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Jul 16, 2007 08:36 AM

Osteria del Teatro or Cafe Abbracci?

I was set to go to Osteria but the concierge in my hotel, whose advice I know to take with a grain of sand, said Cafe Abbracci is better, easier to get to, and slightly cheaper. Thoughts?

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  1. Osteria is excellent. Bests: tuna tartare, mango lobster insalata, and tiramisu.

    If you are looking for something a little more low key I can very highly recommend Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante (1801 Purdy Ave. Miami Beach). It is excellent. Be sure not to miss the antipasti including the smoked pecorino and veal procuitto, Also for a main the pulpo (octopus) is some of the very best I have ever had!

    I have never heard of Cafe Abbracci (I looked it up... it is down in Coral Gables - kind of a trek).

    1 Reply
    1. re: JonasBrand

      Abbracci is much more of a Gables power-brokers see-and-be-seen type place, I've never been wowed by the food. I've heard great things about Osteria but somehow have never been. I heartily second the Sardinia recommendation. Was just there last night, what a lovely place. Great selection of antipasti (about a half dozen choices each between various vegetables, salumi and cheeses), and we had a great maccaroni with meatballs (really hearty, chewy pasta which seemed to be rolled rather than extruded) and a spaghetti w/ bottarga (a dried salted tuna roe which is shaved over the pasta - perhaps an acquired taste).

      Easier to get into shouldn't be much of a concern during the summer.

    2. Hotel concierges in miami beach are usually:
      a) Paid for referrals
      b) Rarely know what they are talking about

      Abracci is good, Osteria is quite a bit better. Sardinia is not quite as good as osteria but not nearly as pricey- but it is better tha Abracci as well.

      1. I would say Osteria.

        Frodnesor: I would love for you to go to Osteria and compare it to Sardinia. I would love to hear your opinion about it. I will do the same with Sardinia (never been!) and share my thoughts as well. Thank you for all your posts!

        4 Replies
        1. re: yomyb

          I'm still not sure why after having lived in Miami for nearly 20 years (and in So. Fl. all my life, growing up in Broward) that I still haven't been to Osteria! Part of it is that we rarely will go out to places that are "just" pasta places, as it is inescapably such a heavy meal. But that's no excuse. You're on - I'll try Osteria, you try Sardinia, we'll both report back!

          1. re: Frodnesor

            My advice on osteria is - specials over regular menu - spinach crepes are great though and they are on the regular menu.

            On the specials, I particularly like the osso buco and the lobster pasta (expensive but really good).

            1. re: tpigeon

              Having been to both, I would definietly recommend Osteria over Abracci. Both are good but I prefer the food and staff and Osteria. I was just there last weekend and had the grilled vegetable combo which is wonderful, the lobster salad -awesome, a PHENOMENAL pasta with crabeat, sea bass with shitake mushrroms, steak, and tiramisu. Fabulous dinner! The decor is more simple at Osteria but the food makes up for that---and you can always go to a trendy night sopt in SoBe afterward. Go to Osteria! I think you'll love it.

              1. re: tpigeon

                Ok Frodnesor ;-)

                And yes, I have to agree with tpigeon; the specials is what you need to have. Trust the staff, they will always guide you the right way (manager is a great guy), or if you are feeling generous, ask the chef to just choose a menu for you, Italian omakase style :-). Expensive, but oh... so worth it.

          2. Ya'll are the best. Osteria at 8 tonight. I'll report back. Post me if you ever need dining advice for Va. Beach/Norfolk/Williamsburg.

            1. I live right around the corner from Osteria in SoBe, yet find myself trekking down to the Gables every time I desire an authentic Italian dish. I have been going to Abbracci for over four years now, first introduced by an old boyfriend's '' Gables Power-Broker'' father (whom eats at Abbracci almost every day).

              The service is always exceptional; the ambiance is much better than Osteria; the ever-changing specials add variety for the regulars; and the wine list has been constructed in order to enhance the menu's gastronomic pleasures.

              The prices are reasonable.. so if a 15-minute drive to the Gables (about the time one could spend finding parking in Miami Beach) isn't too much for you, I would strongly recommend this local favourite.

              Additionally, I also second the Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante recommendation.. perhaps it is better than both restaurants...

              6 Replies
              1. re: Went2ChefSchool

                Interesting - I have been to Abbracci several times (primarily for lunch) and can't think of a single time I've ever had anything that made me say "Wow, that was good, I want to come back for it." For Gables Italian I'd just as soon (or sooner) go to Bugatti or even Anacapri, and it would never occur to me to actually go out of my way to go to Abbracci.

                What do you have at Abbracci that you enjoy?

                1. re: Went2ChefSchool

                  I have to agree with Frod. You talk about the specials at Abbracci, but if anything, the absurb specials menu at Osteria is what has made them famous. It takes the wait staff several minutes to get through them on some nights. The people watching at Osteria is great, the service is outstanding, and most importantly, the food is great.

                  I took my parents to Abbracci twice and went another couple of times on my own and left feeling like I had been taken for. The room is, I thought, cheesy imitation-mobster, un-welcoming and uncomfortable.

                  1. re: mikek

                    I'm curious if this is one of those Italian-American vs. Italian cuisine kinda arguments. Seems like the menu items may indicate they are apples and oranges and depending on what one considers "Italian" food or ambience they might prefer one or the other.

                    To lob in another opinion, as Fratelli Lyon has found its footing, I think I prefer that over all three previous recommendations since it most closely resembles the food I've had in Italy and doesn't leave me feeling stuffed. Never been to Sardinia (the island) though so I'm sure that food is authentic as well.

                    It's cheaper too.

                    1. re: mikek

                      I completely agree about the food and atmosphere at Cafe Abracci. I found the food to be very forgettable. The decor and waiters also made me feel quite uncomfortable.

                      1. re: miamisage

                        Fratelli and Lyon better than Osteria Del Teatro??? Do others agree? I'd like to hear more on this.....

                        1. re: Debbie

                          I would say they are different. Fratelli Lyon is much more rustic, whereas Osteria is more inventive, more "higher end" ingredients (i.e. lobster ravioli, truffles, etc.). If given the choice of which I would rather eat at, my answer would be depends on my mood, though I could eat a meal at Fratelli Lyon much more frequently than I could at Osteria, both because of the style of dishes and the price.