Lemoni Café owners Maria Pelati, an Argentine who grew up on Nonnas Italian cooking, and Assia Tahrouch, a French-born Moroccan who learned to cook from her mother using produce from the family garden in Toulouse, met while working at a pizza place in Miami Beach, and eight months ago opened Lemoni, a name they chose because it sounds fresh.
The veg-friendly menu includes panini on pressed ciabatta, sandwiches on white or whole wheat baguettes and wraps rolled up in whole wheat tortillas. The most popular panini is the Lemoni Supreme, with tender marinated chicken breast, melted brie, pesto and cherry tomatoes. The Porto Bellsimo bring a grilled portobello mushroom, fresh mozzarella, mayo, pesto and caramelized onions.
The overstuffed sandwiches include Italian cold colds, turkey with honey mustard, chicken with roasted peppers, tuna with dill mayo and prosciutto and fresh mozzarella. One of the best wraps is stuffed with teriyaki-marinated tofu, baby spinach, sprouts and cucumber. The hot veggie oozes melted mozzarella with grilled eggplant and fresh basil.
Salads range from antipasti with salami and cold cuts, provolone, artichokes and green olives on a bed of greens to garden greens topped with avocado. Two people can share the Greek plate loaded with hummus, rice stuffed grape leaves, Kalamata olives and chunks of feta with toasted pita triangles. Soups, which change daily, include tomato basil, green pea, chicken and rice with spinach, French onion and creamy garlic-potato.
Most of the desserts are brought in from an Italian bakery, but the best is house-made — Maria’s tiramisu from her grandmothers recipe. Make it a cross-cultural ending by adding a glass of Moroccan mint tea.
Lemoni Café, 4600 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-571-5080; 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Mon-Sat. Paninis, sandwiches and wraps $5.95-$7.95, salads $6-$7.50, soup $3.50
FYI: Free WiFi. Early-evening dinners consist of boards of antipasti or cheese and pastas such as ravioli, spaghetti and stuffed shells.
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