MIAReview

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Erba image
8.3

Best New Restaurants

2023

Erba

Italian

Coral Gables

$$$$Perfect For:Big Groups
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Miami has no shortage of big, glamorous Italian restaurants. And Erba has a lot in common with these extravagant spots: a giant glass chandelier, a VIP table next to the kitchen, and enough velvet to make you feel like a shiny ring in a jewelry box. But what distinguishes it from these opulent places with little substance is Erba’s deliberate use of local ingredients and care put into each dish. In other words: unlike those other guys, the food here is actually really good.

You don’t go to Erba to be seen and not eat, you’re coming here for the rich agnolotti with wagyu beef cheeks and a juicy porchetta chop. There’s no need to pull out the faja for an evening dress (although you can and won’t feel overdressed). It's a comfortable restaurant with attentive servers who are just as excited about the food as you—and are always prepared with extra focaccia for your butter candle.

Erba image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Erba image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Erba image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Erba image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

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Erba image
Erba image
Erba image

Yes, a butter candle—the start to every great meal here that really sets the tone for all the delicious plot twists to come. 

Like the tonnato in the tomato tonnato. This salty Italian sauce is typically made with canned tuna, anchovies, and mayonnaise. But here, Erba uses local smoked grouper, giving it a slightly sweeter and smokey flavor. Other dishes, like the eggplant appetizer, use vegetables harvested straight from the restaurant’s farm in Homestead. Pastas also feature Key West pink shrimp, Everglades tomatoes, and Bahamian conch. Erba is an Italian restaurant with Caribbean influences and Miami flavor—a taste only our small part of the world could give this food. 

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photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Erba image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Erba image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Erba image
Erba image
Erba image

The restaurant is most alive on weekend nights, when it’s packed but not cramped—and the parking garage isn’t a chaotic mix of Trader Joe’s shoppers and UM students peeling the tires off their white Teslas. But if you want to have the place to yourself and enjoy one of the best deals in town, go for the pasta tasting menu from 5:30pm-7pm. It Includes six pastas served in half-portion sizes for only $45 per person. You might even see someone hand-making them at the pasta station on your way to the bathroom. 

Erba is very flexible. It’s parent-friendly, a great place to catch up with friends, and there’s a large private dining room for events. But it really shines when it comes to dates. We’re not sure if it’s all the naked cherubs scattered around, the pink marble bartop, or the way the cocktail list is signed “XOXO Erba”—but this is a romantic restaurant. Sure it’s a little showy. But eating here is a lot like finding out that crush you’ve been shamelessly flirting with is more than just a pretty face—it’s respectful, well-mannered, and wants nothing more than to cook delicious food for you.

Food Rundown

Erba image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Butter Candle

Jack be nimble. Jack be quick. Jack better grab a piece of bread and drag it along the soft butter that gathers at the bottom before everyone else eats that candlestick.
Erba image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Tomato Tonnato

These thick tomato slices look like movie props and the the smoked grouper-infused tonnato is salty, smoky, and camouflaged against the white plate. If Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald were still around, they’d be singing tomato tonnato’s praises before calling the whole thing off (because the manager told them to keep it down).
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photo credit: Courtesy Erba

Wahoo Crudo

The light wahoo is dripping in grassy-green olive oil and citron vinaigrette, making it feel like silk in your mouth. And the red fresno chilis on top give a sweet heat that fades out with those refreshing pops of orange.
Erba image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Agnolotti

We want to shrink ourselves Rick Moranis-style and take a nap on these delicious pockets of pasta filled with sweet caramelized onions and creamy robiola bosina cheese. Then we will drive a shrunken truck through the clusters of tender wine-braised beef cheeks interspersed between the pieces of pasta. For such a heavy-sounding dish, everything about it is surprisingly delicate.
Erba image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Niman Ranch Iberico Porchetta Chop

Cotechino, a soft and aromatic Italian sausage, is stuffed inside a juicy Iberico porchetta with as much rosy marbling as Erba’s pink bartop. The surrounding skin is a crackly brown, and the whole chop casually leans against a mound of braised lentils like a cool James Dean character surrounded by charred mushrooms and thumbelina carrots.
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photo credit: Courtesy Erba

Bistecca Alla Fiorentina

This steak is for all the lovers of rare meat out there (both in temperature and prevalence). It’s a ridiculously thick porterhouse that’s simply seasoned and weighs about as much as a full-grown maltese. It arrives sliced, with sparkly red meat shining through the dark seared crust. It is cooked so evenly, they might’ve used a slice as a paint swatch for the dining room.
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photo credit: Courtesy Erba

Pistachio Gelato

This fluffy, creamy work of art has thinly sliced pistachios holding on for dear life from its slanted peaks. The gelato is made using Bronte pistachios from Sicily. It’s rich, slightly salty, and coats your mouth with pure joy.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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