Friday, September 14, 2012


It is impossible to think about Italy without craving their delicious Italian food. Sophia Loren said it best when she said, "Everything you see I owe to pasta." When I embarked on my most recent adventure to Italian culinary gem, Cioppino, located in the Ritz Carlton of Key Biscayne, at 455 Grand Bay Drive, I expected to receive outstanding service and savor excellent cuisine. The experience went way beyond that; combining the elements of detail, personalized service, and authentic food, to ultimately create a night to remember.

I have visited Cioppino several times, including to indulge in their famous Sunday Brunch (which I know has been revamped since the last time I went and I can't wait to try it). There is always something special and unique about each experience. This evening, Cioppino once again outdid themselves. We were wowed not only by Chef Ezio Gamba's delectable talents and culinary skills, but also by our server, Victor, who ensured every detail of our meal was perfect; from the moment we sat down at our table, to the moment we walked out of the restaurant.

It was a Saturday night, and the Miami Spice menu was not available, but since I was intrigued by some of the items that are featured in both their lunch and dinner menus, I decided to try them anyway. We started with a signature plate I always rave about. It is their Burrata, a creamy, round, extravagant take on mozzarella cheese that came wrapped in a layer of Prosciutto, with pesto arugula and toasted pine nuts. The Ritz Carlton flies the burrata in from the region of Puglia  twice a week and you can literally taste the freshness and decadence in every pleasurable bite. You'll be happy to know the burrata can be found in their Miami Spice Lunch Menu.

Ravioli Di Aragosta

Gnocchi De Patate & Ravioli
Stuffed with Mushrooms
Next, we ordered the Ravioli Di Aragosta, a dish of lobster & ricotta stuffed ravioli and bay scallops, bathed in a celery infused cream sauce. Mamma Mia it was good! The plump little pillows of pasta were bites of paradise filled with succulent, sweet lobster. It was colorful not only for the eyes, but for the taste buds as well. This dish is offered in the lunch menu for Miami Spice. Our next entree was a combination of two pastas: the Gnocchi Di Patate al Pomodoro Fresco and a chef's special for the evening, a housemade Ravioli Stuffed with Porcini and Portobello Mushrooms and Topped with Wagyu Beef. The Gnocchi were delicious; with a light and fluffy taste and a springy texture that was pleasing to the palate.  I could savor the fresh vegetables and aromatic herbs in each bite. The robust and complex flavors of the mushrooms blended well without competing for attention, and the pasta practically melted in my mouth. I loved the balance of textures between the crispy wagyu beef and the creamy, delicate sauce. Excellent creation Chef!


I was very excited when it came time for dessert. I have a shameful love affair with Tiramisu and I was ready to let my passion roll. We were celebrating a special evening, and the staff at Cioppino did not forget. They brought out a beautifully decorated Tiramisu that was almost too exquisite to eat. I say almost, because I was dying for my first spoonful. Glorious! On my most recent visit to Rome, in Italy, I visited a square called Piazza Argentina. There was a small cafe there that was very charming and we had their Tiramisu. It was unforgettable! I remembered it as soon as Ciopinno's Tiramisu caressed my lips. So authentic, it was made with imported Mascarpone cheese and a hint of Expresso ladyfingers, then whipped with Italian liqueurs. The result? A creamy indulgence that made me want to swoon.  Oh Sole Mio! By the way, enjoy because they offer it for dinner on their Miami Spice Menu.

The Miami Spice menu is currently being offered at Cioppino for both lunch and dinner and you can check what days it is available on Additionally, the restaurant will be hosting its Annual White Truffle Dinner in November; an exclusive gastronomic journey showcasing the rare and highly-coveted White Truffle Mushrooms.  For more information on Cioppino, or to make reservations, you can contact them at 305-365-4286 or visit them online at

Cioppino (The Ritz-Carlton Hotel) on Urbanspoon

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