Barolo Ristorante, a fairly recent reincarnation of a dysfunctional 2-year-old spot by the same name, has been trying to reinvent itself one gnocchi at a time. With its sexy dining room, earnest waiters and handmade everything, it certainly gets an A for effort. Just half a block south of Fifth on a quiet strip of Ocean Drive, eager valets are happy to park your car for free. Is this really South Beach? Well, the prices -- $27 for a shrimp risotto, $30 for pounded veal -- won't let you forget where you are.
The food by Lindsay Spalding, a young chef who worked under television terror Gordon Ramsay for nine years, is some of the best-looking in town. From the bountiful bread basket to the Caprese salad, the dishes look ready for the cover of Food & Wine. The quality of ingredients is above par, too, and the small-scale menu is well-composed, with pastas and rice dishes in two sizes to please both American and European patrons. But taste is another matter.
Ambiance: Iridescent tiles, a wall of wines, wood accents and pretty pink orchids on each table lend an elegant touch to the intimate dining room.
What Didn’t Work