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Name: Stephen Pinsky
Occupation: Retired Rabbi
Lives In: Wellington, FL
Restaurant Pick: Carpaccio
Reviewed: Carpaccio

Once again, we drove a long distance for this meal. Because I-95 was closed south of Hollywood Boulevard for some reason the drive down to Bal Harbour was especially hectic. When we arrived at the Bal Harbour Shops, we found parking quickly, walked around the center a bit and especially enjoyed browsing in our favorite book shop, Books and Books. By the time we arrived at the restaurant at 6:00 p.m. for an early dinner, the restaurant was busy but not yet packed. Despite the fact that we know that the outdoor dining area is the place to be and to be seen, we chose to sit at the very cozy bar. Since we know the restaurant quite well – neither the décor nor the menu has changed very much over the years except for the specials and the prices – we knew what to expect. The lovely bartender welcomed us immediately, asked for our drink orders, brought my wife a taste of the excellent house Cabernet and then served me my very dry martini and filled my wife’s glass with a large serving of her chosen wine. The bartender then went through the fairly extensive list of specials offered that evening being prompted after each item for the price – which was significant. I chose to begin my meal with a half order of tortellini aurora – a rounded pasta stuffed with veal served in a divine pink cream sauce – and my wife chose a Caesar salad. Both were served at appropriate intervals by a server who came behind us with the items knowing who got what.

The tortellini was superb and the sauce even better. The Caesar salad was very good and most certainly of more than ample size for an appetizer. The half size of the pasta was also quite large. I think that a whole order would have been far too large a portion with which to begin a meal. After finishing our appetizers, the plates were removed quickly and we were given enough time to chat with the very friendly diners who were to our left – here in South Florida to watch the Jets lose to Miami. For our main courses, I ordered scaloppini piccata – veal served in a light butter sauce accompanied by delicious roast potatoes, peppers and capers – and my wife ordered a simple pasta penne with pesto sauce – her favorite. The veal was excellent and the portion size was unusually large. I could not finish the veal and took half of it home – a rarity – and my wife thoroughly enjoyed her pasta but felt that she probably could have stopped with the salad which was also quite large. Once again, the meals were served at an appropriate pace and the bartender came over and properly asked if we were satisfied. When we were done, we asked for the check which was quickly forthcoming. When we paid, we remembered to have our parking ticket validated – parking at the center is not free. We walked to our car and both of us commented that Carpaccio is still one of our favorite and most reliable restaurants in South Florida – we only wish that it was located closer to Palm Beach County.

Name: Joanne Straatsma
Occupation: Practice Manager
Lives In: Coral Springs, Fl
Restaurant Pick: La Nouvelle Maison
Reviewed: Carpaccio

Carpaccio is located in the Bal Harbour Shops mall. Valet parking is made almost mandatory because of the congested parking lot. There is a large outdoor patio with numerous wrought iron marble-topped tables and chairs nestled beneath tall, swaying palm trees. The inside dining décor reflects an Italian ambience and is dominated by an enormous black and white photo of Venice on one wall. We requested a table indoors because the noise level of the patio was a tad overwhelming. Carpaccio does not take reservations, and, because we visited the restaurant “in season” and on a Saturday, we were pleasantly surprised that we were seated immediately. Our waitress, who we discovered was from Moldovia, was pleasant and knowledgeable. She was obviously trained to turn tables, and we were a little irritated when she tried to rush our appetizer order. That aside, the service was flawless, but rushed. We ordered an Italian Chardonnay and an Argentinian malbec to start. Crusty, hot whole wheat bread served in a rustic basket arrived the second we placed our appetizer order. Yeasty and delicious and accompanied by four hard pats of butter, the bread disappeared quickly. But our waitress ensured that more portions followed the first.

