New York-based Altamarea Group, the global hospitality company behind the Michelin star-rated restaurants Marea and Ai Fiori in New York City, has chosen Miami Beach to launch the fifth location of its upscale Italian eatery Osteria Morini.
Altamarea Group founder and CEO Ahmass Fakahany says the group searched for nearly a decade to find the perfect Miami neighborhood in which to locate the brand, joining Morini branches in SoHo, Garden City on Long Island, Washington, D.C., and the New York suburb of Bernardsville, New Jersey.
"We wanted a place that was not seasonally skewed or just vibe-driven, but could be a go-to year-round for residents and visitors and also attract all kinds of clientele for brunch, lunch, and dinner," Fakahany tells New Times. "The new location was an emerging neighborhood community — a place you can walk to and relax spontaneously, and yet shift at sunset to cocktails and fun. It met a lot of our needs and vision."
After more than three years of planning, Osteria Morini Miami Beach opened last week inside the Kimpton Palomar South Beach. The restaurant serves dinner and will add breakfast, brunch, and lunch this spring. Delivery and takeout will commence on February 10.
Nestled between the Sunset Harbour and West Avenue neighborhoods, the restaurant will be accessible by its own waterside entrance along the Collins Canal on Alton Road. The 3,700-square-foot space channels a distinct Miami-meets-New York ambiance that combines the rustic design of an Italian farmhouse with modern elements such as red brick and Morini’s trademark floating Italian Murano glass-domed lights that dot the dining room. Outside, a 1,000-square-foot canal-front patio offers a socially distanced dining experience enveloped in string lighting and colorful umbrellas.
Developed by Altamarea's corporate executive chef, Bill Dorrler, the menu highlights the cuisine and spirit of Northern Italy's Emilia-Romagna region, with dishes that hew to the area's ingredients and flavors.
"It is a true Italian osteria, and my pride is the number of Italians on a U.S. visit who stop to express their appreciation on the authenticity," Dorrler says. "It’s their slice of home away from home. It is not American-Italian, but Italian with a footing in America. We save you the trip."
At Morini, Dorrler says, guests are encouraged to share dishes, from appetizers and handmade pastas to fish or meat from the grill. Diners can start with communal dishes like the battilardo — a platter of cured sliced meats, cheeses, and spreads — and antipasti like the signature seafood salad ($20). House specialties include polpettine — prosciutto and mortadella meatballs in pomodoro sauce ($18) — and tartare, a classic take that makes use of imported Piemontese beef finished with a caper relish and rosemary aioli ($19).
"Of course, you can’t miss our pasta selection, which is why people come to Morini," Dorrler adds.
Those pasta dishes are served in large portions and best when shared. The house favorite features thick, hand-rolled pici pasta prepared alle vongole in a light and spicy clam sauce ($27). Other highlights include cappelletti, a truffled ricotta ravioli with prosciutto ($25); and tagliatelle, wide noodles smothered in a bolognese ragù ($25). Entrées continue with simply grilled meats and fish with a bone-in filetto ($56) and whole branzino ($36).
"There are so many ways to enjoy our menu, from splitting a battilardo (charcuterie board) and cocktails at the bar to enjoying a bowl of pasta with a glass of wine to appetizers and cocktails on our outdoor terrace," says Dorrler. "You don’t have to come for a four-course dinner every time. You can pick apart the menu and enjoy it however your appetite is."
Osteria Morini. 1750 Alton Rd., Miami Beach; 305-918-1037; osteriamorini.com. Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 5 to 11 p.m.
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