Best Expensive Italian Restaurant - 2012
If a person from a Third-World country saw a platter of fried zucchini, a platter of bruschetta topped with ripe red tomatoes, and a rock-size chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano, he or she would likely exclaim, "My good Lord, a banquet!" Guests dining at Il Gabbiano are more likely to say, "Gee, that was a nice complimentary snack; let's order dinner now." That's reality for Luigi Tullio and brothers Gino and Fernando Masci, who came to Miami with a sense of abundance and hospitality learned growing up in Abruzzi, Italy (with a 26-year stopover as owners of Greenwich Village's renowned Il Mulino). Dinner plates here overflow with authentic Italian flavors — and the pastas are made in-house, sautéed to order, and boast simple but compelling tastes — exemplified by the orecchiette with broccoli di rape and bucatini alla matriciana (all pastas are $27.75; it isn't as though we didn't tell you this is the best expensive Italian). Risottos are $36.75, but you get what you pay for — textbook preparations of creamy, al dente rice with meticulously prepared garnishes. All of your favorite veal scaloppine dishes are here ($27.75 to $45.75), as are thick steaks ($34.75 to $48.75) and obligatory shrimp scampi ($39.75). It's all an embarrassment of riches, to be sure, but for those who can afford it, Il Gabbiano is a treasure.