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Il Grissino Ristorante opens in Coral Gables

The Domanti and the Da Prato families , long-time business partners in Caracas and Miami, bring decades of expertise to Il Grissino, a 3,000-square-foot, 70-seat Italian restaurant at 127 Giralda Avenue, in Coral Gables. The contemporary styled restaurant lined with warm wood offers a wide variety of affordable Italian wines by the bottle and by the glass and a comfortably priced menu starting with mini-antipasti of house-cured olives, salami and fresh bocconcini (little mozzarella balls)
For starters ($8 to $14) there’s an antipasto rustico, with a variety of imported cured meats, marinated vegetables and Grana Padana cheese; imported Burrata  with grape tomatoes, cippolini onions and arugula;  tuna carpaccio,  steamed octopus salad with  boiled potatoes dressed with house-made pesto. Smoked salmon-wrapped scallops are served with spring greens with a lemon dressing and arugula sauce. Fish and seafood entrees ($18 to $22) include a special monkfish Livornese slowly skillet braised with tomatoes, capers, Kalamata olives and spiced with herbs; wood-oven roasted grouper with artichokes and sliced potatoes with a savory wine sauce.
House-made and imported Italian pastas ($13 to $16.50) feature Branzino-stuffed ravioli with cream and fresh herbs; eggplant-stuffed tortellini  with a olive, ricotta and basil pomodoro sauce. The slowly simmered family ragu sauce - a classic with hand-cut   prime beef, tomatoes, and Montalcino wine, combined with herbs and a few “secret” ingredients- is  served with toothsome paccheri pasta , a Bolognese specialty.
Also on the menu: beef and veal dishes ( $19 to $31 for the giant 22 oz. grilled rib eye) and wood-fired pizzas ($11.25 to $14.50)  

Il Grissino is open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; noon to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and on Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.   A Italian aperitivo bar is open from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily, and features

Claudio Giordano Opens Altamare Next Door To Altamar, On Lincoln Road
AltaMar's Claudio Giordano has partnered with chef Simon Stojanovic, previously sous chef at Michael's Genuine and previously from Nemo's, to open ALTAMARE in mid-January. Designed by Juan Carlos Arcila-Duque, the location, adjacent to the nine-year-old AltaMar, has a dining room triple in size, a chef's table, an intimate bar and private dining room. Chef Stojanovic's Mediterranean-inspired menu features locally caught seafood, organic meats and house made pastas. AltaMar will remain open until ALTAMARE's debut. 1233 Lincoln Road, 305.532.3061.

STK And Coco De Villle to Open In South Beach
With the recent news of Gansevoort South Beach Hotel's imminent foreclosure auction, The ONE Group stands firm with plans to unveil the Miami Beach outposts of STK and Coco De Ville on the 12,000 square feet, two-story space located off the northwest corner of the hotel's ground level.. The ONE Group currently has a 20 year lease signed which operates independently from the hotel.
"We are thrilled to be in the final preparation stages for our grand launch celebration that is just around the corner,"says Jonathan Segal, owner of The ONE Group. “We have many events booked in the coming months including holiday parties and events around Pro Bowl, Super Bowl and the South Beach Wine & Food Festival."

Gibraltar Debuts With Chef Jeff O'Neill at Grove Isle Hotel & Spa, Coconut Grove

Following a renovation of more than $1 million, the Grove Isle Hotel and Spa, has opened the waterfront indoor/outdoor Gibraltar where Baleen (and its ubiquitous monkeys) once stood. The menu - contemporary sea-food oriented cuisine - is by chef Jeff O'Neill, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and most recently executive chef at Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach and Donald Trump's family chef who worked for Charlie Palmer at Aureole, Daniel Boulud at Restaurant Daniel and Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin. He moved to Florida in 1998 to open L'Escalier at The Breakers in Palm Beach, where he was Chef de Cuisine for the exclusive French restaurant within the oceanfront resort.
Chef O'Neill uses locally caught sustainable fish, seafood, organic poultry, prime meats, and imported Italian pastas for a menu beginning with soups, salads, crudos and small plates ($8-$22) such as regional oysters napped with spiced mignonette, mussels steamed in coconut-coriander broth with mint, tomato and lobster oil, local snapper crudo with minted mango, pink radish and crisp cassava chips and roasted pumpkin tortellini with spiced pistachios, maple and sage.
Mains ($23-$39) include spice roasted yellowtail snapper with roasted cabbage and chunks of Florida rock lobster, Florida striped bass with black olive faro, preserved lemon and sun dried tomato vinaigrette. Meat lovers can dig into an 8 or 14 ounce prime steak, a juicy and crispy skinned roasted organic chicken au jus, with spinach, bacon, mushrooms, potatoes and onions and smoked salmon loin in a mustard seed crust served with sweet corn beignets. Sides ($6-$8) range from classics such as whipped potatoes with buttermilk to mushrooms roasted with shallots and herbs. Desserts ($8-$9) include key lime pie with a salted graham crust and fresh vanilla whipped cream, featured on Oprah in 2008; a decadent warm chocolate fudge brownie with a cooling coconut milk sorbet spiced with tarragon; and a home-style apple streusel with cinnamon cider sauce.
Gibraltar is open for breakfast daily, from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m; for lunch Monday through Saturday, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; dinner Sunday through Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 6:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and for Sunday brunch 11:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Grove Isle Hotel & Spa, Four Grove Isle Drive in Coconut Grove  (305) 857-5007.

