When you think of neighborhoods in Miami with good food, Dadeland isn’t usually at the top of the list. It has some amazing spots — Ghee Indian Kitchen and Barley (R.I.P. for now) — but we’re more likely to head to Wynwood or Miami Beach for a worthwhile meal.
Our recent visit to Erba is making us think twice, though. This new Italian gem from Chefs Niven Patel and Tim Piazza is a winner — one that’s already doing a fantastic job at driving diners to Kendall.
If you’ve been to Ghee Indian Kitchen (another concept by Chef Patel), you know you’re in for a good time. We’ve only ever had great experiences at both Ghee locations, so our expectations were through the roof for Erba. Our experience didn’t just surpass our expectations — it trampled them.
In other words, this was easily one of the best meals we’ve had all year (and we’ve had plenty); even the fucking focaccia is mind-blowingly good. Skip all meals for the day, and bring an appetite so you can order as much as possible.
Items like the Lil’ Gem (buttermilk, trout roe, breadcrumbs) and Buffalo Mozzarella seem simple enough but there’s a ton of depth to both. You’ve likely had some form of either dish — and the other appetizers, too — but everything is done to a level of quality that’s … next level. It’s a weird sensation to describe, but when you take a bite, you can tell the people behind the dish truly care about what they’re putting on the plate. And they do: Much of the produce is sourced from Chef Patel’s local ranch.
It wouldn’t be an Italian restaurant without an assortment of pasta, and Erba doesn’t disappointment. Favorites like Lasagna, Fettuccine and Rigatoni all make an appearance on the menu alongside less common selections like a Corzetti (our new favorite pasta type) with Sicilian pistachio, basil, lemon zest and ricotta salata. There are also non-pasta options but we were too full of carbs to try them. Finish off with a Tiramisu, and you’ll have to be rolled out of the restaurant; one of us almost fell asleep at the table (no joke).
Erba is a serious contender for Favorite Meal of 2019. And it’s not even running at 100% yet: The current location is just a pop-up. Its permanent location will be done … eventually. If it’s already this good, though, we can’t imagine how good the full experience will be once it officially opens. That’s a day we’re very much looking forward to.