Discover an Italian neighborhood gem in Miami Shores.
"Revales” may not mean anything in Italian, but it clearly speaks to Miami Shores diners hankering for well-priced comfort fare with a taste of the Mediterranean. “Revales,” it turns out, combines the family names of the two couples who own the spot and run it as if it were their home.
Formerly Frankie's Big City Grill, the small brick building now looks like a cross between a classic diner and a homey living room. Set with white cotton cloths, the 16 tables forego centerpieces for sturdy sets of Italian olive oil and good balsamic vinegar. There's much more to be had here than Italian fare. Each morning, as early as 7, the kitchen begins turning out crepes, eggs, pancakes, oatmeal, grits and more. Then it's on to pizzas, quesadillas, burgers, salads, wraps, conch fritters and even Chinese grilled salmon. If you're hungry for something that's not on the vast menu, just ask; chances are Chef Reyes will knock it out for you. A waiter with a smile as big as one of the triangles of warm focaccia that starts each dinner is quick to take orders, refill empty water glasses and check on orders.
At dinner, it's Italian all the way.
- Starters: Tiny, Mediterranean black mussels in a luscious white wine sauce generously spiked with lemon and fresh chopped parsley; Lightly fried calamari with batons of snappy zucchini and tangy marinara dipping sauce.
- Salads: A crunchy Greek with hot peppers and a good crumbling of feta is a delicious option.
- Pastas: Reyes does impressive things with the most basic ingredients. Pastas include an abundance of angel hair with meaty shrimp in a subtle, pink-tinged tomato sauce. A rich Alfredo is smoothly creamy, and a more grown-up spaghetti ai fiume with smoky bacon bits, slivers of garlic and fresh tomato impressed our whole crowd.
- Entrees: Pan-seared veal scaloppini lightly anointed with a lemony sauce; Chicken scarpariello was satisfying.
What Didn’t Work
- The only true mistakes we encountered were risottos, including a gloppy, overworked version served with a huge plank of salmon.
- The by-the-glass wine selection ... Beringer, Woodbridge, Inglenook, Yellow Tail and Sutter Home, at best ... served warm as a summer rain and stored without pumping, which creates a sour bite.
Desserts such as crßme brule and Nutella crepes are beautifully plated and quick to disappear. A light and fluffy tiramisu with a swirl of chocolate nearly had our party licking the plates, while the chocolate Vesuvias cake was lusciously bittersweet.
Revales Ristorante: 8601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami Shores; 305-758-1010; 7 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Prices: Antipasti $5-$10, pastas, mains $16-$24, desserts $4-$6.50.
FYI: Reservations accepted, beer and wine only; corkage $8; free parking lot, DS, MC, VS.
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