Cafeina, Art Gallery/Lounge, night life, cocktails and gastronomy opens in Wynwood 
Wynwood Art District has a new kid on the block: Cafeina.  After a successful VIP sneak peek during Art Basel, the multi-room art gallery/lounge from owner Ivette Naranjo and designer Pepe Calderin, which will open on Thursday, January 14, 2010.
Art, night life, cocktails and gastronomy meld in a 1,000-square-foot art gallery, with a 5,000-square-foot garden for outdoor exhibits. Executive Chef Guily Booth - whose crab cakes were recently heralded by Martha Stewart as “the best she's ever had,"will offer a tapa-style menu including miniature Kobe Burgers ($11), tuna tacos twith pomegranate mayo ($13) and shrimp lollipops in passion fruit marinade ($12).
Cafeina is open Wednesday through Saturday 6:00 p.m. to midnight; the bar is open until 3:00 a.m.,  297 Northwest 23rd Street in the Miami Wynwood Art District. 305.438.0792. Valet and self parking are available.   

Angelique Euro Café Opens in Coral Gables
Angelique Euro Café, a new neighborhood European café with a Mediterranean menu with European specialties from Spain, France, Italy and Belgium and a vast selection of wines by the glass, imported and craft beers, unique Angel-tinis, and their famous house Sangria, is open daily for Breakfast, Lundh and dinner as well as for happy hour during the week from 4 to 7 pm, and Saturday and Sunday Brunch from 10am through 4pm.  117 Miracle Mile at Ponce and Galiano, Coral Gables. 305-529-9922.

Mediterranean Pasha's opens at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services, a leading airport food and retail providers, has opened a branch of the Mediterranean restaurant Pasha's at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport - the first outside of Miami-Dade County, one of seven retail locations. "We are extremely excited about partnering with Delaware North, which is helping Pasha's reach an even larger audience,"said Antonio Ellek, Pasha's CEO and one of its founders.
In addition to in-seat dining, the airport Pasha's features packaged grab-‘n'-go healthy, all-natural Mediterranean cuisine with items such as gourmet wraps, omelets, nut breads, soups, grilled kebabs, vegetarian options, salads, bakery items and homemade desserts. The fast, casual eatery is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is located in Terminal 1, Concourse B, serving passengers traveling with Southwest, Frontier and Midwest airlines.

 Spice and Tea Exchange opens at Mizner Park, Boca Raton
The Spice & Tea Exchange,  owned by Paulette & Gordon Callender, is the company's first store in the Tri-County area. The Boca Raton Spice & Tea Exchange, with an 18th Century Trading Post look-and-feel, 100 year old salvaged barn beams and one of kind antiques,  offers more than 60 hand-mixed blends and rubs of special savory spices, gourmet teas, 20 varieties of sea salts, cooking herbs and seasonings and a variety of specialty teas. The store is staffed by knowledgeable spice enthusiasts who offer whole and ground peppercorns, a dozen flavored sugars.
shop are the regular mall hours at Mizner Park: 
The Spice and Tea Exchange at 426 Plaza Real, -- not a tea house; but sale of tea, spices and accessories -- is open Mon thru Sat 10a.m. - 9p.m., Sun Noon - 6 p.m.. For more information, call 561-910-1289 or visit    

British-Style The Ivy at The Grove Opens in Coconut Grove
The British-style Ivy At The Grove has opened restaurants (535 seats) in the magnificent three-storey building that house the New Orleans-style Christabelle Restaurant. The Ground Floor is a full bar as well as a casual dining area, where reservations aren't needed for the lunch or after work crowd. The First Floor is for fine dining with reservations required.  On the Top Floor is Raffles Private Membership Club,, an affiliate of London's famous Raffles Chelsea, which hosts both Prince William and Prince Harry as regular habitués... Each of the three floors are available for group and corporate events and large parties.
The owners: international financier William Gerhauser, son of the former head of Playboy Casinos London, and restaurateur Tim Powers - the former owner and operator of the Ivy in London and of Le Caprice (both rated in the Top 10 for both Zagats and Harden's London Restaurant Guide), Daphne's, The Collection and Strada, J.Sheekey, Belgo and Bierodrome,  are long-time friends from London who fell in love with Coconut Grove and the building, which remained unoccupied since Christabelle closed.  
The Ivy, 3159 Commodore Plaza. Coconut Grove is open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch and coffee and desserts. For more information: or call (305)-600-5453.

