Hot Plates: Nicola Abbate at Villagio in Merrick Park

Nicola Abbate hails from Cesentico, Italy. But for the past nine years, while working for the Villagio Company, he has been making South Florida women blush and overtip. Today, as part owner, Abbate manages Villagio Restaurant's Village of Merrick Park location in Coral Gables. He has a bright smile accented by dimples, seemingly indestructible hair, and a slick accent. Women of all ages undoubtedly flock to his restaurant because he hugs and kisses every person he greets with European finesse. Or maybe it's because Abbate, 32, is well versed in the art of verbal seduction in Italian, Spanish, French, and English.

New Times: What is your favorite cocktail?

Nicola Abbate: I don't drink so much, but I love mojitos, so the Villagio Mojito is my favorite. It's perfect on a hot day.

What is the sexiest item on the Villagio menu?

When I think sexy, I think of something light. I would say the Mediterranean seafood salad. It's made with fresh calamari, shrimp, mussels, and clams. It's drenched with freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice.

Do you think Villagio is a good date spot?

It is a great place for dates. We have all of the palm trees outside, so it's calm and quiet. There is no car traffic here, so you can just enjoy the time in a very relaxing atmosphere.

Why do you think it is important to always look your best at work?

First and foremost, you represent yourself. The way I look, talk, act, and move... reflects me. Based on this, my business works accordingly. Everyone follows the leader. Together we create an atmosphere that is full of energy.

What cologne do you wear?

Today, Chanel.

And what about your accessories?

My cufflinks are David Yurman, my belt Hermes, my watch Cartier. And my shoes are from Tods in Bal Harbour. Shoes reflect the person; they are the most important.

Do you get hit on at work?

Sometimes, yes. No matter the age, hasta las abuelas [even the grandmothers]. You have nice ladies that want to take care of you -- pay all of your bills and take you around the world. They say, "Ay, Nico."

Have you ever dated a girl you met at work?

My girlfriend. At first, she would never pay attention to me. I would think, Hey, everyone is always looking at me, but you don't give a shit!

What makes Miami sexy?

It's a perfect combination: a place where you can find art, money, young professionals, fashion, restaurants, and, of course, this weather. It's a high-style life.

Where do you like to party?

Segafredo. I don't go disco.

Besides Villagio, what is your favorite restaurant?

Sardinia on South Beach.

Villagio Restaurant
358 San Lorenzo Ave., Coral Gables

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