Dolce opened its doors to the public this past past Friday, January 18th, inside the Gale South Beach hotel. Facing the more imposing Delano, the boutique hotel recently received a major facelift while still retaining its original Art Deco character. An intimate patio that overlooks Collins Avenue is a great way to people watch and enjoy South Florida’s mild winter, but Dolce’s second level dining room, offering a contemporary take on a speakeasy vibe, is the true destination when it comes to ambiance at Gale South Beach. Diners feel like they are being taken to a hip, secret lair upon being seated, and the grey toned wood accents, white tablecloths, and low lighting are reminiscent of an elegance from another time period.
That same nostalgic feel is reiterated in Dolce’s cocktail menu that features a selection of classic Italian apéretifs featuring Campari, Aperol, and other bitter liqueurs meant to whet the appetite. A Negroni made with Plymouth gin, Dolin vermouth, and Campari arrived in a rocks glass with a virtual boulder of solid ice so as not to dilute the cocktail prematurely. It was one of the smoother interpretations I’ve sampled of this favorite cocktail. A classic bellini featuring prosecco and dry vermouth offered a delicate note from the addition of white peach and was not as cloyingly sweet as some other bellinis. The same bellini is reconfigured to include pear and offers a bit more sweetness. The Aperol Spritz, which includes the astringent Italian liqueur with a pleasant effervescence from sparkling wine, is also great for any lover of bitter cocktails.
Traditional or traditionally-inspired entrées at Dolce are truly exemplary. A dish of house-made Pappardelle Alla Bolognese offered toothsome, wide egg noodles with a braised beef, veal, and pork combination that was a lot lighter than typically expected - definitely a perfectly satisfying dish if one expects to go out after dinner. Veal Spezzatino was absolutely luminous, consisting of braised veal over perhaps one of the best risottos sampled in South Florida. The risotto was like a parmesan-infused cloud in which were suspended perfect grains of rice that retained just the slightest hint of chewiness. While I could have definitely enjoyed the risotto on its own, the addition of the braised veal in an unctuous sauce enriched with wine and containing bits of onion, carrot, and celery made for a perfect entrée and perhaps the most memorable dish of the evening.
Prior to enjoying an expertly crafted espresso, we savored a couple of simple desserts, including a tiramisù served in a martini glass that offered all the expected elements of a well-made classic. The acidity of the espresso nicely complemented the richness of the mascarpone. A budino, the Italian answer to the ever-popular flan, was perfectly executed and unexpectedly, but pleasantly, scented with honey. The texture was smooth throughout with not even a suggestion of curdling - something that is unfortunately found too often with flan - and the sugar was caramelized to just the right point to offer a slightly bitter edge to counter the sweetness of this dessert.
While there are many fabulous Italian restaurants to choose from in Miami Beach, Dolce’s intimate and elegant ambiance, as well as Chef Paolo Dorigato’s mastery of classic and straightforward Italian cuisine, make Dolce among the finer choices for Italian dining.
Located inside Gale South Beach
1690 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach 33139