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Name: Eddie Kirtley

Occupation: Lawyer

Lives in: Miami

Restaurant Pick: Joey’s

Restaurant Reviewed: Joey’s on 1/21/12 at 8:30 pm

Joey's offers excellent authentic, home style Italian food prepared with lots of love and care, and served up to you in a comfortable, modern cafe environment. The Wynwood neighborhood is fun, edgy, and a good change of pace to the usual haunts of the Design District or South Beach. The food is so well prepared, with the finest ingredients and with creativity that you won’t find at your typical Italian restaurant.

The price and value is outstanding, especially for the caliber of restaurant and the atmosphere that you're provided. Appetizers, salads, and pastas are in the 7 to 15 dollar range; mains are 15 to 25; and pizzas are 10 to 15. Many wines are offered by the glass, and they range from about 8 to 15 dollars per glass. You can easily get in and out of there for under 50 dollars per person, with two to three courses and a glass of wine or two. The portion size is generous, but not overkill. You leave there well-fed, sometimes with a little something to take home.

The decor is nice -- casual chic and modern, but not pretentious in the least and very relaxing. It's the kind of place you can go dressed up or in jeans or shorts and you won't feel out of place. It has a concrete floor, modern lighting, a mosaic mural on one of the walls (which is the focal piece decor-wise), and marble square bistro tables with modern wood chairs. There is a chalkboard with all the day's specials on the wall, along with dried pastas and other accoutrements displayed along the wall. There is also a nice patio space, surrounded by hedges that create a cozy little outdoor dining area.

There’s an authenticity of the experience, and I don't just mean the food. You get the sense that you are getting the real thing at Joey's, that they take time to prepare something special for you, and that there is a lot of love that goes into the preparation. I think that is a fairly rare thing these days.

Name: Weiyi Chen

Occupation: Executive Recruiter

Lives in: Fort Lauderdale

Restaurant Pick: Don Arturo

Restaurant Reviewed: Joey’s on 1/28/12 at 6:30pm

Wynwood for first time visitors must be a mixed affair of conflicting emotions – trepidation of the drive there, followed by awe of the abundant personality that is evident in this neighborhood. Joey’s sits next to the Wynwood Walls in the heart of the Art District. It was Saturday night, so most street parking was already occupied; thankfully Joey’s valet was ready to serve. This stylishly industrial restaurant was very welcoming; from the prompt hellos at the host tables to the friendly wait staff. After opting for outdoor seating, I was escorted to the small and cozy terrace which was lined by tall hedges.

After a few suggestions from my waiter, I started with the Balsamic Sopressata with Fresh Ricotta served with marinated artichokes – beautifully plated, seared Italian dry cured meat served atop marinated artichokes with fluffy ricotta. The dish was delicious; a wonderful mix of salty cured meat, briny artichokes and creamy ricotta. The sopressata was chewy and well-balanced by the ricotta and artichokes and drizzle of olive oil and balsamic.

Next up was the Dolce e Piccante Pizza, a thin crust pizza with gorgonzola cheese, fig medallions, honey and hot pepper. My waiter recommended this pizza and told me that this was going to be my ‘most memorable pizza experience’. He was absolutely spot on! The thin chewy crust was tossed to order and the pizza was cooked in a wood fire pizza. The pizza was salty from the cheese with a mellow sweetness from the honey and fig but it finished with a spicy kick from the peppers. The flavors of the pizza were meant to be together; it is creative, unique and delicious. Joey’s has me hooked on their pizza. They offer a generous portion, amazing crust and creative toppings.

I ordered one of the specials of the day, Rabbit with Lemon/Orange Sauce served with Parmesan Risotto. I could instantly smell the zesty citrus sauce when the waiter entered the room with the dish. Again, I was impressed by the portion size of the meal – it was huge! The rabbit was fork-tender and fell off the bone - no knife was necessary. The citrus sauce was fresh with striking mouth-watering bitter notes from the lemon and orange zest. The sauce was like a savory marmalade and acted as a terrific balance to the slightly gamey rabbit. The parmesan risotto was disappointing; it was bland, undercooked, and did not seem to complement the delicious rabbit.

As Joey’s was an Italian eatery, I felt obliged to try a pasta and thus ordered the Pasta Carbonara. Yet again, they impressed me with their portion size; a large bowl of fettuccini with a generous distribution of pancetta. The noodles were perfectly cooked and mixed with a heavenly cream sauce. The smoky pancetta and ample cracked black pepper added a nice bite to the dish.

