By Caitlin Marino
As if I haven’t expressed it enough, I have the biggest obsession with Italian cuisine, so when MMTM got the invite to visit Forte dei Marmi, you can only imagine how thrilled I was to check it out! Throughout my journey of veganism, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to never compromise on high-quality, organic, and fresh products (regardless of whether the meal is vegan or not.) Forte dei Marmi (150 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach) specializes in just that – incomparable fresh ingredients – which, in part, has earned acclaimed chef Antonio Mellino two Michelin stars. Upon arrival, you’re greeted by the jaw-dropping décor designed to recreate the vibes of an elegant resort in a seaside Italian city. Impressed would be an understatement and we had only just step foot in.
Menu highlights: Even as a high-end restaurant, Forte dei Marmi can cater to a wide audience with their stellar Sunday brunch offering for $55 including appetizer, entrée, and dessert.
First step, choose between the Bronze Table Antipasti or four appetizer options including burrata, salmon carpaccio, octopus a la plancha, or bluefin tuna tartare. The Bronze Table Antipasti offers a selection of traditional Italian antipasti such as shaved meats, a variety of cheeses, grilled vegetables, and eggplant lasagna. I also tried the Bluefin Tuna Tartar, which was melt-in- your-mouth tender and paired perfectly with a bed of fresh avocado.
The entrée menu offers a wide selection from traditional brunch food to seafood, fish, meat, and chicken. For the main course, I tried both the Organic Egg French Omelet stuffed with cheese and herbs as well as the Linguine alla Nerano with zucchini, parmesan, black peppers, and basil. As a “French Toast or nothing” kind of brunch girl, this was a huge step out of my comfort zone, but I was pleasantly surprised by both options’ perfect portions of cheese and herbs/toppings which didn’t overpower either of the dishes with overwhelming amount of flavors.
If you have room for dessert (don’t be foolish like I was and underestimate how filling the portions are,) be sure to check out the dessert table with a selection of pastries or upgrade your experience to try the Honey Onyx Pistachio Gelato for an additional $15.
Standout dish: The Linguine alla Nerano was truly impeccable. I tried making a few modifications to the dish (i.e. no cheese so it would be vegan friendly) but the server convinced me to try as-is and thankfully I listened! I don’t think many would consider pasta a brunch option off the top of their head, but this is a dish to remember.
Are we boozing? Duh, that’s the first step to a successful Sunday brunch! Forte dei Marmi offers a few sparkling, white, and red wine options as well as a specialty cocktails. I stuck with traditional mimosas for this visit, but will be back to try the Fools Paradise (purity vodka, grapes, basil, lime, ginger beer) and Uva Sole (reposado tequila, maraschino cherry, sage, grapefruit juice, hopped grapefruit, orange bitters).
Check this place out if you like: A steal on a top-of- the-line Sunday brunch spot. There aren’t many places in Miami where you can get the trifecta of quality food, exclusive ambiance, and authentic experience at such a fair price.
Caitlin’s take: As previously mentioned, my breath was taken away just at arriving. I might have documented the décor as much as I did the food because the space is nothing short of Pinterest-like contemporary home remodeling inspiration. Separately, aside from their amazing Sunday brunch, they also offer premium lunch and dinner plates. Now just to brush up on my Italian for the next visit.