La Terrazza, the Posh Rooftop

La Terrazza, Fiola’s Rooftop Echo, Opens to the Public

Whether it’s in a courtyard or sidewalk café, there is something ineffably pleasant about dining outside. The only more elevated experience (pun intended) is to move the feast to a rooftop. La Terrazza, the upstairs sister to Fiola, is about as sublime as such rooftop dining gets.

La Terrazza was first opened as a perk for Fiola memberships, an add-on privilege for the $5,000 entry fee that included guaranteed seating, meal discounts, private tasting events, and complimentary valet parking. The expansive rooftop offered a sushi bar and grand views over the canopy south of Sunset Drive and the glowing lights of nearby downtown South Miami.

Now, La Terrazza is being reinvented with a selection of Italian foods, curated by Master Chef Fabio Trabocchi and executed by Executive Chef Banner Mendez, who prepares the upstairs meals. It also has a new, retractable rooftop so that mildly inclement weather won’t prevent dining al fresco.

When Fiola opened in 2018, it reset the bar for fine dining in the Gables. That exquisite food, or at least a selection of it, is available upstairs at La Terrazza, and could easily be the center of the show. But it’s the overall atmosphere of La Terrazza, exemplary of the new “experiential hospitality,” that makes guests linger.

La Terrazza, the Posh Rooftop
Dining is an Experience That Invigorates All the Senses With Spectacular Panoramic Views of Coral Gables in an Eclectic Atmosphere.
La Terrazza, the Posh Rooftop
Our Favorite Cocktail, Passion 76, by Hunter Angelo.

The roof that hangs over the main dining area – 14 feet with columns painted purple by hidden spotlights – creates an airy, breezy Hall of Olympus feeling. Adjacent is a Parisian-style pocket park with a half-dozen parterre trees and red fabric umbrellas. The one interior wall is dominated by a large screen with a roaring video fireplace, while another side of the main room is bracketed by a long bar. The lighting throughout is just right, with individual table lamps and banked floor lighting defining the short walls along the open roof.

There is also live music, which adds a lilting background that does not overpower. On the night we ate there, an electric guitarist somewhere on the San- tana-meets-Samba jazz spectrum kept the mood upbeat and the conversation unimpeded.

The quality of the food, as expected, was impeccable. We did not love every dish – we thought the Wagyu beef “sushi” went too far against the grain of what sushi is all about – but what we did love was breathtaking. Of the appetizers, the yellowfin tuna crudo was deftly seared at the edge and soft inside, a holdover from the days when sushi ruled this rooftop. The tiger prawn cocktail came with twin sauces that elevated it past any shrimp cocktail we’ve ever tried; one was a tomato compote, the other aioli-based, both infused with Calabrian chile peppers for an edgy, piquant flavor.

The showstoppers here are the fish and meat entrees. There are only two fish choices, the Ora King Salmon ($42) and the Canary Island Branzino ($54). Fiola’s owner, Tom Angelo, will tell you that fish is all about being super fresh. “We buy only high quality, and there is such a difference between okay salmon and great salmon,” he says. While that may be true, what Chef Mendez does makes a big difference, too. The fish is painted with an Adriatic blend of herbs in oil, like herb butter but less fatty, which lets the skin crisp to a sweet wafer that compliments the moist morsels of fish that flake apart at the touch of a fork.

Yellowfin Tuna Crudo (Heirloom Tomatoes, Sicilian Capers, Castelvetrano Olives, Tonnato Sauce).
La Terrazza Food
Ora King Salmon
Pappardelle Bolognese (Ragu bolognese, foraged mushrooms, parmigiano reggiano).
La Terrazza chocolate cake
Fiola’s Grand Chocolate Cake (Chocolate Cake, Piemontese Gianduja Ganache Hazelnut Streusel).

The meat also echoes the mantra of quality sourcing. The one-pound Margaret River New York Strip ($135) is an Australian Wagyu of exceptional flavor, almost too rich and easily shared by a party of four. The same goes for the 90-day milk-fed veal ($145), with a sauce of reduced sambuca and drippings, topped with foie gras and shaved truffle – too rich and juicy for one person to handle. We had to balance it with the Pappardelle Bolognese ($38), a calmer masterwork of fresh pasta embedded with beef ragu and wild mushrooms. The sides, salads, and desserts (including the hazelnut chocolate cake) were equally impressive.

La Terrazza feels like a secret uncovered. The entrance is halfway into the cobblestone paseo that cuts through the 1515 Sunset Drive building, connect- ing that main street with quiet San Ignacio behind the imposing classical edifice the Bacardi family built to house its offices. It was Tom Angelo who convinced Facundo Bacardi to partner with him and bring Washington, D.C.-based Fiola to the Gables. The cherry on top: Angelo’s son Hunter, who worked for Bacardi, now runs the Fiola cocktail program. Our favorite: the Passion 76, a creative take on the classic French 76 cocktail, combining Madagascar vanilla bean-infused Grey Goose vodka, passionfruit, and sparkling wine. It’s a refreshing twist for this unique rooftop experience. 

La Terrazza

1515 Sunset/1500 San Ignacio Ave.
305.912.2639 or
For Membership:

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