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Miami is home to a plethora of Mediterranean and Italian restaurants, but not all are created equal. Located at the heart of South Beach and one of its nicest neighborhoods Sunset Harbour, Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante rises above the others with its unique atmosphere, quality food, and an excellent selection of wine. 

The spacious restaurant is decorated with warm and cozy colors and the lighting is on par with the decoration to create that welcoming feeling for diners. Tables are cleverly spread out across the restaurant and there is ample space to accommodate large groups. That’s why it’s popular among locals to celebrate special occasions and host events here. There’s also a more secluded area for diners who seek a more intimate dining experience, which makes the restaurant an ideal destination for a first date, or a romantic night out. Like most restaurants in Sunset Harbor, Sardinia has tables outside for those who want to breathe in the breeze from the bay. 

Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante, italian Restaurant in Miami Beach

The restaurant’s rich menu is inspired by the rustic cuisine of chef and restaurateur Pietro Vardeu’s native Sardinia. Unlike many others, Sardinia displays a wood oven in the middle of the restaurant and the staff proudly suggests anything wood oven-baked from the menu. Salumeria, the delicatessen section on the menu, offers fresh cold cuts and the Italian cheese you will fall in love with. The Mozzarella bar is rich with options you cannot resist.

When it comes to pasta, Sardinia manages to step forward among other restaurants in Miami as well. The housemade pastas are tastefully matched with seafood like baby clams and squid or red meat selections such as veal or boar sausages. The restaurant also takes pride in its couscous. All these dishes are enriched with Mediterranean spices and sauces such as saffron and pesto. 

Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante, italian Restaurant in Miami Beach

The best way to experience what Sardinia has to offer is to go with the tasting menu. A seven-course culinary journey, the restaurant’s tasting menu combines dishes like arancini, fregola lamb meatballs, and paella di mare, Sardinian couscous with fresh seafood. Every dish is paired with an outstanding glass of Italian wine. 

As expected, Sardinia boasts an impressive selection of over 250 primarily Italian wines and a lively full bar with an array of beers and cocktails. This makes the restaurant a go-to spot for locals to enjoy drinks before dinner, after-work happy hours, and weekend brunches. 

Considering the menu, the location, the service, and all, there are so many reasons to become a fan of Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante. Are you ready to meet your new favorite Italian in town? 

By Caner Kocamaz, contributing writer

Sardinia Enoteca

You know Ocean Drive. You know Lincoln Road. You even know South of Fifth. But there’s one area of South Beach that locals have been trying to keep secret for over a decade: Sunset Harbour. Just minutes from the more touristy areas of SoBe, this sophisticated strip facing the bay is made up of quaint boutiques, fitness studios, a coffee shop, and a handful of elegant yet unpretentious dining establishments. One of these restaurants, in particular, stands out in our minds: Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante {1801 Purdy Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.531.2228}.

Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante

Opened in 2006, this cozy and comfortable restaurant on the corner of Purdy Avenue and 18th Street fits perfectly into the vibe of this locals-in-the-know neighborhood.

Over the years, Sardinia has earned itself a well-deserved reputation for having one of the best wine selections in Miami. In fact, wine bottles are the focal point of the restaurant’s décor, taking up every spot on the wooden wine racks along the walls, with even more onsite in the temperature-controlled cellar.

Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante

But Sardinia’s emphasis on wine certainly does not take away from its cuisine. The kitchen is helmed by Sardinian-born Chef Pietro Vardeu, a self-taught culinary mastermind who has worked in kitchens of well-known chefs and restaurateurs including Pino Luongo. His menu showcases the rustic cuisine of his native Sardinia (think: outstanding pizzas and pastas—simple yet full of flavor), in addition to some more adventurous dishes.

Representing DiningOut has its perks, and we were able to sample the restaurant’s eight-course tasting menu, which included:

Sardinia Enoteca RistoranteFregoletta
Sardinian couscous, baby clams, and saffron broth

Sardinia Enoteca RistoranteAnimelle
Veal sweetbreads, pancetta, sage, and Brussels sprouts

Sardinia Enoteca RistorantePolpettine
Veal meatballs and braised fennel

Sardinia Enoteca RistoranteOrecchiette
Boar sausages, rapini pesto, and pine nuts

Sardinia Enoteca RistoranteSpaghetti
Bottarga di muggine

Rabbit, Brussels sprouts, scallions, pancetta, and olives

IMG_2048Diver’s Scallops
Over pesto fregola and crispy greens

IMG_2083Oh, and lets not forget the desserts, which included a panna cotta and chocolate mousse.

The standouts of the evening were the meatballs (simple, yet delightful) and the rabbit, which, in our experience, is a very difficult dish to perfect.

The service, too, was outstanding. Every course was perfectly timed and gracefully presented—colorful masterpieces oozing delicate aromas enough to make even the diners next to us drool in envy. Next time, they say, they’ll have to try the tasting menu.

Sorry, locals, but your secret’s out.

By Sherri Balefsky | Online Editor