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A visit to Gil Capa's Bistro feels like a trip to Grandma's house. Ceramic cat figurines are a design staple. There's an upright piano, a corner étagère, and a TV set surrounded by piles of VHS cassettes. There's an entire wall of photos of Mr. Capa, a jolly Italian gentleman with a gloriously thick handlebar mustache. He and his wife Carmen make you feel like family with their amazing Italian cuisine. There's chicken piccata, pasta e fagioli, and chicken Marsala - all fabulous. The eggplant Parmesan? Fuhgeddaboutit. And the lasagna is somehow both rich and delicate. If you don't stick around and order cannolis for dessert, you should kick yourself.
My mother was the one who first told me about Gil Papa's. She's also the same one who told me I should get a haircut and could stand to lose a couple of pounds. Ahh yes, mothers... natures way of keeping you in check. I'll admit it, in the beginning I wasn't to enthusiastic about this one. It was in the middle of a small rinky dinky looking plaza and when we walked in, there was literally only one table occupied. I later found out that it was the owners wife and a friend who occupied this one table. Things were looking pretty grim and then something unexpected happened. They brought over a mountain of garlic bread. No seriously, it was like a little mountain of tiny bread. (I'm always late with the before shots). The bread was not as it appeared upon initial inspection. I was expecting a soft roll and was pleasantly surprised to find that it had a nice garlicky, herby, toasty crunch to it. As is custom with the FatCats crew, we always order more than one appetizer and decided to go with some fresh made (yes that's right, FRESH MADE) Bruschette. Wow you can definitely tell this was made right then and there... the bread was still warm and the tomatoes were fresh and it had just the right amount of oil. Well here comes my favorite part of any meal... and that would be the Entree'. BRING ON THE FOOD! BAM! Tortellini alla Papalina... Great googly moogly this was greatness. This is a cheese stuffed torellini with sweet peas and prosciutto ham, it was great... and the sauce it was in, was just amazing. Even though I was full I still found enough room to grab a couple extra garlic rolls to dip into this amazing sauce. Next up we have Linguini alla Clociar. What you are looking at here is Linguini pasta with sauteed onions, garlic tomato and herbs. This was actually my mothers meal and to quote her... "Perfection." This was Gil's (we also had a guy named Gil with us, no relation) plate aka Penne alla Putanesca. I gave it a taste and it was good, though I can't see myself eating a whole plate of it due to the high saltiness of the capers and anchovies that come with it. Gil, you are a brave, brave man. Erica ordered the Fettuccine Alfredo. THIS WAS VERY GOOD. That sauce, I just can't describe it. The best I could say (without sounding overly dramatic) is, it was as if God himself came down from the heavens and kissed this plate. Unfortunately, I had stepped out of the room for a moment when dessert was ordered, so i'm not actually sure what these were. It is my understanding however that there are only two desserts made by the Gil Capa's, Tiramisu and Cannolis, unfortunately they were out of both. I can tell you though that I did not really enjoy either dessert above as they had white and dark chocolate in them and I hate both. But as you can see in the picture above, there was a war going on for the next bite. Oops, almost forgot to post a picture of the menu. This one is one of my favorites because of the caricature on the front. I wonder where they came up with that image. I was fortunate enough to go behind the scenes into the back and meet the rest of the "Staff". It was only then did I realize that Gil Capa's has three employees. Number one is the head honcho himself Chef Gil Capa, number two is his wife Carmen aka the real boss (who actually creates all of the appetizers and desserts) and an unnamed waitress. Gil is an old school new york Italian who cooks old school Italian simply because he loves to. The two of them definitely aim to make you feel at home, they really treat and talk to you like family. We even got to catch them arguing in the back about which was the better salad to bring out to our table. If you think I was joking about Carmen being the boss. Just take a look at the back page of the menu for a message she left behind for all patrons. As stated earlier, my initial impression of Gil Papa's was pretty negative. I'm really glad I kept my mouth shut and ended up making it to dinner this evening because in my opinion I got the opportunity to eat at one of Miami's last real authentic Italian restaurants. Much continued success to the Capa family. Our condolences go out to the Capa family on the passing of Carmen whom left us just one week after we visited. Though I only met her once I could immediately tell that she was a warm and loving woman with a passionate and fiery personality. You will be missed. -(Reviewed and Approved by GaTo ) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Where: 10712 sw 113th place (its hidden) --- Miami, FL 33176 --- No website Price Range: $$ --- Alcohol: Beer and Wine --- Attire: Casual Good for: Dinner with a large group. Hours: Tue-Sun 5:30-10:00p closed Mondays FatCatsTip: Dip the garlic bread in some balsamic vinaigrette the one they carry is amazing. Make a reservation before coming, though they allow walk-ins Carmen isn't afraid to rip you a new one for showing up unannounced.
Famous not only for his cooking but also his gigantic handlebar mustache, owner Gil Capa walks in and out of the kitchen, greeting his customers with jokes in Italian. You can almost hear the Godfather theme as you enter this small Italian bistro tucked away in a tiny strip mall. Patrons receive warm greetings as they are seated. "It is like a big family here; most of our customers are the children of our customers," says Gil's wife, Carmen. The only employees here are Gil, Carmen, and... More »
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