For appetizers our party of four ordered the Gamberetti and Cannellini and the Cozze Caprese to share. The shrimp, arugula, and bean dish could easily have fed two as an entrée, but we managed to make a dent in the huge portion because it was scrumptiously addictive, tart and sweet and full of succulent portions of shrimp. Plump and moist mussels bathed in a basil and tomato sauce designed for bread mopping had us rushing to consume the tasty mollusks. Needless to say, the extra bread basket our waitress served us was swabbed in sauce and devoured. Six specials were offered that evening, two appetizers, and four entrees. I opted for the grilled Branzino and Jumbo Shrimp special. The Sea Bass and Jumbo Shrimp special was chosen, as was the seafood and linguine special, while the other member of our party selected the Scaloppini Picatta. The clear winner of the oversized entrees was the Sea Bass. Juicy, but crisp-seared, the fish was served with potatoes and spinach. My Branzino main course consisted of six char-grilled fillets and two large shrimp. The fillets were slightly overcooked and therefore a tad on the dry side. A halved whole lobster, shrimp, clams, and mussels composed the Seafood Linguini special—a huge and mouthwatering dish. The member of our party who picked the Scaloppini Picatta raved about her tender, moist medallions of veal sautéed in lemon-caper butter sauce sprinkled with tasty bell peppers. We all took home leftovers, save for the Sea Bass. Unfortunately, we left no room for dessert, but ordered cappuccinos to finish off the meal. A fitting ending to a delectable dinner.

Name: Hope Pacheco
Occupation: Mom and fitness buff
Lives In: : Davie, FL
Restaurant Pick: Dairy Belle
Reviewed: Carpaccio

Beautiful Bal Harbor a high end outdoor mall. Driving is difficult just be patient you will be in traffic. Get a ticket to get in and park, remember to have your ticket validated in the restaurant. I came with my sister and baby and sat outside in 75 degree perfect Florida weather. There were orchids hanging from the palm trees, and nice. We didn't have time to check out the mall, but ordered up a big marinated salad at Carpaccio. Bread came out and it was rustic crusty Italian bread. Perfect for my daughter, she loved it. Huge circles of fresh cut mozzarella with an avocado sauce scalloped on top. There were marinated chunks of artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, onions, sliced portobello mushrooms which really felt like a vegetable carpaccio, fitting for this place! I ordered the Tuna carpaccio and the tuna was thinly sliced on the plate and a radicchio bowl in the center of the Tuna with a shrimp ceviche. The shrimp ceviche had cut avocado pieces and it was perfectly executed. I would order this dish again it was refreshing, and I was satisfied, even with my daughter on my lap eating the avocado out of the ceviche, lol. My sister enjoyed the large veal chop. The scalloped Parmesan potatoes were yummy, there was also steamed spinach and broccoli on her plate. Great table service the waiters and food runners work together as a team.

Restaurant Information

Location: Bal Harbour Shops
Parking: Yes
Phone: 305-867-7777
Restaurant Owners: N/A
Executive Chef: N/A
Pastry Chef: N/A

Type of Cuisine: Italian
Signature Dishes: Lombata Milanese, Tortellini Aurora, Carpaccio
Vegetarian Options: Yes
Alcohol Served: Yes
Corkage Fee: $30
Bottle Limit: No

Restaurant Hours: 
Monday –11:30 AM-11:30 PM
Tuesday –11:30 AM-11:30 PM
Wednesday – 11:30 AM-11:30 PM
Thursday –11:30 AM-11:30 PM
Friday – 11:30 AM-11:30 PM
Saturday – 11:30 AM-11:30 PM
Sunday –11:30 AM-11:30 PM

Meals Served: Italian cuisine, salads, carpaccio, pastas
Prix Fix Menu: No
Take-Out: Yes
Delivery: No
Average Dinner Price Range (per person, full meal, tax, 20% gratuity, w/o alcohol): $50.00
Average Lunch Price Range (per person, full meal, tax, 20% gratuity, w/o alcohol): $45.00
Payment Options: do you accept credit cards and if so, which ones? All credit cards, no checks
Accept Reservations: Large parties, yes
Need Reservations: Suggested
How far in advance do you require reservations be made: 24 hours or 2 weeks

Accommodations for Children: Yes
Dining Style: Casual/ Formal
Disabled Access: Yes
Restaurant Size: Large
Accommodate Groups: Yes
Private Dining Room: Yes
Tables with Scenic Views: Yes
Outdoor Dining: Yes
Entertainment: No