Best Restaurant When Someone Else Pays - 2008
The chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano that gets plunked upon your plate is complimentary. So are toasts piled with bright bruschetta, a plate of garlic-fried zucchini slices, and sourdough bread with olive oil. At the end of the meal, glasses of limoncello are poured — free of charge. Everything else at Il Gabbiano is priced sky-high, which also describes the quality of hearty New York-style Italian fare. Take, for instance, the pastas, homemade by an Italian pasta chef who worked with the owners during their decades-long success running Il Mulino in New York City — the porcini ravioli bathed in champagne sauce costs $38, but, as the getting-old cliché goes, the taste is priceless. Same standards apply to grilled calamari ($19), osso buco Milanese ($42), grilled branzino ($48), and a textbook tiramisu ($12). There are 200 wines and outdoor seating with a gorgeous vista of Biscayne Bay. Yes, it is all so very expensive, but only if you pay. The trick is to maneuver things so that someone else does (although try to avoid doing so on a Sunday — when Gabbiano is closed).