Run, don’t walk to this stand-out new fine dining establishment in Palmetto Bay. Alaine’s Osteria may be a bit elusive to find, given that the old Bistro Foley sign still hangs above its doors at the SE corner of Old Cutler Road and SW 168 Street; but make no mistake, relaxed atmosphere world-class dining is now just minutes away.
The restaurant is the creation of Chef Gus Ribera who was head chef at Anacapri Restaurant on Miracle Mile for 11 years. Gus is a “home-style chef” offering a traditional Italian menu of lasagna, ravioli, fettuccini, chicken marsala, steaks and fish dishes. Gus is also happy to go off-menu to please his guests, and often does. He has an incredible pedigree, but, as a recent patron gushed, “I don’t need to know his background. His resume is on the plate, and the plate speaks for itself.”
While the food is top notch, using strictly fresh and local ingredients wherever possible, the overall experience is raised to the highest level by the ambiance the rest of the family adds. Think of it as the perfect wine pairing. When the right meal and the right wine meet, it is magic, and that is what is created at Alaine’s Osteria with the ‘whole-picture’ dining experience. “It is my family’s involvement that was missing in my prior ventures and it turned out to be my most important ingredient.”
Ribera’s wife, Marbella, serves as the restaurant’s ‘ambassador of goodwill and happiness’ and their six daughters, aged 20 to four, assist. With the whole family involved, their love, care and dedication intensify the level of service. There isn’t a moment when you aren’t completely pampered and attended to, feeling like one of the family. Even the open kitchen design makes you feel connected to the process and the art of cooking. It doesn’t hurt to also have several seasoned, loyal waiters and staff who followed Ribera to his new restaurant.
Chef Gus promises, “When you come in the door, you will experience a unique hand-crafted product. I made a promise to myself years ago that when I had my own place, I’d deliver art to the table on each dish. That’s why I develop my own recipes, make my own sauces, my own pasta and make sure everything is fresh and honest Italian.”
To that point, Chef Gus introduced Fiocchi (cheese and pear pasta purses) to the Miami market a few years back. “I worked on the sauce for months, and finally hit it right with a reduction of sherry wine and a hint of Gorgonzola cheese. The result was a big ‘wow’ to the mouth,” explained Gus, “Everyone tried to copy it. No one can get it quite right.”
Both families with kids and singles on dates will find something special about Alaine’s Osteria. The word-of-mouth and repeat customers has already made this place a hit since its opening in mid-January.
“With entrees starting at $15, we’re not high-priced,” Chef Gus adds, “But you are definitely going to leave here having had a high-quality experience.” The restaurant’s 35-seat dining room at 7920 SW 168 Street is open Sunday 4-9 p.m.; Monday-Thursday: 4-10 p.m.; and Friday and Saturdays 4-11 p.m. Reservations are accepted for parties of six or more and private functions can be scheduled. Visit http://www.alainesosteria.com/ or call 305-252-0355 for more information.