1) Brickell: Introducing a new concept to the Brickell working crowd's lunch break: self-serve Italian. And no, it's not the hot food bar at Sbarro's. Vapiano is a step up from the rest of the "buffet" type places and might remind you of an upscale, adult version of the school cafeteria. The two-story bistro has long wooden benches for group seating, both indoor and outdoor, and gives an electronic card upon arrival to record each selection made at their stations. Refuel on favorites like ravioli bolognese and pesto pizza, while washing it down as the Italians do with a glass of wine or a Peroni. There's even a fresh basil plant at each table for you to pluck and garnish as you like. Now that's self-serving with style.
Status: Certified Open; 1221 Brickell Avenue, Miami, (305) 374-0311
Previous Coverage: Thrillist 10/18; Urban Daddy 10/15; Short Order 08/10
2) Miami Beach: In what was the former Eden spot on 23 Street, South Beach welcomes its new, sexy Italian restaurant Tosca. The latest from Stephan Fortier, Tosca is a romantic, intimate, Tuscan getaway. Dine under the stars outside or inside by candlelight and experience the over-the-top menu of seafood towers, caviar, Kobe beef, and daily imported fish from the Mediterranean. Super Tuscans are the stand outs for wine, and the freshest fettuccine alfredo you'll have is prepared tableside using a wheel of parmesan and a blowtorch. And that's not all. There's a hidden two person movie theater as well as a desk where you can write a letter to Shakespeare's Juliet. Tosca will mail it to the famed Verona, the destination said to ensure your love lasts forever. Cosí romantico.
Status: Certified Open; 210 23 Street, Miami Beach, (786) 216-7230
Previous Coverage: Thrillist 10/19; Urban Daddy 10/18; Miami.com 10/08
3) Miami Beach: While not entirely a newcomer, after a very brief pop-up as The Dining Room, Vesper is back at The Shelborne and relaunched with more "casual fusion fare" and prices that are easier to stomach. The new Executive Chef Javier Carballo has redone the menu to reflect a more global tapas direction. Items range in price from $8 to $16 and include plates like Tempura Rock Shrimp with a Sriracha and ponzu sauce ($10), Cabernet Gorgonzola Sliders with a trio of french fry 'shots' ($10), Chicken Piccata with a black truffle cream sauce ($15), and Fried Zeppoli with Oreos ($7).
Status: Certified Open; 1801 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, (305) 341-1500
Previous Coverage: Miami.com 10/23
[Photo of Vapiano Courtesy of Justin Namon/Urban Daddy]