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This small, homegrown take-out café has sprouted several locations throughout Miami-Dade. On the menu is a soup (zuppa) of the day, hummus, several desserts (including some fabulous seasonal fruit mousses), and a few nonalcoholic beverages. But the specialty, like the name says, is salad: 25 combinations of greens and garnishes. Some are traditional, such as the caesar, with anchovy, Parmesan cheese, and romaine; others are internationally inspired original creations, such as the Indian, which comes with red cabbage, golden raisins, shredded coconut, and tahini dressing. Yet no matter what salad you order, all come with your choice of an equal number of imaginative, tasty homemade salad dressings (such as creamy cheese, pesto balsamic vinaigrette, wasabi, and berry, all of which can be bought in take-home bottles) and flavored croutons (try the sweet bread). DIY-minded diners can also design their own salads by choosing any green, four toppings, a dressing, and a specialty crouton. Also possible is a more portable meal: your fully dressed and garnished salad tucked in a rice paper or flour tortilla wrap ($6). And because even the $6.50 "piccolo" (small) salad is meal-size (other portions include the medium "basta" for $8.75 and the massive "grande" for $11), Giardino offers one of South Beach's biggest bargain lunches, as well as one of its most healthful.
This is the motto at Giardino Gourmet Salads: "Real, simple food." That, however, makes the place sound a lot simpler than it is. With the exception of a soup of the day, a stuffed baked potato, several desserts (including some fabulous seasonal... More »
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