There are new additions to the Miami restaurant scene on a regular basis, and within the past few years the culinary scene has seemed to develop and advance on a level that is almost on par with more food-centric cities like New York or Chicago. I have been pleasantly surprised with some of the new additions to our city, but there has not been a restaurant that I would particularly say has blown me away or that I would consider a game changer in any sense. This is where Uvaggio comes in. The experience I recently had in this newly opened restaurant was one that made me truly examine and appreciate what it was that I was eating. An ambitious and eclectic menu is accompanied by one of the more stellar wine offerings that I have seen in Miami. The goal that Heath Porter, the sommelier and Co-Owner, is trying to achieve is to encourage people to have fun through the menu offerings that are available at his restaurant. Yes, the food is gourmet, and wine list is highly respectable, but Uvaggio manages to achieve this without displaying the pretentiousness that some restaurants sometimes extrude. Instead, Uvaggio doesn’t take itself too seriously, and you can see this in the quirkily described menu and ambiance in the restaurant. The managers are constantly checking on their tables and joking with patrons, the music selection is enjoyable, and everyone is genuinely happy.
The food offered here is highly impressive, not taking too much inspiration from one particular type of cuisine. On the contrary, looking through the menu is like traveling around the world. Creative takes on Peruvian, Mediterranean, American, and Asian cuisine are evident, and everything I sampled was expertly prepared. I left highly impressed after tasting the homemade naan bread with a trio of dips, including a goat cheese hummus, smoked babaganoush, and olive tapenade. The babaganoush was the most creative, with a smoky and still-textured puree that perfectly complimented the buttery grilled homemade flatbread. The Wahoo crudo is a play on Peruvian and asian dishes using local flavors. Local and sustainable fish is topped with apricot, pickled ginger, cucumber, passion fruit puree, and Hawaiian salt, allowing you to savor the freshness of the fish while enjoying some of the flavors Miami has to offer. The Octopus “Naranja Agria” is created through a multiple day process where it is left to marinade in a vacuum sealed bag for a couple of hours and then pan seared to achieve a blending of textures and flavors. The octopus itself is tender and flavorful with a crust coming from the sear that I have not been able to find in any other restaurant in Miami. The dish is then topped with pickled jicama, adding an acidity that pairs well with the aji amarillo sauce used to garnish the plate. Unless you see something on the wine list that you HAVE to have, I would suggest that you let the employees guide you through your meal. Some of the wines used for the dishes are available on the menu, so they would make perfect pairings for your meal selection. Everything on the menu is highly affordable, allowing you to come and make your way through all the options on numerous visits. This is not a place that you can only come to on special occasions, since the owners seemed to try to make it so it easy for anyone to come and have a good time whenever they please. Obviously, there are some high-end wines, but you could also come and enjoy some of the best affordable wine money can by.
Overall, I am excited to see what Uvaggio has to offer in the future. It is one of the better places that has opened in Miami in the past couple of years, and I only see it getting better from here. The food, wine, and inviting atmosphere will keep me coming here on a regular basis, but Uvaggio is much more than that. It is a place that brings value, knowledge, unpretentiousness, and fun to a city sadly lacking in those things. So for that, I thank Uvaggio.
70 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134
By Food Blogger, Santiago Cardona