My partner and I are visiting Miami Beach for a couple of days and decided we wanted a "nice" dinner last night. After searching Chowhound and looking at other reviews on line, we decided on Osteria del Teatro. We're very opinionated about Italian food, so this was a risk for us but we decided the rave reviews made it worth a try.
We called a few hours early for a 7:30 reservation, but the earliest they had was 8:30. When we arrived at the restaurant, the maitre d' opened the door and greeted us by name, and whisked us to a table. Every table was full, and the small dining room was very crowded, and pretty loud. But the service was very personal and very attentive. The waiter listed at least a dozen specials that weren't on the menu, and when we weren't sure, made some excellent suggestions. We ordered one appetizer, one pasta dish, and one meat dish, all to split. The waiter took note, and the two entrees were presented already split and presented on separate plates for the two of us. At the beginning of the evening, the service seemed rushed, but the pace slowed down when the restaurant finished dealing with a large birthday party at the other end of the dining room.
The bread was very good, and the appetizer was excellent – "burrata," a soft mozzarella mixed with cream. This was rich with black truffles and served with speck, a kind of prosciutto, and dressed with olive oil and black pepper. It was simple, rich, and delicious. The pasta course was homemade pappardelle, in a creamy tomato vodka sauce, and fresh porcini mushrooms. We had been worried that this might not go well with the Chianti we had ordered (Chianti classico: Roca della Macie – $44), but the waiter had reassured us, and was correct – it was fine. The meat dish was a rack of lamb, cooked perfectly (medium rare, on the rare side!), in a Barolo reduction, with a mustard crust (the mustard flavor was little jarring, to tell the truth). All in all it was a lovely meal, with extremely attentive service that just managed not to be over the top. For dessert we shared a huge piece of pecan pie, and a disappointingly thin shot of decaf espresso. Also disappointing was the lack of a liquor license – the pie would have been perfect with a grappa. With tax and a 20% tip, the tab was just over $200. A splurge for us, but we enjoyed it very much.