Viva Argentina

At Graziano’s, There is Something Special About the Beef

Anyone who has traveled to Argentina knows the country is fanatical when it comes to quality meat, especially beef. Juicy, tender, flavorful – they will tell you it’s the best in the world. Why? Partly it’s because their cattle are grass-fed on the Pampas, partly it’s the unique beef cuts, and partly it’s because of the cooking techniques.

All of that is apparent at Graziano’s restaurant on the corner of Giralda and Le Jeune. Part of a family-run group that now includes restaurants and marketplaces in Miami, Doral, Weston, Aventura, and the Gables (there is a Graziano’s Market on Galiano Street), the location on Giralda is a showcase. The entrance is framed by a glassed-in fire pit, where the meats are roasted Asado-style by wood fire. Inside, the restaurant wraps around an open kitchen, where a second kind of meat cooking – on a grill – takes place. The walls, meanwhile, display floor-to-ceiling racks of wine bottles, most of them from Argentina.

A Young Mario Graziano Dancing in Argentina

The Gables location is managed by Nicholas Graziano, the grandson of Mario Graziano, the man who started the business in Argentina in 1962. When Mario was 18, he opened the first of what would become 11 butcher shops; by the time he was 45, he decided to move to Miami with his wife Maria and their three children, to reinvent himself in the New World.

“We started Graziano’s in 1986, a small butcher shop on Coral Way, then moved to Bird Road,” says Nicholas. “My dad [Mario’s son Leo] would cook chorizo outside. We set up little picnic tables and little by little we garnered attention. After that, we opened the first restaurant.”The Gables location opened in 2005, and expanded several years later, doubling its size.

Today, it is one of the busiest restaurants in the Gables, with a loyal clientele that comes primarily for one of two things: meats cooked asado style – which means on a vertical spit, roasted by an open flame – or a la parrilla, which means on a grill with charcoal. In either case, the beef comes from the Logros family ranch in Córdoba, Argentina, where it is pasture-fed on grass.

Graziano’s family - Graziano’s Restaurant - Viva Argentina
The Grazianos: Carolina, Mary, Mario, Leo, and Cecilia

The wood used to roast the meat is quebracho, also imported from Argentina. “It’s for the flavor,” says Nicholas. “It’s really a bit denser than hickory, heavy with smokey properties.” And with beef like that, little is needed for seasoning, except for “good old Argentine salt,” he says.

The night we went, we ordered two meats cooked asado-style, and two cooked a la parrilla. From the quebracho wood, we tried short ribs (cooked for three hours, $59) and pollo de granja al limon (we had to try at least one non-beef dish; $39 for a whole bird, $29 for half ). The short ribs were enormous, with a pleasantly chewy texture and huge flavor. The limon chicken, marinated for 72 hours, was just that – very lemony – and juicy as well. Both were our favorites of the night.

Graziano’s Restaurant - Viva Argentina
Meats Cooking Asado-Style – on a Vertical Spit Over Open Flames
Graziano’s Restaurant - Viva Argentina
Gaucho Steak, a 22-ounce Bone-In Ribeye

From the grill, we ordered bife gaucho and skirt steak. The gaucho steak (named after the Argentine cowboys of the Pampas) was the closest thing to a traditional steak we tasted – a 22-ounce bone-in ribeye ($59). Again, it was tender and flavorful, and surprisingly juicy for a lean meat (cows in the field tend to be less fatty). The skirt steak (18-ounce, hand carved, $49) was as good as that cut gets. And there are some less expensive cuts, such as the flap steak and chorizo (both $35).

The menu at Graziano’s is extensive, and by no means limited to meat. Their appetizers include a robust Burrata salad with heirloom tomatoes, Japanese eggplant, and artichokes ($18); add aged prosciutto di parma ($5) and your table guests will be fighting over it. We also tried a hearty asparagus soup ($12) which could cure any cold. They have grilled appetizers as well, with things like blood sausage, beef sweetbreads, and octopus, and the meat dishes come with sides of grilled vegetables, mashed potatoes, polenta, etc. Pasta also abounds on the menu.

Graziano’s Restaurant - Viva Argentina
Burrata Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, Japanese Eggplant, and Artichokes.
Graziano’s Restaurant
A Superb Selection of Wines from Argentina

Graziano’s is a well-run family business. Mario’s son Leo is now the CEO, and his siblings and Mario’s grandkids operate all aspects of the business. The food is hearty and authentic. The wine selection is superb (our 2019 bottle of Rutini Malbec was divine at $69) and the desserts are exquisite (we recommend the panna cote with dulce de leche sauce). But here, the meats take center stage. 


394 Giralda Ave.