Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Cantina 27, Miami Beach
Affordable, honest Italian cooking. That's what Cantina 27 is all about. And, for the most part, that's what you get. The prices are certainly reasonable; $8-$15 for pasta dishes and $13-$20 for heftier mains like veal scaloppine and a filet. Our party of four started with a bruchetta appetizer which was 4 generous slices of baguette topped with a fine diced-tomato topping. We ordered the farfalle pasta with salmon cream sauce (above), gnocchi with Taleggio cheese and walnut sauce, homemade spinach ravioli and the grilled prawns. The salmon pasta was the table winner with a smoky, not overly-heavy pink sauce. The ravioli was alright, stuffed with a nice amount of fresh spinach but the pasta was too al dente and a bit hard. The gnocchi were dressed with a fantastic sauce but could have been lighter.
The prawn dish (3 pieces) won raves for the perfectly grilled execution. Our table ordered a bottle of Terre di Morro chardonnay for $28. The connolli dessert produced flaky, delicious pastries but at $7 for two it was the only thing we all agreed was not priced well. Service was great, if a little harried since they were busy on a Saturday night (which is great for them and nice to see). And yes, the bathroom is to be avoided but the sidewalk seating is great on a cool night. The owner even comped us glasses of wine while we waited for a table to free up. With such low prices it's worth repeat visits to try the rest of the menu and settle on some favorites. A nice perk is not having to deal with the parking hassles of South Beach or Lincoln Road, as there's ample parking across the street. An added bonus: Taking a walk on the Miami Beach boardwalk after the meal.