If you want fine Italian food in Sunny Isles Florida, Timo is the place for you. Sweet Pea and P’tit Soeur had been to Timo on a previous trip, and Diva #1 trusted her Italian friends and was eager to try some Italian fine dining. White table clothes, low music and dark wood furniture created the perfect ambiance. We were brought a variety of breads and bread sticks and we were all on our very best behaviour enjoying the night.
The wood burning oven made you want to order pizza but we had gone out for great Italian pizza just the night before so pasta was on all of our minds. Diva #1 went to Timo with Sweet Pea, P’tit Soeur and her adopted parents. The restaurant was walking distance from our condo so we were all in a great mood enjoying the Florida heat and happy to be on vacation.
There were so many delicious appetizers we had a hard time choosing what to start with: polenta fries and arancini intrigued us but we began our meal with the frito misto. Deep fried calamari, zucchini, artichokes and the very surprising chick peas were heavenly. Lightly breaded and fried, Diva #1 had never tried artichokes or chickpeas cooked in this manner. It came with a spicy mayo based dipping sauce but not much of this was needed to enjoy the appetizer, just a squeeze of lemon. It was a nice twist to the typical fried calamari that you see in Italian restaurants.
Our second appetizer was the winner of the night. Warm mozzarella di Bufala was baked in a clay pot with roma tomatoes and eggplants. Served with a crostini topped with pesto, we only wish there had been more. A variation of eggplant parmesan and the usual cold way of serving mozzarella di Bufala, this appetizer was quickly devoured. The testament to this dish was that when the sauce was left over at the bottom of the clay pot, Diva #1 and company fought over the last pieces of bread to enjoy the rest of the sauce.
For our main meals we were overwhelmed with the options. P’tit Soeur had loved the Chilean sea bass as well as the wild mushroom and black truffle risotto from previous visits. Unfortunately, they had changed their menu for the summer so these dishes weren’t available. Diva #1’s adopted mother had enjoyed simple gnocchi pomodoro on a previous visit and knew that she wanted it again. Unfortunately, the new gnocchi dish on the menu was more complex but they were very happy to accommodate. In its simplicity, the pomodoro sauce was wonderful; sometimes you need to ensure that a restaurant makes the simplest dishes taste wonderful to guarantee that they know what they are doing. Adopted mama was pleased and she is rarely pleased; she has been known to torture a chef for hours if a meal is not to her liking… and if the chef dies before her frustrations are all out, she turns to her children…
Adopted papa chose the more complex gnocchi dish. Spicy sautéed shrimp with pomodoro and white wine were tossed with Timo’s homemade gnocchi. The gnocchi, like in adopted mama’s dish, were perfectly cooked and he happily ate, ignoring the group of loud women surrounding him. This is an art that adopted papa has perfected, especially with the addition of Diva #1 on his once upon a time nice family vacations.
Diva #1 had her eye on the ravioli stuffed with burrata. In general, she loves burrata cheese and cannot resist homemade stuffed pasta. She was worried that the burrata would be lacking but each ravioli was generously stuffed and the dish was filling. Though the dish sounds very heavy it was not topped with a sauce but instead with fresh diced tomatoes, chili flakes, olive oil, garlic and basil. A true fresh Italian dish, perfect for the hot summer months, and she would return to enjoy it again.
Sweet Pea loves a good risotto, so she opted for the jumbo scallop and blue crab risotto with bottarga, a type of fish roe. Three jumbo scallops topped this creamy risotto. The scallops were perfectly cooked and seasoned and the blue crab was well incorporated into the dish. The bottarga did not make the risotto too fishy. This seafood mélange was heavenly and not too heavy. Sweet Pea was sad that this menu item was a special of the season, meaning that she may not find it again on her next Florida trip.
P’tit Soeur could not decide what to eat. She asked our server and he recommended the bucatini pasta with homemade pancetta, Vidalia onions, Barolo wine and pecorino cheese. Another tomato based sauce topped this dish; the pasta was al dente and the sauce plentiful and flavourful. Diva #1 stole a few bites and was impressed with the pasta and the thick pieces of pancetta.
Everyone besides Diva #1 knew about Timo’s chocolate soufflé. Unfortunately this too was no longer on their menu but a variation did exist. A warm liquid center chocolate cake with caramelized banana ice cream and dulce de leche was our dessert of choice. The cake was not as liquidy as we would have liked but it was smooth and dense and was perfectly paired with the caramelized banana ice cream. The presentation of the dessert was beautiful and each chocolaty bite went very well with the dulce de leche that lightly coated the bottom of the plate.
Our second dessert was Diva #1’s favourite, the orange pot au crème with a chocolate ganache, soft salted caramel and chocolate gelato. Decorated with blueberries, this rather large dessert was decadent and rich and we were still talking about it days later, wanting to return for coffee and dessert just to enjoy this pot au crème all over again. Diva #1 is biased because she thinks that orange and chocolate are the perfect dessert combination and Timo created an amazing pot au crème.
We regret not returning to Timo’s before the end of our trip, but there are too many restaurants to choose from and our trip was too short to keep going to the same ones. Timo restaurant even has an interesting tasting menu; at 69$ per person you get a 4 course meal which includes dessert and for an extra 39$ it can be coupled with different wines per course. Sweet Pea’s risotto was part of the tasting menu, so we can imagine what other delights would have been in store for us. Timo is not the sort of place that you get rowdy, Diva-style, it is the type of restaurant where you enjoy a delicious Italian meal and, in our case, plan the rest of our trip!
Our Rating: Always on Thursdays
Tagged: Always on Thursdays, Arancini, Bar, Bufala Mozzarella, Burrata, Burrata Ravioli, Chef Tim Andriola, Chilean Sea Bass, Collins Avenue, Florida, Fresh Fish, Gelato, Gnocchi, Homemade Pasta, Italian, Lobster, Mediterranean, Octopus, Pasta, Pizza, Polenta Fries, Pork Tenderloin, Quail, Risotto, RK Beach Plaza, Sea Bream, Soufflé, Steak, Sunny Isles, terrace, Thin Crust, Timo, Veal Shank, wine, Wood Burning Oven