Dune & Fiola

Two Newcomers Amp Up the Culinary Sophistication of South Florida


South Florida’s ever-expanding, dynamic restaurant scene has just gotten a little more elevated with the recent arrival of two standout eateries – one in Ft. Lauderdale, the other in Miami (just to be fair!)

DUNE

The unpretentious yet classy restaurant filled with lush foliage set against calming neutral hues and ocean views feels like you’ve stepped into a dream. Fortunately, there’s no alarm clock to wake you from this euphoric space – only spectacular food to accompany it. It is one of the first East Coast restaurants from the luxe Auberge Resorts Collection, renowned for opening Napa Valley’s Michelin-starred Auberge du Soleil. From there, the brand expanded worldwide to exclusive vacation destinations like Aspen, Fiji, and Los Cabos, Mexico, making Fort Lauderdale an ideal next step. Chef Edgar Beas is the master behind the menu at DUNE, presenting dishes with a hearty focus on the restaurant’s Josper charcoal oven, a type of indoor barbeque reaching extremely high heat resulting in juicier meats with a signature grilled flavor. Specialties include wood oven-roasted mahi mahi with fennel, stone fruit, citrus, and ramps, crispy skin chicken with homemade mac and cheese, bacon, and broccolini, short rib with sweet potato puree, and top sirloin with spicy roasted romaine and hollandaise sauce.

“Sourcing local quality ingredients is key to creating delicious food, but high standards of execution are just as important,” explains the chef. “With the Auberge name comes a benchmark for superb yet uncomplicated dining.”

Cocktails are held up to the same high standards at DUNE with creations such as The Solstice (Old Overholt rye, lemon, honey, strawberry and ginger beer) and Sunburn (New Amsterdam vodka, lemon, and pomegranate) made at the bar, purposefully set at the heart of the restaurant. The idea is to promote a relaxed and welcoming ambiance where diners can gather, enjoy spectacular panoramic views, and sip a delightful cocktail. Of course, as an ode to Auberge Resorts Collection’s Napa Valley origin, guests can partake in a variety of upscale wine selections (over 600 selections) with many hailing from Northern California. The restaurant recently began serving brunch an optimal opportunity to head outdoors to the expansive patio for al fresco dining or, if craving a more intimate experience, groups can always gather in one of the three private dining rooms.

FIOLA MIAMI

This is not your ordinary Italian eatery, nor is it one of the many that come and go through South Florida’s fast-moving restaurant scene. Fiola, helmed by the dynamic duo Fabio and Maria Trabocchi, brings with it the serious dedication that garnered it a Michelin star back in its original location in D.C. Yes, it comes at a certain price point so be forewarned: Fiola is not cheap. But it’s the type of place you’ll find yourself changed in, happily engaging in a delicate and carefully orchestrated dance between flawlessly executed dishes, attentive yet not overbearing service, and an ample selection of cocktails and wines. Immediately after leaving, you’ll be dreaming of when to go back.

The love is mutual. “Our family has vacationed in South Florida for years, and we’ve been fortunate to watch it grow into one of the world’s most exciting culinary and cultural destinations,” Chef-Owner Fabio Trabocchi explains.

With that in mind, the couple sought to bring forth their Italian dishes with personalized Miami style. There are acclaimed favorites imported from the D.C. location like the lobster ravioli with ginger and chives, bucatini with red prawns and sea urchin, and the prosciutto-wrapped veal chop with osso bucco sauce, gremolata, and alba hazelnuts. Those not wanting to compromise on flavor but are keeping an eye on their calorie count can enjoy the Maria Menu, available during lunch on weekdays. The three-course meal follows the same approach as the Mediterranean diet, highlighting fruits, vegetables, and lean protein while being low in fat, sugar, and sodium and includes dishes like grilled branzino with artichoke and spring onion Scafata as well as a strawberry, lemon basil sponge cake with key lime sorbetto.

“The Maria Menu is inspired by my wife Maria Trabocchi’s dedication to health and wellness, and the desire to offer our guests lighter dining options during lunch. We aim to deliver dishes that are both flavorful and elevated while maintaining a conscious balance of ingredients. We are excited to share this with the South Florida community at Fiola Miami,” Trabocchi adds.

The restaurant recently began offering a Sunday Jazz Brunch where diners can enjoy XXL ricotta pancakes, jumbo lump crab Benedict, bison tartare (a signature of the restaurant), and Fiola lobster ravioli. The space has a modern, minimalist feel heightened by dark wood accents. One of the highlights is the expansive glass wall filled with a sampling of the restaurant’s 8,000-bottle selection (with a heavy focus on Italian wines). The rest can be found in the impressive wine cellar that doubles as a private dining room. 

Cocktails are made with equal uncompromising excellence. Bourbon drinkers will relish the Night In Gables, made with Elijah Craig 12-yr small batch bourbon, Martini & Rossi vermouth, apricot, spiced pomegranate, turbinado, and rosemary. Gin and tonic fans should opt for the Fabio G&T with Oxley gin infused with lemongrass, blood oranges, and house made tonic. Tropical drink lovers would cheer the Sueño Cubano, made with rum, pineapple, cumin, coconut foam, and nutmeg. Mocktails are showstoppers as well. Order a Lavender Beach and a smoke-filled glass teardrop arrives which, when removed, exposes a peach-colored, almost-too-pretty drink. Head over during Martini Hour (Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.) for specially priced drinks paired with bar bites like spicy tuna tartare, Roman-smoked salmon flatbread, and cacio e pepe, one of the best in town. 

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