right. As heartwarming as the appetizers and entrées were, dessert was nothing less than brilliant.
A smooth Zabaglione with fresh fruits in an artistically presented caramel bowl made me giddy with joy while a warm pear tart contrasted the unusually cool evening beautifully. The piece de resistance was the Napolean- melt in your mouth layers of flaky puff pastry between dollops of sweet, rich cream.
Caffe Abbracci did to me what no other restaurant in Miami has managed to achieve- it made me feel like I was in one of America’s greatest culinary heavyweights. In a cozy, sophisticated ambiance, I dined on simple Italian fare that was executed to perfection. As for Horacio and the rest of chef and owner Nino Pernetti’s team, the rest of Miami should head over to Abbracci for immediate lessons on genuine and flawless service that now sets the gold standard for all of South Florida.