FOODIE DIARIES - Soya & Pomodoro - Simple food made with love
For a romantic, intimate evening out, immediately book a table at Soya & Pomodoro in Downtown Miami. Sitting in the alfresco-style trattoria feels like sitting in a side street of an Italian village. There are endless reasons to fall madly in love with this restaurant.
In 2004, co-owners Rosario Magrelli and Cristian D’Oria opened Soya & Pomodoro in a former bank originally built in 1945. Nestled narrowly between two storefronts, the reclaimed space resembles an alleyway – giving new meaning to the term “hidden gem.”
Love is in the air with the delightful sounds of live music that fill the space, from Cuban rhythms to pure jazz, performed nightly Thursdays – Saturdays. Then there’s the eclectic, curious and completely charming décor: wrought-iron entrance, dim lighting, terrazzo floors, antique furniture, quirky knickknacks, and bohemian art throughout – complete with a laundry line hanging high above.
Their love, passion, and appreciation for their country inspired the rustic setting, Magrelli shared. “We wanted to recreate a typical vision of traditional Italian houses, where clothing lines separate two neighbors. The overall ambiance and atmosphere emulate the Italian feel we want to share with our clients – cozy and casual.”
Carpaccio Di Tonno
As the great Italian screenwriter and film director, Federico Fellini once said, “Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” We couldn’t agree more! But finding bonafide pasta (or Italian food in general) that tastes as if Nonna herself made it isn’t always easy.
“When people think about Italian food, they think of genuine, healthy, authentic and most importantly, good food. I remember my grandmother and my mother asking me what I wanted them to prepare for dinner at our table!” said Magrelli. “The culture of food is imperative to our country and I would like to diffuse our knowledge, culture and traditions to locals here in Miami.”
And, we are just head over heels for Soya & Pomodoro’s artisanal cuisine! Since Magrelli and D’Oria are from Southern Italy, Naples and Puglia respectively, the specialties represent a mixture of the two regions.
While Magrelli manages the eatery, D’Oria serves as chef. “We try to always keep our traditional and signature dishes. Every now and then, we include new and particular dishes, and use ingredients and customs from the South of Italy.” “It’s safe to say that our beautiful country, its traditions and customs really do inspire our menu and our restaurant as a whole.”
As the old Italian proverb goes, “Pan di sudore, miglior sapore.” (Translation: Bread that comes out of sweat, tastes better.) They’ve poured endless love and energy into Soya & Pomodoro, and completely stolen our heart!
Start with the Antipasti Melanzane alla Parmigiana, which rivals any baked eggplant you’ve ever had. It’s a perfect balance of sweet and acidity. A heaping layer of baked, lightly breaded eggplant is topped with gooey mozzarella and parmesan cheeses with plenty of savory tomato sauce. Sop it all up with crunchy Italian bread, while enjoying a glass of bold Montepulciano wine. This is a love fest on the palate!
Before you order a second plate of that magnificence, try our next recommendation - Carpaccio Di Tonno. A light and flavorful dish, paper-thin slices of fresh tuna meet hints of peppery arugula, crisp onions, sweet-tasting fennel, beautiful kalamata olives, and juicy cuts of orange. Pair this fusion of lovely flavors with an aromatic Sauvignon Blanc!
Speaking of wine, Soya & Pomodoro’s menu offers varietals from across Italy’s top regions: Veneto, Abruzzo, Campania, Puglia, Trentino, Sardegna, Sicily, Piedmont, and of course – the revered Tuscany. All bottles of wine are 50% off on Wednesday nights. We’re feeling the love!
Now onto the sumptuous pasta…
Our hearts skipped a beat when the plate of Fazzoletti di Formaggio e Pera landed at our table. This is quite an outstanding and unexpected surprise! Handkerchief-shaped pasta is stuffed with tender pear (yes, pear) and velvety cheese, sautéed with perfectly cooked baby shrimp, and covered in an exquisite creamy ricotta sauce. Pure texture.
The Pappardelle con Gamberi e Pistacchio is flawless. Mouth-watering wide fettuccine is plated with plenty of shrimp in a generous pistachio pesto sauce with hearty roasted tomatoes. It’s a well-seasoned and delicate array of sheer earthy, herbaceous, intense, and tangy goodness. Mangia!
Now feast on the succulent, melt-in-your-mouth Filetto alla Provola. A tender, pan-seared Filet Mignon Medallion is served with expertly sautéed spinach sitting on a fluffy bed of buttery mashed potatoes with smoked mozzarella. Accompany every morsel of this comfort food with sips of rich Sangiovese wine.
Such decadence deserves a touch of sweetness. The dense chocolate and almond flourless torte, Torta Caprese is a classic Italian cake. With an expresso, this is a delizioso finish. Or, cap your dining experience with a time-honored digestivo - homemade, chilled Limoncello.
As extraordinary as the food, wine and atmosphere is, Soya & Pomodoro’s personalized attention and service is beyond stellar. The restaurant received a 4 star rating on Yelp, “Excellent” rating on Kayak, TripAdvisor’s “Certificate of Excellence” and recently won OpenTable’s “Diners’ Choice Award.”
Soya & Pomodoro
120 NE 1st Street, Miami, FL, 33131.