Call Me Gaby, open since December, is a recent addition to the South of Fifth neighborhood, an olive pit’s toss from South Pointe Park.
The rustic Italian cuisine is served in what resembles a villa on the French Riviera, with distressed white wood tables surrounded by bougainvillea. At night large candles in glass lanterns illuminate the terrace and lounge. Inside, you can watch the pizzaiolos at the brick oven in action.
Owners Anthony and Kathy Guitera, Corsicans who grew up in France (Cannes and Marseilles), met in Miami Beach and ran several restaurants on Ocean Drive. Kathy was born to a Vietnamese mother and Corsican father in Saigon where her parents ran the rooftop restaurant in the famed Arc en Ceil Hotel. Folks nicknamed Guitera Gaby after Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, the fashion icon she admires. The family-run place (Kathy’s niece is the manager) is affordable by South Beach standards, a place one can kick back and enjoy unpretentious dishes.
Start With These Dishes
The focaccia with a crackly crust, with sea salt and rosemary, is perfect for dipping into spicy olive oil. The tagliere di affettati is an Italian salumi board with sweet ham, salami, robust calabrese sausage and prosciutto. It’s paired with cubes of parmesan, walnuts, grapes and black olives. It goes well with a glass of rosé from Cotes de Provence.
Share the lamb and beef meatballs with whipped ricotta and chives. Tomato in a Jar is large chunks of heirloom tomatoes with cucumber, bell pepper, red onions and black olives in lemon and olive oil dressing. The roasted baby beet salad has fresh, bittersweet citrusy caprino goat cheese, orange segments and crushed hazelnuts.
Share These Dishes
Order the fiocchetti pasta purses stuffed with truffle cream tossed in Parmigiano-Reggiano fondue sauce with caramelized pear, fried sage leaves and lashings of balsamic vinegar. Other pastas include gnocchi in gorgonzola cream and pappardelle ribbons alla Bolognese.
Pizzas are perfect to share. The dough made here is proofed 78 hours for puffed, bubbly edges, blistered and chewy. Try a classic Margherita with basil or Caprese pie with arugula, both made with fresh cow’s milk fior di latte mozzarella and San Marzano tomato sauce.
Or select from gourmet pizzas. Try the Pizzaladiere with caramelized onions, whole anchovies and black olives for a play on sweet and salty, traditionally served for breakfast in Nice. The Maria has creamy melted stracciatella cheese (stretched water buffalo milk) topped with shaved black truffles. The Gina has fior di latte, stracciatella, truffle cream and preserved golden chiodini mushrooms. The Angela melds cream cheese, smoked salmon, avocado and lime.
Save Room For Dessert
The Catalina pizzetta features sweet, runny cream cheese, berries and sliced almonds with organic honey, all dusted in powdered sugar.
Hidden Gems highlights out-of-the-way restaurants in Miami-Dade county. It is not intended to be an anonymous, critical review. For more Hidden Gems visit Miami.com.
Call Me Gaby
Address: 22 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
Contact: 305-531-4800, callmegaby.com
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m., Friday-Sunday 11:30 a.m.-Midnight
Prices: Antipasti $7-$19, salads $17, pastas $18-$21, pizza $13-$23, desserts $10-$12