The New Standard

Fiola has Landed, and Instantly Upped the Ante for Fine Dining in the Gables

December 2018

The fact that Fabio Trabocchi chose Coral Gables for the expansion of his collection of high-end restaurants in Washington, D.C., is a nod to the city’s reputation for fine dining. The relocation also owes its impetus to Facundo Bacardi, who lured Trabocchi to the Gables with a made-to order space in the spectacular new family office building at the edge of the city on Sunset.  

Regardless of how or why, the arrival of Trabocchi’s latest culinary creation, Fiola Miami, is the new standard for fine dining in Coral Gables. Overnight, it has become the must-see, must-do restaurant for the city’s elite.  

Starting with a grand corner entrance on San Ignacio Avenue, Fiola offers a superlative dining experience. The interior looks and feels like a power-player restaurant in D.C. or New York, as though it had been transplanted whole cloth. Every detail is perfect, from the high ceilings, Venetian Murano chandeliers and wall-hung paintings to the recessed lighting, leather upholstered seating and gold-plated table wear. 

Even the music is impeccable – perfect amplitude, transitioning from Cuban samba to Count Basie jazz. It imbues Fiola with a sense of sophistication from a lost supper club era where elegance ruled. 

Chef Fabio Trabocchi

The wait staff is also superbly trained. The core cadre – executive chef, pastry chef, service director, etc. – are veterans from Trabocchi’s other establishments who relocated to the Gables; one more reason why this new restaurant feels like it’s been here for years. Just the advice of veteran sommelier Joseph Gewarges is worth dining at Fiola; he was brought in to curate the restaurant’s selection of 1,000 choices (8,000 bottles in stock), and despite his disarming modesty possesses an enormous knowledge of vineyards and pairings. 

Main Dining Room

And then there is the food. To call this cuisine Italian understates its inventiveness. Trabocchi pushes his dishes beyond the traditional. They are really his creations, each one an exploration of taste, texture and appearance. Mushroom soup? Here it is Porcini Mushroom “Cappucino” Soup, and starts with a bowl occupied by Parmigiano foam, chanterelle mushrooms and sheep’s milk ricotta-stuffed pasta, over which the waiter pours a hot porcini mushroom broth from a porcelain coffee pot. A work of art filled with subtle shifts of flavor. 

Another ingenious dish is the oysters & caviar appetizer, which couples a dollop of Calvisius caviar with two oysters bathed in a prosecco zabaglione sauce, accompanied by pane carasau – a Sardinian flat bread – to anchor the sweet and salty tastes. It is a piquant, savory start to the meal. Or you could start with the Diver Sea Scallops Ceviche, a refreshing mélange of scallops, avocado, coconut and key lime. It is served on a mother of pearl, oversized oyster half shell, itself floating on a silver bowl of ice. Cool, clean, and delicately delicious. This being an Italian restaurant, Fiola’s naturally has a selection of pastas. Among these is Trabocchi’s signature Lobster Ravioli, the most popular dish in his D.C. locations. Obsessed with quality and freshness of ingredients, Trabocchi cooks the lobster over a low temperature rather than boiling it, to ensure the juiciness of the meat. The ravioli dough is wonton, not egg pasta, so that it can be steamed rather than boiled. The dish uses ginger and rosemary to enhance the flavor, but it’s really about the chunks of lobster in the pasta and on the plate. “This is a very personal dish for me,” says Trabocchi. “We asked, ‘How do we make this dish better? We don’t add cheese or eggs, we just showcase and respect the lobster.” 

Lobster Ravioli

Trabocchi himself was raised in the Marche region of Italy’s Adriatic coast, and from the age of 14 pursued a culinary career, “chasing the best chefs I knew and working for them for free.” He became an executive chef in Italy, then in Moscow, and then in the U.S., where he emerged as top chef for Bice restaurant – in the very building where he would launch his first Fiola in 2011. Since then he has grown his restaurant empire to five in D.C. (Fiola, Del Mar, Fiola Mare and two Sfoglina Pasta Houses), and now to six with the Coral Gables location. 

The cuisine at Fiola is not wedded to one region of Italy, says Trabocchi, but moves with the seasons. In fall and winter, it features northern Italian cuisine, and in spring and summer the foods come from the mid and southern regions. “The menu changes as the season moves, because the quality and freshness of the product is all important, as it should be with Italian food,” he says.  

I was chasing the best chefs I knew and working for them for free…

Having had to satisfy Washington DC’s particular trope toward high-end steakhouses, Fiola also offers an array of top meat choices. These cuts may not all originate in Italy, but Trabocchi puts his Italian spin on the preparation. We tried the Miyazaki Wagyu Beef which he amps up with an anchovy-based Pesto Cetarese and a rosemary hollandaise, accompanied by a poached, marinated Lady apple and pickled grapes. At $30 an ounce, this may be the best tasting beef you’ll ever eat.  


Like the Wagyu Beef, Trabocchi’s gustatory wonders come at a price, of course. While you can escape with a pasta dish in the $20s, appetizers are $20 to $30, and main dishes $30 to $50. But what food! A whole, salt-crusted branzino! Bison tartare! Bucatini with Red King Prawns! And the world’s best Tiramisu for desert, along with a selection of other creative finishes to your meal, including a creamy terrine of Peruvian chocolate with Sicilian pistachio mousse.  

Fiola brings a whole new level of dining sophistication to the Gables. The attention to detail is beyond meticulous, yet subtle, everything executed with seamless competence. From the grand entrance, to the glass wall of wine selections, to the open, copper-sheathed kitchen with its army of white-jacketed cooks, dining at Fiola is a choreographed experience, a perfect ballet of sight, sound, smell and taste. 

The grand corner entrance on San Ignacio Ave.

Fiola Miami  

1500 San Ignacio Ave.