The goods: Scarpetta partners John Meadow and Curt Huegel have brought Dolce Italian to the recently renovated Gale South Beach hotel.
Ambience: The cushy dining room has communal marble tables, gray leather lounges, black and white family portraits and a mozzarella bar.
The grub: Americanized Italian classics from Italian-born chef Paolo Dorigato (Atlantic City’s Azure at Revel Resorts). Prices are reasonable given the swanky setting: Starters $9-$17, pizzas $13-$18 and mains $17-$30.
Focaccia and imported olive oil lead the way to starters like a house plate of artisanal cured meats; house-made burrata with Bibb lettuce, cherry tomatoes, crispy shallots and bacon; charred octopus with pureed chickpeas and ginger pistachio farro, and three golf ball-sized Dolce meatballs on a bed of creamy polenta.
House-made pastas include spaghetti al pomodoro and barolo-soaked short rib ravioli. Neapolitan thin-crust pizzas range from the Tartufata with formaggio bianco, speck, spicy salami and truffle oil to the Contadina with artichokes, mushrooms, spinach and peppers. Desserts include classic tiramisu, citrusy limoncello tartufo (sorbet) and berry panna cotta.
Verdict: A South Beach trattoria that will induce the happiest of carb comas.