Viva Vita!

A welcome revival brings impeccable Mediterranean to the Beach.

Steak aficionados are privy to only two picks: filet mignon with herb butter sauce, or a $50, 20-ounce, bone-in cowboy steak with peppercorn and porcini sauces. Then again, thick, juicy red slices of duck breast in a pond of honey-Marsala wine sauce should more than satisfy anyone aching for red meat. An accompanying salad of bean sprouts and orange sections is the sort of buoyant cuisine that won't weigh you down on the dance floor once the DJ gets going. (Earlier in the evening, the music is Sade-soft; in fact Sade was played during our two visits.)

There are also entrée samplers for two, meaning small tastings of all fish or meat items with mixed salad on the side. And speaking of sides, there are a half-dozen very basic ones available à la carte, including mashed or roasted potatoes, grilled asparagus, and the sole unsatisfying sampling of our sojourns: salty sautéed spinach.

(Spoiler alert for the ladies: Reading the following sentence might take away a modicum of menu suspense.) Prices are high — starters $17 to $28; all but two main courses $32 to $39 — in keeping with other chichi Mediterranean restaurants nearby, such as Casa Tua, La Marea at The Tides, and Ago at The Shore Club (see sidebar).

Desserts are mostly cocoa-based, with chocolate fondue, chocolate fondant, and white chocolate mille-feuilles being three of the limited choices. The last brought raspberries and same-size dabs of white chocolate freshly layered between delicate wisps of the crispest phyllo dough circles you'll likely encounter — and a scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside. The rest of the endings comprise an assemblage of three cheeses and walnut salad, a plate of fruit salad, and iced Irish coffee: a tall sip of chilled chocolate, coffee, and whiskey topped by almond-infused whipped cream. The proverbial cherry on top is the return of Vita as a vital player on the South Beach dining scene.

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