First Bites

Bellini Brings Italian Coastal Charm to Coconut Grove

Tagliatelle with saffron and pancetta.
Tagliatelle with saffron and pancetta. Photo by James McDonald
Picture the coastal towns of Italy: weathered pastel buildings overlooking a turquoise sea. Stepping into Bellini, you find a similar aesthetic. The same palette fills a yacht-inspired dining room of leather-upholstered barstools, striped booths, and floor-to-ceiling windows framing the waters of Biscayne Bay.

"Our goal was to create a relaxed yet elegant feel inspired by our travels through Italy," says Ignazio Cipriani, who runs the restaurant with his brother Maggio. "Guests can start their evening with a drink at Il Giardino, the courtyard on the lobby level, then move up to the rooftop for a meal while enjoying views of the neighborhood and Biscayne Bay. The menu is a combination of recipes from different regions of Italy as well as many of our personal favorite recipes."

The 1,500-square-foot eatery, whose space was designed by Swedish interior architect Martin Brudnizki, is named for the sparkling cocktail invented at the famous Venice hangout Harry's Bar, founded by the brothers' great-grandfather in the early 1930s.

Bellini is nestled inside the family's Mr. C hotel in Coconut Grove, the brand's third outpost in the States. Known locally for its restaurant in downtown Miami, Cipriani, the group also operates restaurants, event spaces, clubs, and residences nationwide and in ten other countries throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
click to enlarge Bellini at Mr. C in Coconut Grove. - PHOTO BY JAMES MCDONALD
Bellini at Mr. C in Coconut Grove.
Photo by James McDonald
At Bellini, rustic Italian fare is served on white-and-blue hand-painted ceramic plates. Selections include antipasti such as homemade polpettine with tomato sauce and crostini ($19), sautéed clams alla Veneziana ($24), and a crudo of sashimi-style tuna and whitefish ($25).

Main-course highlights are tagliardi with black truffle ($37), classic bucatini cacio e pepe ($24), and grilled New Zealand lamb chops with carrot purée ($32). There's also fritto misto alla Bellini ($30) to share and a Dover sole fillet with roasted baby artichokes ($48).

To end your meal on a sweet note, order the creme brûlée, made here with lemon zest, or profiterole with ice cream ($12 each). Bellini also boasts a patio for alfresco dining, as well as poolside seating and a menu of Italian bites and homemade pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven.

There's wine, whiskey, rum, and cachaça to sip as you soak up the atmosphere. The bar also turns out cocktails such as the signature bellini, made here with white peach purée and Mr. C prosecco, which was invented decades ago by Giuseppe Cipriani.

Other Italian-inspired cocktails are the Contessa, made with Plymouth gin, Carpano Antica, and amaretto, and the That's Amore, containing Singani 63, Zacapa, and honey lavender Earl Grey tea ($17 each).

Bellini. 2988 McFarlane Rd., Coconut Grove; 305-800-7672; Daily 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
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Juliana Accioly
Contact: Juliana Accioly