The Genius of Giorgio at Eating House

It has been more than a decade since Giorgio Rapicavoli became the darling of the Miami foodie scene, opening his edgy Eating House on the northern edge of Coral Gables. Fresh from winning The Food Network’s “Chopped” competition, his bohemian hangout made waves with madly inventive dishes (including his infamous Cap’n Crunch pancakes) and earned him three semifinal James Beard finishes. 

Chef Giorgio then hung that apron up for a sophisticated take on Italian food, which he created at Luca Ostoria, opening on Giralda in early 2021 to rave reviews. It’s still one of the toughest places to get a table at in the Gables. 

Despite the success of Luca — or maybe because of it — part of Rapicavoli wanted to get back to his wilder culinary side. So, Eating House was born again a few hundred feet away on Giralda, close enough for the chef to keep his eye on both spots. Now in its second year, Eating House “2.0” is still a stage for creative cuisine, but with a more adult, cosmopolitan flair, including a full bar. “You have to grow up eventually, right?” says Rapicavoli. “You can’t open up a little bistro after opening up a place like Luca.” 

The inside space (there is plenty of outdoor seating as well) was designed by Miami’s Locus Architecture, with a modern elegance from somewhere on the Milan/Tokyo border. The space has dramatic 20-foot ceilings, the remaining shell of a former U.S. Post Office. The main room is accented by black metal poles and tall glass doors, with yellow banquets and a long back-lit bar. 

For all its warm glow, there is a sparseness to Eating House, with black tables and dark metal and leather chairs that say the focus here is on the food. As well it should be. The wonderful playfulness that earned the first Eating House its cultish following is back, albeit more refined. 

Looking for a new taste? Try the butternut squash ravioli. “We do pasta at Eating House a little different. We do a traditional ravioli with a ricotta butternut squash filling, very traditional Italian. But the sauce is vadouvan curry,” says Rapicavoli with impish enthusiasm. Add a sprinkle of crushed peanuts and a squeeze of lime for a Thai twist to the Indian/Italian mix and you have a meeting of three worlds. “But it works,” he says. “It’s one of my favorite dishes on the menu. It’s a very, very cool dish.” 

Eating House
Eating House’s butternut squash ravioli

Rapicavoli has an updated menu this month, with about half the dishes new and half left onboard by popular demand. Along with the ravioli, he’s also keeping his beloved pasta carbonara, where the server mixes an egg yolk tableside into a creamy mix of breadcrumbs, bacon, and black truffles. 

New to the entrees are impeccably salted lamb chops and Rapicavoli’s take on arroz con pollo, where, instead of “bland rice and overcooked chicken, you have the opposite,” he says. The chicken is dry-rubbed, dipped in buttermilk, Southern fried, then amped up by a finishing of pickled red onion and homemade adobo (a Cuban powder of onion, garlic, and citric acid). And instead of yellow rice, the juicy chicken rests on a bed of yellow rice risotto.

Certain themes emerge from a dinner at Eating House, one of which is Rapicavoli’s exploration of texture. Many of his dishes combine creamy with crunchy, often augmented by a refreshing dash of citrus. This is exemplified by two holdovers on the menu, his butter-soft Yellowfin Tuna Tartar with egg yolk, chimichurri, and a squeeze of lemon topped by crispy potato sticks, and his American Caviar, set in a fluffy bed of crème fraiche flanked by a squadron of light but crunchy salt and vinegar tater tots. 

Left: pasta carbonara, where the server mixes an egg yolk tableside into a creamy mix of breadcrumbs, bacon, and black truffles. Top right: Arroz con pollo. Bottom right: Grilled lamb chops & brussels sprouts.

On the new menu is another lovely contrast, his take on classic Peruvian antichuchos, where instead of thinly sliced, charcoal-grilled beef hearts, the dish substitutes grilled baby carrots previously marinated in wine vinegar, cumin, pepper, garlic, parsley, cilantro, and dried chilies, served on a bed of Peruvian corn, burnt jalapeño peppers, crema, and lime. “It’s very nice, a little spicy, and honestly better, in my opinion,” he says.

In a city replete with chef-driven restaurants, Rapicavoli’s is perhaps the most fearless, pushing his cuisine into ever new territories both delicious and fascinating. This is why you dine out.

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Eating House
128 Giralda Plaza