With plenty of buzz already building, thanks to a series of high profile pre-opening dinners during Art Basel Miami Beach; LDV Hospitality’s new Dolce Italian is set to open to the public Friday, January 18. Celebrating the hospitality, warmth, and conviviality synonymous with all-things-Italian and serving a moderately-priced menu of honest updated Italian classics, Dolce is located at 1690 Collins Avenue, at the newly-renovated Gale South Beach. With multiple food and beverage locations spread throughout the property, diners have a bevy of options ranging from a sit-down dinner in the restaurant’s wood-paneled upstairs dining room, to a casual pizza with a glass of wine in the busy café to a poolside bite on the sun-filled pool deck. Perfect for private parties or business meetings, Dolce also has a semi-private dining room, accommodating 20.
LDV co-founders John Meadow and Curt Huegel, have found success in New York, Atlantic City, and Miami Beach with award-winning fine dining destinations including American Cut, Azure, Scarpetta, and Veritas as well as upscale-casual restaurants Lugo Caffé and Lucy’s Cantina Royale. The team also derives considerable cachet from its lounge and nightlife operations, including Amy Sacco’s New York celebrity hotspot No. 8; they will operate the Regent Cocktail Club and the Rec Room at the Gale as well. Meadow is excited to bring what he considers the LDV trademarks to South Florida diners – great service, a welcoming, polished environment, and high quality cuisine prepared with care.
With seasoned Italian-born executive chef Paolo Dorigato, formerly executive chef at Azure at Revel Resorts in Atlantic City, at the helm, LDV’s newest innovation is well-suited for South Beach – equal parts chic dining destination and neighborhood haunt. Master mixologist John Lermayer has concocted a creative list of hand-crafted Italian cocktails that provide the perfect complement to Dorigato’s made from scratch Italian cuisine. Diners can linger over a shared pizza and a glass of wine or a Negroni in the café; or wander up a few stairs to a beautiful dining room that overlooks a wood-burning oven and mozzarella bar for a more substantial repast.
Starters include selections from the mozzarella bar served either caprese or with artisanal meats and giardineirea ($14-$26) and a variety of fresh salads ($9-$13) from classic hearts of romaine with Caesar dressing to a tasty arugula salad with pears, asiago, speck and candied walnuts. Hot and cold antipasti ($14-23) include a perfectly grilled tender octopus served on a bed of chickpeas and ginger pistachio farro; perfectly seasoned meatballs with soft polenta and Parmigiano; and burrata served with Boston Bibb lettuce, cherry tomatoes, crispy shallots, and bacon. Neapolitan pizzas ($13-$18), fired to order and bursting with flavor include the tartufata – a heavenly pie with formaggio bianco, speck, spicy salami and truffle oil, the Contadina –topped with artichokes, mushrooms, spinach and peppers and Zingara, a tangy blend of spicy salami, peppers, onions and mozzarella. Housemaid pastas ($18-$24) excel, notable for generous portions and flavors that shine. Among the best are a simple pappardelle alla Bolognese with a luscious sauce of braised beef, veal, and pork; a stunning seafood risotto bursting with shrimp, scallops, calamari, and tomatoes. Main plates ($24 - $32) are all composed. Classics include veal Milanese, eggplant parmigiana, and spaghetti & meatballs while modern Italian dishes encompass a lemony roasted branzino served with fingerling potatoes; a juicy roast chicken and seared red snapper served with artichokes, polenta, and olives.
The restaurant’s sleek design by Peter Oleck of ADD Inc., belies its moderate pricing. Dolce embraces the aesthetic of a classic, Italian sidewalk café, including outdoor seating beneath shady umbrellas and an airy café and bar. Upstairs, the design is simple and modern, with wood paneled walls, crisp white linens on the tables, softly glowing light fixtures, and sumptuous leather banquettes. General manager Dean Tsakanikas, a seasoned industry professional, oversees the front of house team.
The restaurant, located at 1690 Collins Ave. in the Gale South Beach, will be open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All major credit cards accepted. Reservations at 786-975-2550 or opentable.com. For more information and hours, please visit www.dolceitalianrestaurant.com.