La Cen­trale, Mi­ami’s Ital­ian Food Hall Mecca | CULI­NARY

Mi­ami’s Italina Food Hall Mecca to open in Brick­ell City Cen­ter

Upscale Living Magazine - - Content - | By Alona Ab­bady Martinez PHO­TOS COUR­TESY OF ALONA AB­BADY MARTINEZ

The much-an­tic­i­pated Ital­ian Food Hall, La Cen­trale, Mi­ami’s largest at 40,000 square feet, is sched­uled to open to the pub­lic this Fe­bru­ary 16th. The three-story hall is a culi­nary mecca for South Florida food lovers, and will fea­ture Ital­ian restau­rants, spe­cialty re­tail shops, culi­nary event spa­ces, cook­ing classes, and an im­pres­sive cu­rated wine cel­lar as well.

Con­cep­tu­al­ized by Florence-born Ja­copo Giusti­naini and hos­pi­tal­ity vet­eran Matthias Kiehm, La Cen­trale of­fers 14 dif­fer­ent Ital­ian ea­ter­ies and five chic bars adding up to over 600 seats. Op­tions range from grab-and-go food coun­ters to more up­scale, sit-down restau­rants, all with a com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor fo­cus­ing on fresh, made-from-scratch, au­then­tic Ital­ian prod­ucts. Ex­ec­u­tive Chef Vin­cenzo Scarmigila (for­merly of Las Ve­gas hotspots like GIADA at The Cromwell) will be over­see­ing all the menus, en­sur­ing the va­ri­ety of re­gions in Italy are well­rep­re­sented and di­verse in fla­vor and price point as well. Guests can ex­pect to in­dulge any­where be­tween $2 on a pre­mium Lavazza espresso to $58 on a branzino fish en­trée im­ported from the Ital­ian coastal town of Or­betello.

Be­gin on Level One, which is de­signed to mimic a clas­sic Ital­ian pi­azza and re­volves around fresh, quick-ser­vice din­ing op­tions for break­fast, lunch, and din­ner as well as a fo­cus on Ital­ian street food. There’s Caffé, a Si­cil­ian-in­spired cof­fee shop of­fer­ing fresh­ly­made Ital­ian can­noli, pas­tries, and cakes. The Mer­cato is con­sid­ered the main pur­chas­ing spot and, as seen by the mas­sive wooden trel­lis over­head, is de­signed af­ter the train sta­tion in Florence. There are six grab-and-go coun­ters here, in­clud­ing Espresso, Sa­lumi E For­maggi, In­salate, Fo­cac­ce­ria, Ros­tic­ce­ria, and Pronto, of­fer­ing take-out Ital­ian din­ners. Pizza E Pasta, the rus­tic pizza and pasta res­tau­rant, is the mar­ket’s ca­sual, fam­ily-style spot serv­ing house­made Neapoli­tan piz­zas and house-made pas­tas. Sam­ple del­i­ca­cies like ravi­oli friti, lightly fried spinach and ri­cotta filled ravi­oli served with Cal­abrian chili Po­modoro or pro­sciutto and arugula pizza with a ri­cotta-stuffed crust. To cre­ate a truly au­then­tic ex­pres­sion, stones dat­ing back to 1663 were brought in.

Head up to the sec­ond floor where you’ll find all three sit-down restau­rants, the mar­ket’s sig­na­ture Aper­i­tivo Bar, and a choco­late and gelato eatery. Guests will be able to pur­chase fresh seafood from the fish mar­ket, prime cuts of meat from the meat mar­ket, and house­made moz­zarella made fresh every day. The Aper­i­tivo Bar lies promi­nently in the cen­ter of level 2, sur­rounded by 14-foot Mediter­ranean olive trees. The bar is shaped like a water well in­spired by Ro­man towns. Price points are com­pet­i­tive, with ne­groni cock­tails at $10 and there is live mu­sic and en­ter­tain­ment fea­tured on the stage. Carne, is the hall’s meat res­tau­rant boast­ing an au­then­tic Ital­ian butcher shop as. Meats are cooked in a tra­di­tional wood-fired grill. The vaulted tile ceil­ings are in­spired from the re­gion of Chi­anti and orig­i­nate from the same ter­ra­cotta sup­pli­ers used to re­con­struct the famed 13th cen­tury Duomo of Florence. For fish lovers, there’s the airy res­tau­rant, Pesce, evok­ing the spirit of a sea­side res­tau­rant along the Ital­ian Riviera. Sta­gionale serves as the hall’s sea­sonal, plant-based res­tau­rant, and boasts an im­pres­sive moz­zarella counter, where guests can watch hand-pulled moz­zarella made on the spot. Sweet tooth crav­ings will be duly sat­is­fied at Venchi, the ge­la­te­ria and choco­latier shop with over 80 types of choco­late prod­ucts.

To add to the com­fort and ease of those vis­it­ing La Cen­trale, guests seated at any of the restau­rants can re­quest a food check­list which will be filled by per­sonal shop­pers as they dine. Once their meal is over, they will re­ceive the bag of re­quested items to take home.

Oenophiles may want to be­gin on the third floor where they will find La Cen­trale’s wine mecca. Enoteca is the heart of the third floor, chan­nel­ing a tra­di­tional Tus­can win­ery of­fer­ing 30 wines by the glass. Small bites are also in­cluded such as lentil and cod cro­quettes. A $20 prix fixe menu for lunch and din­ner will be fea­tured daily. Bot­tega Del Vino is the wine and liquor shop fea­tur­ing over 500 la­bels and 4,000 bot­tles of wine, 85% of which are of Ital­ian ori­gin. Cantina of­fers a daily prix-fixe menu and serves as a pre­mier pri­vate event space for 10 to up to 50 guests.

Tucked away on the third floor is La Cucina, a state-of-the-art cook­ing and event stu­dio that will be of­fer­ing food-lovers the op­por­tu­nity to learn var­i­ous prepa­ra­tion and cook­ing tech­niques of Ital­ian food in a re­laxed and fun set­ting. La Cucina will also act as an event and din­ing space for pri­vate par­ties, book sign­ings, guest chef takeovers, wine tast­ing, as well as kids cook­ing classes.

La Cen­trale is lo­cated in Brick­ell City Cen­tre in down­town Mi­ami, and both Gius­tini­ani and Kiehm are ea­ger to share its au­then­tic one-of-akind Ital­ian flair with the pub­lic.

“Mi­ami is in its Golden Age with new mu­se­ums, a high speed rail sys­tem com­ing soon, and in­sti­tu­tions like it’s never had be­fore. It is one of the most dra­matic ur­ban suc­cess sto­ries in the United States. South Florida has a great ap­pre­ci­a­tion for au­then­tic food tied to its di­verse and deep cul­tural roots, so choos­ing Mi­ami was a nat­u­ral choice,” Kiehm said.

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