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Serafina Dream South Beach
1111 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, 305.534.8455 www.serafinarestaurant.com

Simplicity and good quality ingredients are the secret of Serafina’s success. 
 
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By Simone Zarmati Diament

 


Serafina Restaurant, a Northern Italian cuisine chain with locations in NYC, East Hampton. Tokyo, Moscow, Mumbai and Sao Paolo — Additional restaurants in the group include Geisha Table and Brasserie Cognac in NYC —  has opened at the Dream Hotel in the space formerly known as Tudor House.

Owners Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato have infused the lobby of the 129-seats indoor/outdoor art-deco Tudor House, with enthusiasm and energy. The cafeteria-like eatery gets a touch of sophistication from the 16-seat bar at the entrance and the frescoes of seraphs on the walls by artist Michele Martello.

While there is no sidewalk seating, there is a romantic outdoor terrace shaded by Serafina’s bright yellow umbrellas that match the waiters and waitresses chic T-shirts with Serafina's wings on the back — a clothing item I wouldn’t mind wearing myself — contributing to a fun, upbeat environment.

Simplicity and good quality ingredients are the secret of Serafina’s success worldwide. Partners Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato  — who,  while traumatically lost at sea,  pledged to open a restaurant serving the best pizza and pasta in the world at reasonable prices if they were to survive the ordeal —claim that “people can come in for just pizza or a salad or have a great Italian meal for under $32” with family recipes passed down from generation to generation.

The menu includes 24 varieties of pizza ($10 to $18), all thin-crusted and made with "00" Italian flour, filtered water, extra virgin olive oil and Sicilian sea salt — our Tartufo Nero with robiola cheese, fontina, truffle cheese, truffle oil and sliced black truffle was outstanding —, and  offers a variety of  appetizers and salads, a huge pasta section, then fish, vegetables and fresh grilled meats.

Appetizers ($7.50 to $19) include large and plump Mussels al Prosecco;  carpaccio di filetto con salsa di tartufi neri, thin sliced prime filet mignon with warm black truffle sauce and boiled potatoes; a refreshing ceviche di  Branzino with with papaya & mango, tequila marinade; a Tartare di Sofia with toro grade tuna and salmon marinated the Italian way;  Prosciutto di parma and melt-in-the-mouth mozzarella di buffala;  Vitello tonnato, thin slices of cold poached veal tenderloin served with Italian tuna fish sauce and Sicilian capers  and more Italian specialties.

Salads ($8 to $15) list  Watermelon and mint with crumbled feta cheese, marinated in citrus zest and extra virgin olive oil;  warm Italian goat cheese over baby spinach topped with honey and roasted pine nuts; the classic Carcioffi and Parmigiano with fresh sliced artichoke hearts, aged Parmigiano Reggiano shavings, lemon and extra virgin olive oil; Serafina chicken salad with grilled organic chicken breast tossed with romaine and mesclun, sun dried tomatoes, raisins, pine nuts, and a pesto dressing, or baby arugula  with sliced seared filet mignon and shaved Parmigiano.

Pastas are served al dente like the perfectly balanced Farfalle al limoncello, bow tie pasta sautéed in an addictive creamy lemon sauce with sweet  baby shrimp; paglia & fieno, silky strands of homemade fettuccine with light tomato sauce, basil, Parmigiano and a touch of cream; Ravioli ai Porcini filled and sautéed with fresh porcini mushrooms or the gluten free and whole wheat options.

I would come back any day for the fresh fish dishes ($22 - $29), namely the fillet of bass al pinot grigio wrapped in potatoes and served on an earthy bed of zucchini and leeks or the fillet of branzino al forno baked with lemon and rosemary and served with a ratatouille-like pepperonata.  Meat and poultry dishes ($18-$30) run the gamut from Chicken Milanese and grilled organic chicken breast paillard to grilled steak and fries and filet mignon burger with Gorgonzola cheese, caramelized onions and French fries.

Desserts are all homemade, from the luscious strawberry and mascarpone tiramisù to the fresh fruit and spirit lollipops — a fitting digestivo for South Beach.

Being a in a hotel, Serafina also serves  breakfast with favorites such as egg white frittata and pancakes and fresh fruit juices.

Sommelier Alessandra Rotondi’s accessible wine list showcases an extensive selection of wines from Italy, France, New Zealand and the U.S., many bearing Serafina’s own label; while the resident mixologist shakes up exciting cocktails  ranging from $10 - $15.

 

truffle pizza final_1   Serafina Dream South Beach
1111 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, 305.534.8455 www.serafinarestaurant.com  
Serafina Dream South Beach is open seven days for  breakfast, lunch, dinner and takeout with the added feature of kitchen-to-car delivery and short-term free parking.
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