For dessert, I got the Upside-down Pear Tart served with Vanilla Ice Cream and Honey. I’m not sure if being upside-down made a difference, but the dessert was wonderful. The tart was light, fluffy and cake-light; it was served warm and with a scoop of ice cream. The honey added lingering notes of wild flowers.

Overall, my experience at Joey’s was very positive. The friendly servers were attentive without being overbearing; they brought fresh plates for each course with military precision. The atmosphere was stylish and fitting for Wynwood. However, the hedges did not block out the loud airport noise nor the obscure howling of the pedestrians on the other side, but that’s Wynwood for you. Joey’s is a great spot with friendly service, excellent food, and generous portions.

Name: Dorothy Dutter

Occupation: Teacher

Lives in: Lake Worth

Restaurant Pick: The Cottage

Restaurant Reviewed: Joey’s on 1/28/12 at 2:00pm

The restaurant was located in an industrial area that has been revitalized into art galleries, shops and restaurants. When we arrived we were sat immediately. We sat out on the patio. The staff were all very friendly and accommodating. They were doing a busy lunch trade that day, but it did not affect service at all. Our waiter was knowledgeable about the menu and the wine list. He suggested the Italian white wine. He allowed a taste first to see if I liked it. It was exactly what I was wanting. A nice cool dry white wine that went down smooth.

The service was excellent. The busboy sometimes was a little too eager to take away our plates before we finished.

The food was of the highest freshest quality. The salmon appetizer was very light and refreshing. My main course of the grilled vegetables over polenta was fabulous. The eggplant and mushrooms were grilled just right. The polenta was creamy and tasteful. Not too rich, but perfect for an afternoon lunch. My friend had the veal. The veal was tender and cooked perfectly. The mushroom cream sauce was heavenly. We ended our meal with the Petite fudge cake…words are hard to describe how incredible this cake was. Creamy, not too sweet or rich with the right amount of marzapan.

The décor was contemporary, comfortable and a bit artsy.

Our waiter Jose Carlos, told us all about the art district we were in. He gave us brochures to let us know about upcoming events. He explained the art walk that the owner of the restaurant created. We ended up strolling the Art Walk, taking photos of the murals. It was an extremely delightful afternoon.

Restaurant Information

Location: 2506 NW 2nd Ave. Miami, FL 33127
Parking: valet available
Phone: 305-438-0488
Restaurant Owners: Joey Goldman
Executive Chef: Ivo Mazzon
Pastry Chef: Ivo Mazzon

Type of Cuisine: Italian International
Signature Dishes: pizza, lamb shank, Mediterranean fish 
Vegetarian Options: pizza, funghi alla trevisana, piatto verde
Alcohol Served: full bar, wine and beer
Corkage Fee: $15
Bottle Limit: 4

Restaurant Hours:
Monday – 11:30 am – 3:30 pm & 6 pm – 11:30 pm
Tuesday – 11:30 am – 3:30 pm & 6 pm – 11:30 pm 
Wednesday – 11:30 am – 3:30 pm & 6 pm – 11:30 pm
Thursday – 11:30 am – 3:30 pm & 6 pm – 12:00 am
Friday – 11:30 am – 3:30 pm & 6 pm – 12:00 am
Saturday – 12 pm – 12:30 am
Sunday – closed

Meals Served: lunch and dinner
Prix Fix Menu: available upon request
Take-Out: yes
Delivery: N/A
Average Dinner Price Range (per person, full meal, tax, 15% gratuity, w/o alcohol): $35
Average Lunch Price Range (per person, full meal, tax, 15% gratuity, w/o alcohol): $22
Payment Options: do you accept credit cards and if so, which ones? Visa, MC, Amex, Discover
Accept Reservations: yes
Need Reservations: recommended on weekends, Thursdays 
How far in advance do you require reservations be made: 5 to 7 days

Accommodations for Children: yes
Dining Style: all welcomed
Disabled Access: yes
Restaurant Size: 75
Accommodate Groups: yes
Private Dining Room: no
Tables with Scenic Views: street view, performance view
Outdoor Dining: yes
Entertainment: yes– Live Music – Thursdays and Second Saturdays of every month