Grove Bay Hospitality Group's Mi’talia Kitchen & Bar Debuts in South Miami
Mi’talia Kitchen & Bar opened Monday as South Miami’s newest neighborhood gathering place. The 158-seat restaurant offers a modern interpretation of Italian cuisine from James Beard semi-finalists and top chef veterans Janine Booth and Jeff McInnis.
Owned and operated by Grove Bay Hospitality Group restaurateurs Ignacio Garcia-Menocal, Francesco Balli and Eddie Acevedo, Mi’talia Kitchen & Bar joins a roster of highly esteemed Miami hot spots such as Glass & Vine and Stubborn Seed, along with Stiltsville Fish Bar and Root & Bone, also helmed by McInnis and Booth. Mi’talia represents a passion project years in the making for the husband and wife chef duo, following their extensive travels throughout Italy.
“All the way from the North down to the tiny islands of Sicily, Italy has always astounded Jeff and me with its culture, beauty and incredible volcanic soil growing some of the most delicious produce I have ever tasted,” says Chef Janine Booth. “From the country’s northern comfort food to its southern seaside cuisine, that beautiful sun-filled country is a huge source for culinary inspiration for Jeff and me, and we’re so excited to cook from our memories and bring our version of these flavors to Miami.”
The dinner menu offers a modern take on Italian classics, with a wide selection of small plates and salads, along with “pizzettas” cooked in a stone oven, pastas, and a robust selection of entrees. Standout dishes include cauliflower arancini with a green tomato mostarda; bucatini carbonara with crispy pancetta and English peas; not your nonna’s bolognese with ricotta gnudi; Tuscan brick chicken with hazelnut romesco served with an herb and pomegranate salad; truffle-crusted filet mignon with king trumpet mushrooms and marsala wine jus; and the uniquely-shaped sunflower pizza with sun gold tomatoes, yellow squash, mint and pistachio pesto, sunflower seeds and whipped ricotta. Mi’talia Kitchen & Bar opens today for dinner and will launch a daily lunch service and weekend brunch later this fall.
The beverage program includes a mix of bright cocktails, several featuring Mi’talia’s house-made limoncellos. Ms Cesario pairs the Elyx limoncello with lemongrass green tea and fresh lemon; the Lemon Queen pairs Beefeater limoncello with lavender honey and fresh lemon; and the Umbrellas in Amalfi pairs Bacardi limoncello with peach, prosecco and fresh lime. Other cocktail standouts include My Cousin Vinny with Dewars, amaretto, Cointreau and Meyer lemon syrup; and the Summer in Sorrento with Buffalo Trace, passion fruit, Earl Grey syrup, and mango foam. The bar also serves two local Miami brews on tap, a pale ale from Nightlife Brewery and a blonde ale from Wynwood Brewery. Two wines – one red and one white – are also on tap from Pali Wine Co. The extensive wine list features an assortment of varietals with a focus on Italian wines, as well as a special reserve selection highlighting top bottles.
“As a resident of South Miami I am particularly vested in this project, and know just how much a neighborhood Italian restaurant is needed,” says Francesco Balli, co-founder and CEO of Grove Bay Hospitality Group. “When my partners and I look at opening a new restaurant, our main priority is to curate a tailor made concept for the specific community we’re in,” adds Ignacio Garcia-Menocal, co-founder and CEO of Grove Bay Hospitality Group. “We are very happy to be working with Janine and Jeff again on Mi’talia and can’t wait to invite our community in.”
The indoor 98-seat dining room is bright and airy, melding Italian visuals with Miami’s tropical essence. Chef Janine Booth had a hand in the design process herself, working very closely with Hi-Gloss to concept the space. Striking white and black patterned tiles and a whimsical, frosted glass spherical chandelier running the length of the restaurant catch the eye, as does a backlit wall of wooden shelving in the front of the dining room showcasing bottles of wine and jars of yellow-hued preserved lemons for Limoncello. Lush pops of greenery are present throughout the space, from the miniature potted rosemary plants and floral arrangements in brass architectural vases to a long planter of succulents, ferns and tropical plants. The dining room offers a variety of seating options including a communal table and a 10-seat bar. Outside, the 60-seat patio offers an alfresco experience with lounge seating and full tables tucked under umbrellas and amongst palm trees wrapped in lighting.
Located at 5958 S. Dixie Highway, the restaurant is currently open for dinner service from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day, with extended hours until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Happy hour is offered daily from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., with other specials including half-priced wine bottles on Mondays and $10 pasta entrees on Tuesdays.