The unwavering Miami “foodie” scene has made its way into Coconut Grove. Adding to the neighborhood’s culinary palette is a new Italian gem, Fornaro Restaurant and Gourmet Pizza, an intimate restaurant nestled on the corner of U.S. 1 and 27thAvenue.
A romantic patio and herb garden opens up to an inviting dining space featuring clusters of Edison-bulb pendants suspended over geometric patterned floors and white linen tables with accents awash in a palette of Merlot and Mahogany. Managed by Chef Marcos Mello, the menu sources fresh, local ingredients to present a unique twist on authentic Italian cuisine, which includes homemade pastas, fresh meats and gourmet brick oven pizzas.
Open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, Fornaro welcomes guests with menu items that are carefully selected and meticulously prepared. Most notable on the menu is the restaurant’s signature dish, Polpettone, which is a traditional Italian meatloaf. Deemed a labor of love, the crispy dish is made of freshly ground filet mingon, encircled in fine, imported Italian mozzarella and served over fresh tomato sauce.
Patrons are invited to indulge in a sophisticated and intimate dinner menu which starts with a selection of Sausage Bread, topped with Toscana sausage, tomato sauce, chopped onion and parmesan cheese ($7.85), Mantova Bruschetta, brie cheese, prosciutto di parma, apricot jam and arugula served atop homemade toasted bread ($7.45); and Brie and Fig Bread, crispy toast topped with brie cheese, mushrooms, fig jam and sweet onion ($8.85).
Entrées include Veal Giardino, grilled veal in a red wine marinade served over pumpkin puree ($18.80); Seabass, almond-crusted seabass topped with shrimp and white wine lemon sauce, complete with a side of spinach and asparagus ($25.80); Risotto Milanese with “Osso Buco,” veal osso buco cooked in a wood burning oven and served with saffron risotto ($28.80); and Risotto Funghi with Rack of Lamb, pistachio-crusted rack of lamb served over risotto funghi and drizzled with truffle oil ($24.80).
Creative Italian style dishes include Fettuccini Meatball and Yogurt, fresh tomato and basil-covered fettuccini topped with ricotta cheese and meatballs in a yogurt cream sauce ($15.80); Fiocchi Saffron, fiocchi pasta stuffed with pears and gorgonzola served with saffron and sun-dried tomato sauce ($16.80); and Capellini Mushroom, capellini pasta served in a mushroom sauce accompanied by crispy parmesan cheese ($16.80).
Lighter entrée selections include Quinoa Tabbouleh, quinoa served with finely chopped red onion, garlic, tomato, fresh herbs and seeded and peeled cucumber topped with a Sicilian lemon sauce ($7.50) or Capri Salad, spinach, arugula, caramelized walnuts, dried cranberries, bacon, feta cheese and garbanzo beans served in a creamy Italian dressing ($7.40).
Sweet inspirations from the dessert menu include Fig Truffle Flan, baked with fresh fig and served over vanilla bean ice cream with toffee sauce ($7.80); Petit Gateau, a mini chocolate cake with a delicious creamy filling served warm with vanilla ice-cream, chocolate fudge and strawberries ($7.80); and Coconut Pudding, fresh coconut and cream blended to perfection ($5.80).
Auspicious diners will enjoy Fornaro’s special Gnocchi Della Fortuna, a dish only served on the 29th of each month. The tradition stems from a legend dating back to the 8th century where the placing of money under a plate symbolizes wishes of prosperity. Therefore, on the 29th of each month, guests are invited to honor this ritual with a symbolic gnocchi entrée.
For reservations, please call 305.668.8888.