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Different owners, different chefs, but the new Vita has a lot in common with the old Vita. Such as the 100-seat outdoor garden with lush tropical foliage and old-time movies projected on the wall. Such as the DJ who spins tunes weekends from about 10 p.m. till close. Such as the location right across the street from some of SoBe's hottest nightclubs, which gives Vita something in the way of a social edge. What has changed is the cuisine -- from contemporary Northern Italian/Med to contemporary French/Italian/Med. You can tell how good the food is going to taste just by looking at it. Pea soup arrives vibrant green, with six fried mussels evenly spaced around the wide rim of the bowl. Pappardelle glows yellow, like ribbons of egg yolk, delectable with ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Wood-fired oven pizzas boast thin, mildly charred crusts, and entrées are just as praiseworthy. Especially good are a whole butterflied branzino grilled and served with salsalike sauce vierges, and thick, juicy red slices of duck breast in a pond of honey-Marsala wine sauce. For a bracing finish, try iced Irish coffee: a tall sip of chilled chocolate, coffee, and whiskey topped by almond-infused whipped cream. The proverbial cherry on top is the return of Vita as a vital player on the South Beach dining scene.
When summer comes to South Florida, the restaurant scene gears down so abruptly, and so dramatically, that its eerie. Personally I havent made a reservation since Memorial Day. Even at some of South Beachs most in-demand hot spots -- places where... More »
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