A stylish but cozy Italian spot has opened in the old Le Cafe Bistro space on Biscayne Boulevard. The food is light and flavorful with Miami touches in dishes like quinoa with black beans, mango and mozzarella and chunky tuna tartare with local avocado and blackberry coulis.
Ni.Do. Caffè and Mozzarella Bar gets its name from the owners’ son, Nicolo, and the chef’s son, Domenico. Nido means “nest” in Italian, and the space lives up to the name with comfy armchairs, a couch and candle-lit glass lanterns. Owners Matteo Paderni and his wife, Giorgia Calabrese, hired their friend Luca Taretto to run the kitchen. The three met at the South Beach tapas bar the couple ran. The couple and the chef both had babies and were tired of late nights. They moved to Belle Meade, and opened their own place two months ago.
Luca went to culinary school in his native from Torino, Italy, and worked around Europe before coming to Miami, where he cooked at Tiramesu. Matteo, who grew up in Florence, and Giorgia, who studied design in Milan, met at the restaurant in the Italian Pavilion at Disney World.
The mozzarella bar is in a glass case in back. Choose from bufala made with water buffalo milk, buttery burrata, cow’s milk fior di latte, fresh goat’s milk ricotta or smoked and salted ricotta. Then select an accompaniment: Sicilian caponata, grilled prosciutto with balsamic reduction or Belgian endive, diced beets, orange segments and walnuts.
Try the salad of faro grains on greens with ribbons of calamari, sun-dried tomatoes and eggplant or baby spinach with pancetta and pine nuts. Large, tube-shaped paccheri pasta was once used to smuggle banned garlic cloves from Italy into Austria. Here it comes with sausage and potatoes in spicy garlic sauce.
There’s also risotto with sea bass, tagliata (sliced steak) with arugula and shaved Parmesan and roasted half chicken with herbs. End with a slice of house-made crostata (fruit tart) or layered coconut and pineapple pana cotta.