Amare Ristorante, an indoor-outdoor affair serving hearty Southern Italian fare, will open its doors in Miami Beach's tony South of Fifth neighborhood in April.
Amare, which means" to love" in Italian, will tell a tale of the country's coastline, highlighting the flavors of Naples and the small towns and villages along the Amalfi Coast.
The menu will be curated by chef Cosimo Cassano of Bacco Osteria, a Michelin-starred concept in Puglia, the heel of the Italian boot famous for its beaches, olive groves, ancient hilltop towns, and cuisine. Dishes in this region of Italy are steeped in tradition and use local vegetables, fresh meats, and homemade spices.
"Food doesn't get more simple and delicious than that," said owner Gino lovino, who's been in the restaurant business for 30 years and also owns Girasole in Atlantic City. Iovino said he was lured to Miami by friends five years ago and found Miami Beach a perfect setting to draw back the curtain on uncomplicated Italian soul food.
"There are great fresh ingredients in Miami, including the seafood, so we are set on importing only the three main ingredients that really make the difference: San Marzano tomatoes, olive oils, and pasta di Gragnano from Naples, which is made with mineral water and air-dried."
Amare’s 54-seat indoor dining room is awash in azure, white, and coral hues paired with intricate, hand-painted ceramic tiles from Napoli, a ceiling decorated with white chiffon fabric in symbolic waves, and golden pendant fixtures that cast a cozy glow. The 4,000-square-foot outside terrace overlooking South Beach is enlivened with the colors and scents of bougainvillea and lemon trees.
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Menu highlights will include carpaccio options like funghi and warm filet mignon with oyster, shiitake, and porcini mushrooms ($18); spaghetti made with one-pound Maine lobster, tomatoes and Calabrian chili ($36); a whole salt-baked Mediterranean sea bass ($44); and grilled Colorado lamb chops with Moscato wine, potatoes, and fresh herbs ($48).
The restaurant also offers a family-style Sunday dinner and a weekly special like the lasagna di mare with fish ragu. A small-bites menu is available at the 12-seat bar, along with wine, handcrafted cocktails, aperitivi, and digestivi.
Final indulgences at Amare include homemade pastries, specialty cakes, and a selection of imported formaggi. An à la carte menu of homemade pastries and coffee beverages from the eatery's espresso bar is available throughout the day.
Amare Ristorante. 1 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-598-8622; amareristorante.com. Opens April 2019.