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Despite owner Fabian Basabe's splashy past appearances on social pages and reality television, his first restaurant, Da Vittorio, occupies a relatively un-flashy space in an appropriately Mediterranean-style building in downtown Coral Gables. Thanks to its proximity near the city's office-building canyons, the place sees some of its most bustling business during a weekday happy hour from 4 to 8 p.m. At that time, $5 beers and wines and $8 premium drinks de-stress a young professional crowd. The rest of the time, the yawning space of the vast dining room is usually empty. Despite that, service can be leisurely. Luckily, there are TVs above the full bar and often, live music. Food spans a broad range of Italian specialties. But though dishes are mostly familiar, they don't come cheap. Appetizers include buratta cheese with prosciutto and cherry tomatoes ($18) and grilled octopus served with corona beans, potatoes, and preserved lemon ($20). Entrées include grilled Alaskan salmon ($22); breaded, bone-in veal cutlet ($38); and common pastas such as spaghetti pomodoro ($12) and linguine in white wine sauce with clams ($20). To shave off a few bucks, though, note that pastas are all available off-menu in half-portions, a saving that will help out if you go for one of the house-made desserts, such as ricotta cheesecake ($9) and lemon sorbet ($8).
Phenomenal experience! Couldn't have found a more perfect way to start a Thursday night during my trip to Miami. I would compare it to Cafe Milano in the Washington D.C. area, quaint with about a dozen tables. My associate and I were staying in the Biltmore to which we were recommended Da Vittorio. We started out with the burrata and fried calamari. The burrata was delightful, and although the calamari was a little too salty for my taste, the plate nevertheless ended up empty. I ordered the pork chop while my associate ordered the veal milanese (apparently their signature dish). The veal was certainly a sight to be seen, it was pounded, then breaded and served with greens on top, and covered the entire plate. The pork chop was perfectly cooked, a hefty portion, and served with potatoes and greens. We finished with the tiramisu and cannoli, and they were out of this world! The owner came and greeted us at our table and made small talk. He encouraged us to stick around since a live band would be playing on this particular Thursday. The band drew quite a crowd, even on a quiet sidestreet of the Miracle Mile area. Overall, I would give them an excellent rating. The ambiance was relaxing, the service was spectacular, and the food was delicious.
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