What is it with downtown Miami and old world-style Italian restaurants? And good ones, at that? We think these diamonds in the rough may be a sign of good things to come for this metropolitan center, as long as all the businesses in the area don't go bust before they have a fighting chance.
But devoted patrons, there is no shortage. A poetic tribute to one such enclave, Fratelli Milano, was slipped under our door anonymously from a reader, and we just had to share it. You also could go to Yelp's page on this gem to know that this Italian restaurant is no joke, but what's the fun in that?
We felt so inspired after reading this love letter, we had to check it out for ourselves, and it seems like we are late to the pasta party on this one. But better late than never...
Here's the poem, some facts you may not know about Fratelli, and the resulting lunch visit in pictures.
ODE TO FRATELLI MILANO
If Heaven was on Earth, I would call it Fratelli Milano.
For there is food that would impress the Gods, and even Tony Soprano.
Every time I look at the menu, I cannot help but smile.
For how can food from this special place make the work day worth my while?
Sometimes I get chicken or steak, other days a panini.
I can't stop thinking about their soups, and fuggedabout the tortellini.
Never before have delicious salads made me lick my lips.
A favorite special is shrimp risotto with grilled asparagus tips.
Pizza is always the greatest food, but at Fratelli it's even better.
The Contadina es mi amor with Italian sausage and bell peppers.
When my stomach is feeling empty, I order Bucatini san Babila.
Which takes me away to the Mediterranean to a seaside Italian villa.
Hopefully, I never get too stuffed so I can enjoy the tiramisu.
Though my tendency is to over-order, I admit I've had quite a few.
My family, my work, and Fratelli Milano are things for which I'm zealous.
My wife thinks I'm a little weird, but I know she is jealous.
A DEVOTED PATRON (1/28/2009)
- The food is damn good, from the Addictive, with a captial "A," sundried tomato tapenade that arrives to the table with chewy pieces of ciabatta bread after you've ordered, to the daily lunch specials consisting of a new soup, salad, panino and
pasta to add to the choices already on the menu. Panini are available
on regular ciabatta, whole wheat ciabatta, and foccacia bread. We sampled the panino special, a fennel seed salami layered on slices of fresh mozzarella, arugula, and tomato on whole wheat. The bread was not at all heavy -- a crusty crunch on the outside from the press, with a soft and savory filling -- just as it should be and not unlike what you'd grab for lunch from a panino place in Milano. The oohs and ahhs don't stop there.
45 percent of Fratelli's product is imported from Italy. That's about
as authentic as we need, thank you very much, to keep prices down, like
pastas from $10.25 - 15.50, and veal dishes from $14.95 - 15.50.
Chicken, meat and fish? No more than $14.95. And to think the
charming ambiance is free...
- Fratelli has been around for two years, and
it's family-owned, so you can expect to find proprietor Fiorella Blanco
also playing the hostess role.
- Dinner service has arrived at
Fratelli! As of two weeks ago, the restaurant is now open from 8 a.m.
- 10 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- If you mention that there is a 15 percent-off deal for the new dinner service, you shall receive.
- All desserts, like the heavenly tiramisu, are made in-house and displayed in a delightful caffe-style glass showcase.
Waitstaff dart back and forth like clockwork, as efficient and
attentive a bunch as we've ever experienced. They mean business, just
like the patrons hungry to get in and out before their afternoon
213 SE 1st street
Miami, FL 33131