I am not a restaurant critic. But… being a nutritionist (by the way, a legitimate nutritionist is a registered dietitian) in the supermarket and restaurant industries for over 20 years and having traveled around most of the world exploring food, I consider myself a connoisseur of quality food ingredients with a discerning eye to the subtleties of fine food preparation. Among other things, I live for healthy food, creative cooking and fine dining.
This brings me to why I am writing about my recent experience at Escopazzo Organic Italian Restaurant on Washington Avenue in Miami (South Beach), Florida. It stands for everything I love… organic, fresh, natural and then some… raw, vegan and gluten-free. If you are strolling around the South Beach area, call for a reservation +1 305-674-9450. It is a treat minus the typical shallow glitz and glam of most other establishments around the area.
The front main dining room is cozy, and could probably use an update but the operation is A+. Chef/owners Giancarla (Bolivian) and Pino Bodoni (Italian) have been producing contemporary Italian food with flair since 1993 (dinner, not lunch). They met shortly after Escopazzo’s opening when Giancarla perfected her cooking skills while working alongside Pino. Pino has handed over the kitchen to Giancarla and her Italian cooking is flavored with sprinklings of Caribbean and Latin influences. Giancarla also attributes her desire to maintain high standards of healthy cooking to their three children. You will often find Pino’s mom helping out (I hear she makes the divine tiramisu).
The ingredients are world class from imported cheeses, Italian wines and organic, local (as can be considering Florida has limited food production) produce, seafood, meats…
There is something for everyone. Meat-eaters will appreciate grass-fed beef. The pork is certified humane Berkshire pork. Those avoiding wheat can request gluten-free pasta. Raw enthusiasts will be amazed at the variety of options, including raw vegetarian lasagna, zucchini fettucine and many more choices.
We loved the baked eggplant and zucchini fettucine appetizers. The asparagus flan was rich and outrageous. For the main course, I enjoyed spaghetti with meatless meatballs in tomato sauce. I spied sun-dried tomatoes in the meatballs (a bit salty). My husband’s main course of perfectly cooked pork had many layers of imaginative, delicate flavors.
Whether or not you’re a “health-nut”, this is a dining experience sure to please everyone. So bring the family, and mangia! You won’t be disappointed.