The who: Osteria del Teatro, the iconic South Beach Italian restaurant which first opened in 1987, has relocated to the refurbished Marlin Hotel, in place of the defunct Bazi. The menu will remain consistent under the culinary direction of chef Martin Perez.
The space: The lobby of the storied Marlin Hotel is now a 70-seat dining room outfitted with exposed brick, Edison bulbs and modern finishes. Guests can choose to dine alfresco on the shaded porch, take a seat in the main dining room or relax in the 20-seat lounge with a view of classic black-and-white films paying homage to Osteria del Teatro’s show business roots. (The restaurant was named for its proximity to the Cameo Theater.) Longtime guests will recognize details from the original location including the artwork and wine barrels that make way for an intimate 21-seat second floor private dining room with views of the restaurant below.
The dishes: Regional Italian. Expect belly-filling fare like hearty pastas, seafood and steaks. Prices are as posh as the service with starters $14-$22, and mains in the $30’s.
A basket of focaccia squares, wheat bread, and long, thin slices of baguette are brought to start. Then it’s on to the famous lobster salad, a melange of seafood, avocado and mango. Pastas are homemade and include pappardelle with porcini mushrooms, bolstered by olive oil and truffle oil. Veal ravioli is plated with crisp pancetta, fried sage leaves, and browned butter. Osso buco comes buried under bright-red tomato sauce with a perky rosemary sprig sticking upward. Beneath is a bed of risotto Milanese whose grains were tinted a pale shade of saffron.
Desserts are presented tableside and include homemade tiramisu, chocolate cake, and creme brulee.
Bottom line: The South Beach stalwart relocated to a bigger and more welcoming space.