Emilio’s Trattoria, Bal Harbour, FL


Emilio’s Trattoria is the newest restaurant from the folks that opened Cafe Ragazzi in Surfside many years ago. The interior is clean, modern and beautiful. Of course, I have the same pendant lights in my house, so it is definitely my taste. The thing I loved most about Cafe Ragazzi were the pastas. Homemade noodles, amazing sauces and porcini mushrooms with loads of butter. It was enough butter to kill you, but at least you would die happy.

Emilio’s menu is huge. Appetizers including provoleta (the owners are Italian by way of Argentina), stuffed artichoke, eggplant and

Provoleta. Yum.

salads. The list of pastas is overwhelming. One sounds better than the next. They also have a laundry list of other proteins including the obvious veal marsala and less obvious Chilean sea bass. It is really hard to find anything to criticize, as it is all amazing.

We went to celebrate my uncle’s 60th birthday. He was pissed off that he is getting older, and is somewhat in denial about the whole thing, even while asking everyone around him for reading glasses. His daughter began reciting the menu to him. The rest of us enjoyed some bruschetta. We were seated in

Birthday boy in borrowed reading glasses

the back room, behind the bar, so we could linger, photograph and laugh mercilessly at my uncle without bothering the other diners in the packed – even on a random Tuesday night – restaurant.

I could not let this auspicious occasion pass us by with the unknown quantities like a wine list, so we brought two bottles with us: 2004 Kosta Browne Kanzler Vineyard Pinot Noir and the 1999 Cerbaiona (Molinari) Brunello di Montalcino that we bought in Montalcino in

Wines suitable for a big birthday

2004. Both were outstanding.

But on to the food… I have not had provoleta since we were in Argentina in 2008. That is a long time to suffer. This was a wonderful version of the grilled cheese with peppery arugala and cherry tomatoes. My parents shared a salad with avocados, which I thought showed a lot of restraint given the other things on the appetizer list (like the provoleta).

Papardelle with porcini mushrooms. Mmmmmmmm.....

My parents shared the sea bass, and everyone else had pastas. How could we not? These are some of the best pastas around. Understandably, I could not decide which one to choose, so I ordered the Italian flag of pastas: a trio of rigatoni quattro fromaggi, bowties with pesto (I love their pesto, mostly because it tastes like a less garlicky version of mine) and penne with pomodoro sauce. If not the most interesting choice on the menu, it was delicious and I loved every tasty bite. FKGuy ordered (not surprisingly) the papardelle with porcini mushrooms, and loads of butter. I had a helping hand in eating that one, too.

The birthday boy ordered gnocchi quattro fromaggi, which were delicious. the little dumplings were pillowy and light. While not the best gnocchi on earth, these were a good version and I would not


hesitate to order them again. My aunt had the agnolotti with spinach and ricotta in a creamy pink sauce. Since I had to sample everyone’s food, I can tell you this: you cannot go wrong with any of the pastas here. they are all superb. The fish was delicious as well.

The I-can't-decide pasta

I left Emilio’s completely stuffed, but delighted by the vast array of carbs included in my dinner. The next day? Fish and salad.

Emilio’s is located at 1088 Kane Concourse in Bal Harbour. Go. It is wonderful.



Happy birthday, indeed!