Miami’s most anticipated restaurant, Carbone, just opened its doors at the previous spot where Upland Restaurant was located, at 49 Collins Avenue. I was disappointed to hear that Upland was closing as it was a very popular and delicious restaurant, also originally out of New York. Perhaps the pandemic killed them. If anything would make me feel better, it was hearing that the wildly famous and beloved Carbone restaurant was opening in its place. It is still offering all of Carbone’s signature dishes, along with a few new “Miami” additions.
Carbone was created by Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zaluznick, the team behind Major Food Group, which operates 26 restaurants worldwide. They will also be debuting three other concept restaurants soon to come to Miami, with two in Brad Kilgore’s previous spot in the Design District, and a steak restaurant in Brickell. They will probably all be highly successful and coveted reservations.
Carbone is known for serving “American Italian” food, generous portions, a traditional setting, and playing a 50’s and 60’s soundtrack. The waitstaff here knows how to serve; even their uniforms are formal, with the captains dressed in Zac Posen tuxedos. They also have a who’s who of patrons who aren’t deterred by the hefty price tags. All that is still the same. What floored me was the transformation of the last restaurant which was very modern, and sleek. This Carbone has spared no expense on decor. Rather heavy for Florida weather, the room is quite opulent, with dozens of Venetian crystal chandeliers, starchy white table cloths, mirrored pillars, lampshades descending on chains, brocade drapery, Murano sconces, jewel-tone colours, and rich velvets and leathers. This location is definitely retro glam, that did not disappoint.
Valet parking will set you back $20, and just hope that you get a better-located table than mine was, located by the kitchen. But I was just lucky to get a reservation. And if they think they were punishing me, they weren’t, because I had a perfect view of Chef Mario Carbone cooking and finely orchestrating his large kitchen and staff to be knocking it out of the park just a few days after opening. In the front of house, everything also ran efficiently due in part to the assistant general manager, Fernando Dallorso.
There are still the notable highlights like the spicy rigatoni in a creamy, tomato vodka sauce. The out-of-this-world meatballs, and the HUGE veal Parmesan that can feed 2-3 people. The shrimp cocktail was enormous and masterfully cooked with a very interesting sauce. Did I mention their breadbasket with their unreal tomato focaccia?
The wine list has many notable labels, and although the list is predominantly Italian, there are also fine selections from France and California. We tried drinks from the cocktail menu which were perfectly prepared.
Dessert is presented on a large platter, and many of the signature sweets are on display, like their famous carrot cake, tiramisu, and lemon cheesecake. There is also a lime chiffon cake and a chocolate/hazelnut stunner.
Carbone continues to deserve its well-earned reputation. If you are lucky enough to score a reservation on Resy, make sure to come hungry to enjoy the robust and vibrant food.