Soya e Pomodoro: Italian for soy and tomato. I am not sure if I am necessarily a fan of the combination but am certainly a fanatic of the restaurant in Downtown Miami. While apartment hunting, I was introduced to the location to enjoy just a cup of coffee. I may not have found a place to live, but found something much better. What a gem! Thus I planned to return for dinner, just days later.
I must discuss the décor first and foremost. The restaurant consists of two small rooms, one adjacent to the kitchen with a more casual feel. There are also two miniscule tables on the sidewalk where you may enjoy coffee or something light. I fell in love. It brought memories of Caribbean backyards, particularly due to the open layout and the nonmatching chairs throughout the restaurant. I felt at home. The next room is a cross between a church, an old library, and a corridor between two buildings in Italy. Football (soccer) jerseys and lingerie are left hanging to dry on a line above us. How charming! The lighting, or lack thereof, adds to the romance and would be ideal for a date. Due to the hidden location and original style, you would score major points! I felt as if I had discovered a secret venue where only the cool foodies hang out. Artistic pictures of the staff adorn the walls, which I found ironic once I recognized the characters. They are accompanied by atypical cartoon-like paintings, as well as the restaurant’ s newspaper honors and Zagat ratings. After all, good food is what you came for, right?
We began with an antipasto plate, which was a special for the night: arugula and goat cheese with dried meats. Although quite simple it was also quite enjoyable. Soya e Pomodoro’s charm is its simplicity and humility, which is also reflected in its dishes. For the main course, we ordered the leg of lamb, the cavatelli pancetta as well as the mushroom ravioli. My eyes were shut at every bite of the ravioli, I kid you not. Unfortunately, there were few bites of the ravioli, in general, in addition to the fact that the dish was not mine; thus my happiness was short-lived, but lived nonetheless. The ravioli rested in a walnut and tomato cream sauce, although it was so much more than that. I paired it with a glass of Chianti and was beyond pleased. The pasta is freshly made and you can taste it. That is their signature. By that I mean that they did they not pick up a box from the corner super market, which had been sitting on shelves for months, if not years. If the ravioli was the only item on the menu, I would still be in love. Speaking of fresh pasta, this characteristic is even more evident in the cavatelli, which is what brings the dish to life. It also contains zucchini in a saffron based sauce; however, at first glance, it resembles a mere pesto sauce with pancetta pieces. Although the meal was simple and fresh, I expected much more out of it. On a positive note, the braised lamb shank was very tender and served with mashed potatoes. After some reflection, a glass of Shiraz would have been the perfect accompaniment. It is cooked in a red wine sauce and surpasses the criteria for comfort food. Again, this was not the dish I had ordered but I was more than happy to help my guest clear his plate.
For desert, we shared the cannolis, which was perfect as they served four bite-sized cannolis, stuffed to order. Although the mascarpone filling was ordinary, the crispy exterior and fresh content redeemed the dish. Please do not leave the premises without a cup of espresso. It was so well made that I dreamt of my days in Italy for a moment, not to mention that it brings the entire meal together. Thus when you receive the check, you will welcome it with a smile. Not to fear, the dishes are very reasonably priced and for the original ambience, it is a steal! Be sure to look up the hours or call before visiting, as the schedule is a bit unique; however, the experience will be well worth it.
Oh, and please feel free to post some comments on the blog after your visit.