New Restaurants: Sizzling Pizza, Tasty Tapas, and Fusion Flair

Piccola

We’ve long wondered when Coral Gables would get its first Mister O1 Extraordinary Pizza, but it seems another restaurant specializing in star-shaped pizzas has taken matters into its own hands. Piccola, which replaced Coppola’s on Ponce de Leon, already has two locations in Doral, but is now our new Gables go-to. Though they have other dishes, like pastas, paninis, salads, and chicken parm, the pizza menu is a full page in and of itself, and this is where Piccola truly shines.

We tried three pizzas from different sections of the menu, including our favorite, the Piccante Pixette. The “pixettes” are star- or X-shaped pizzas that include ricotta-filled crusts. Of the four options available, the Piccante is Piccola’s take on a traditional Diavola pizza, with spicy salami strips, fresh mozzarella cheese, and hand-crushed tomatoes. Every bite was an explosion of cheese and spice, and when we came down to the crust, we mopped it up with Piccola’s homemade spicy olive oil dressing for an added spicy bonus.

The pizzeria also has a robust “Pizze Bianche” section with eight options for those who prefer their pizzas sans tomato sauce. The 4 Formaggi was our selection, which combines mozzarella, parmigiano, gorgonzola, and pecorino cheese on a 12-inch thin crust pizza. From the regular “Pizze Rosse” menu, we tried the Cotto E Funghi pizza for something a little different. A perfectly well-done pizza with ham and mushrooms — but we couldn’t help wishing it came in X form. — Kylie Wang

Piccola
2305 Ponce de Leon
786.615.5980
piccolapizzeria.us
Open for lunch and dinner daily

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Tabanco

The newest edition to Coral Gables’ tapas scene has arrived! Tabanco, which is nestled comfortably into the storefront that used to host the vegan haven MyRoots Juice Bar on Alhambra Circle, has all of the usual suspects: croquetas, patatas bravas, Jamón Iberico, etc. Most of the plates are under $17, but the Iberico slices, which come from pigs exclusively fed on acorns, run from $22 to $45 and include chorizo, lomo, salchicon, and jamón imported from Spain. Most of the restaurant’s ingredients come from Spain, in fact, with the exception of some locally sourced items like the eggs and the filet mignon.

Of course, it’s pork that’s the star of the show here, even outside the myriad Iberico options. By far our favorite dish of the night was the Puntas De Solomillo entrée, an Iberian pork tenderloin that comes swimming in a Cabrales blue cheese sauce. With hand-cut potatoes on the side, a perfect bite is a combination of each of the three elements. The Cabrales cheese sauce follows an artisan tradition by rural dairy farmers in Asturias, Spain and was packed with flavor. We’d probably eat anything that came with it, but the tender pork loin was a huge bonus, as were the potatoes, which effectively soaked up the sauce for each perfect bite. We paired it with a Spanish red wine, of course, which was aerated and decanted for us at the table.

Interestingly enough, Tabanco’s owners are also the owners of Prison Pals Brewing, the South Florida-based brewery that’s a staple of Doral and Oakland Park. You’ll probably want to stick to wine at Tabanco though, which is the ownership’s first foray into Coral Gables. — Kylie Wang

Tabanco
327 Alhambra Cir.
786.449.5203
Open weekdays from 9 am to 9 pm; Sat. 11 am to 11 pm; Sun 11 am to 4 pm; Closed Mon.

The Collab

When we first heard Chef Niven Patel was leaving his two concepts at the THesis Hotel, Orno and Mamey, we were despondent. But, we’re happy to report that Orno’s replacement, Chef Nicolas Mazier’s The Collab, is a gastronomic success equal to that of Chef Patel’s. The restaurant officially opens on April 4, but is already
one of our favorites, with a menu divided by “sea” (seafood), “land” (meat), and “earth” (veggies).

We tried a bit of everything, beginning with a beef tartare that supplants every single other tartare we’ve ever tried. Served on bite-sized pieces of crispy bao buns, the beef is combined with black garlic aioli, pickled mustard seeds, chives, and an onion jam that elevates the dish to astronomic levels. Simply divine. We also sampled the chicken and sausage pizza from the “land” menu, which was delightfully herby and came with the perfect crust — light and airy but still crispy. Indeed, crispy seems to be the name of the game at Collab.

From the “sea” portion of the menu, we ordered the tuna crispy rice, which was delicately flavored and served on a bed of hash brown-esque rice. Then, we enjoyed the crispy cauliflower from the “earth” menu, which was easily the best shareable dish of the night. As you chew, the gochujang glaze and the spices emulsify underneath your tongue for a slightly spicy kick. Absolutely delicious.

We also tried the Wagyu picanha steak, which was surprisingly lightly flavored for a cut that comes drizzled with jalapeño corn purée and chimichurri sauce. Next time, we’ll probably just order a few dishes of the tartare instead. — Kylie Wang

The Collab
1350 S Dixie Hwy.
305.667.6766
thecollabmiami.com
Open 5:30 to 10 pm daily

Osumi

Over the past few years, a number of eateries have come and gone in the locale next to Luca Osteria. The latest restaurant to test its luck is Osumi — which means “to reside or dwell” in Japanese — offering elevated Japanese-American fusion cuisine with a Latin flair. This cocktail and sushi bar has pulled out all the stops to cater to Gableites, from its sophisticated low-light ambiance to its signature drinks designed by the mixology masters from Cafe La Trova.

Starting with some light bites, we dug into the shishito peppers ($12) cooked with Andean corn, sesame ponzu, and bonito flakes. The slight kick of the peppers balanced well with the delicateness of our other appetizer, the Sakana & Cassava ($21): three cassava (aka yuca) chips topped with tuna tartare, tofu, and avocado cream.

Moving onto the crudos, we indulged in the Sachi of the Sea ($26), composed of fresh shrimp and scallops and served with charred avocado, coconut milk, and a delicious citrus passion fruit sauce. The star of the night, however, was the Tuna Sumibiyaki ($22), made up of thin slices of tuna laid in a creamy sesame sauce and topped with Asian pear and more cassava chips.

To fully satisfy our polished palates, we next ordered the five-piece Wagyu dumplings ($25) and the Surf & Turf Maki ($34), the latter of which combined shrimp tempura, lobster, and avocado in a roll topped with Wagyu and Japanese teriyaki.

As for drinks, we recommend the refreshing Lychee Highball ($17) and Barabato, Osumi’s take on the classic paloma with Patron reposado and Ilegal mezcal ($27). With delectable bites and sublime cocktails, we predict Osumi is here to stay! — Natalia Clement

Osumi
110 Giralda Ave.
786.452.9902
osumisushibar.com
Open 12 to 11 pm daily; Until midnight on Fri. & Sat.