If you’re looking for a lavish and indulging experience South of Fifth, Cavalli is definitely a place to keep in mind. Now in its second year, sophisticated furniture and elegant decorations take up the whole establishment, but the warm and inviting atmosphere and service is what stands out. The waiters are knowledgeable in the concept, the staff is genuinely accommodating to you, and your satisfaction is the only thing in their mind. In essence, it is what Italian restaurants should strive for.
The outside terrace embraces the aura coming off of Ocean Drive, sharing the block with heavy hitters Prime 112 and all of its concepts. Still, it manages to escape the overpriced and snobby feeling that one expriences when dining in establishments such as these. In fact, the staff and menu comes off as unpretentious and going on a limb to comfort you to a level that nobody else on the street does.
The décor is second to none at Cavalli, which is an obvious feature seeing as the name of restaurant comes from one of the most recognized designers/restaurateurs in the world. The floors are made from the finest Italian marble found only in Italy’s Massa Carrara caves, grandiose chandeliers hang from the roof, and plates and silverware are stunning. It makes for a perfect place to sit down for a meal.
Start with the Polenta Taragna, served with a fricassee of mixed mushrooms. The polenta is as creamy as any polenta I’ve ever eaten, enhanced with the addition of cream and truffle oil. Just when you think the dish is going to be too heavy, the earthiness of the mushrooms tames the indulgent bite. The homemade potato Gnocchi with white veal ragu is a revelation. Out of all the dishes sampled, the Gnocchi was the best of the night. The pillowy potato dumplings were a perfect vessel for the savory and tender veal ragu, which is flavorful enough to stand as a dish on its own. The Gnudi in brown butter and sage was a mediocre rendition of the dish, seeing as it was a bit tough and doughy. This dish is extremely hard to perfect, so I applaud the attempt nonetheless. Although the texture left much to be desired, the flavors were on cue and reflected the competence of the kitchen. The Bistec alla Fiorentina features a dry-aged bone in 22 oz rib-eye that produced exquisite flavors and a filling meal. It was seasoned perfectly and cooked to perfection. All in all, it was a simple steak done right; more than most “steakhouses” in Miami can produce.
End the meal with the Nutella Bombolini. The homemade Italian donuts are injected with a copious amount of Nutella and then topped with chopped hazelnuts. As you take a bite, the bombolini will explode and reveal an interior that is more nutella than bombolini. This is definitely a good problem to have. This last bite epitomizes Cavalli quite nicely. The exterior looks quite attractive and enticing, but the interior holds a lot of substance that pleasantly surprises the diner. Overall, Cavalli is highly recommended.
150 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139