Luna Corner Pizza brings a taste of Italy to Miami's Mimo District
Luna Corner Pizza, a fast casual restaurant on 69th and Biscayne Blvd. owned by the Amatruda family who specialized in pizza making in Crema, Italy for over 40 years, offers guests fresh Neapolitan-style pizzas made with high quality ingredients imported from Italy, including multi-grain dough, extra virgin olive oil, Italian meats and cheeses and organic San Marzano tomatoes. The family owns Luna Corner Pizza internationally in China and France and this is the first Luna Corner Pizza in the US.
There are five signature flavors and weekly specialty pizzas baked in a traditional Italian stone oven, LCD television screens and insightful quotes from legendary Italian personalities, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Giorgio Armani, Andrea Bocelli and Sophia Loren, accent the walls.
Luna Corner Pizza is open Sunday - Thursday: 11 am - 10 pm and  Friday - Saturday: 11 am - 11 pm .  6815 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. 305.507.9209 .

Rocco's Tacos & Tequila Bar to open  in Boca Raton
Rocco Mangel of Big Time Restaurant Group is poised to open a second restaurant Rocco's Tacos & Tequila Bar in Boca Raton- the first opened in West Palm Beach December 2007.   The restaurant specializes in casual authentic Mexican food ($30 and under) prepared by Executive Chef Nunzio Billante with guacamole prepared tableside, and offers an extensive tequila selection with a list of rare tequila bottles.  
Rocco's Tacos & Tequila Bar is open for lunch Monday thru Sunday 11:30 to 4pm, dinner Sunday, Monday 4pm - 10pm; Tuesday, Wednesday 4pm - 11:30pm; Thursday, Friday, Saturday 4pm - 12am Late Night 12am - 1pm.    5250 Town Center Circle, Boca Raton. 561-416-2132,

Playtown Café, Indoor Family Entertainment Center, Opens in Boca Raton

Opening in December, PLAYTOWN CAFÉ, a 5,100 sq. ft. indoor family entertainment center, indoor playground and eatery transformed into a miniature town housing seven fun and educational centers for kids to explore, create, climb and imagine.     

 “Our goal was to create the perfect outlet where kids could have quality fun, while parents could have uninterrupted conversation and good food,"say husband and wife owners Sharon and Beth Meirav.
Aspiring chefs can visit the The Bakery, a kid-sized kitchen where children can hone their baking skills with ovens, pans, utensils, chef hats and aprons. The artsy types are invited to discover their inner Van Gogh within the Art Gallery.  They can color, paint, draw and create any type of masterpieces or attend an art class. 
At the indoor playground The Park,  kids can climb and slide on bright and sleek play structures, while parents take a break on the park bench. For the gaming types, pull into The Garage, a “refinished garage"that doubles as our super cool game lounge stocked with air hockey, Nintendo Wii Fitness Challenges and a slew of board games. 
There is “Story Hour"at The Library, shopping at Le Boutiqueand dress up like a princess or fireman from the clothing racks. Built for the three and under crowd The Building Zone where they can play with age-appropriate toys, while babies jump around in our bouncy swings.
At The Café there's a healthy menu selection with salads, soups, quiches and paninis for adults and a nutritionist approved kid's menu. At Playtown Café parents can also feel secure with our stamp identification system and security cameras.
Admission is free for parents/guardians, $10 for children two and older, $8 for children under two, and $5 for each additional sibling.  Monthly memberships are $75 per child and $40 for each additional sibling.  It includes unlimited admission and 10% off birthday parties, food and beverage, classes, camp, Parents Night Out evenings, retail and more.  Classes will include mommy and me, art, fitness, cooking, and pre-natal fitness programs (ranging from $12 - $15). Stay tuned for more information regarding our After School Drop-off Program. Children's birthday party packages range from $325 - $550 dependent on head count and customized options.

PLAYTOWN CAFE is open from open Monday - Friday from 9 a.m.- 6p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., and on Sunday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.  They are located at 19575 South State Rd. 7 (441) within The Shoppes at Boca Greens in Boca Raton. For more information, please visit .




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