Strada in the Grove: Good Pasta, Addictive Fried Olives

Coconut Grove is something of a dining puzzle. This charming village has some of the most sought-after real estate in South Florida, with homes commanding prices in the millions, yet the food scene in the Grove has mostly consisted of ultra-casual places to grab a salad or a burger with friends.

Which is why Strada in the Grove, a new Italian bistro that quietly opened in the early fall, is such a welcome addition to the little neighborhood that attracts both tourists and locals alike for its lush, tree-lined streets and walkability.

See also: Coconut Grove Wins Snackdown By a Whisker

Strada, owned by restaurateur Maurizio Farinelli, takes over the old Cita space at 3176 Commodore Plaza, which has been vacant for more than two years. With the installation of this bistro, this area of the Grove's shopping district is now a bustling triangle filled with restaurants, including Bombay Darbar, LoKal, and George's in the Grove.

The restaurant features regional cuisine, cicchetti (Italian tapas), salumi, and a solid wine selection at reasonable prices. Dinner on a recent Saturday evening (including wine) fell far below $75 for two (including tax and tip). The pasta we tried was good, but the winner of the evening was an order of gorgonzola-stuffed deep-fried olives, which should come with a warning label -- they're that addictive!

House-made pappardelle with a creamy truffle and porcini mushroom sauce ($16.50).

Homemade tagliolini sautéed with cherry tomatoes, basil, and shaved pecorino ($13).

Green olives stuffed with Gorgonzola ($6) are the holy trinity of food -- salty, tangy, and fried.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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