Sunday, August 24, 2014

Riviera Focacceria: Where Italians Go For Focaccia

Recco-Style Focaccia at Riviera Focacceria.
What comes to mind when thinking about Focaccia? If you are like most people, you probably instantly thought of the soft, fluffy pizza-type bread that has been popularized in Italian restaurants all around the world. If that is the case, I have news for you: real focaccia, the kind that was invented hundreds of years ago in the Ligurian town of Recco, has nothing to do with this fluffy version. Recco-style focaccia actually consists of two incredibly thin layers of dough stuffed with dreamy melted cheese, and it is one of those delicacies that is very rarely seen outside of Italy. Fortunately, if you live in Miami you too can enjoy this unique dish thanks to Riviera Focacceria, a new Ligurian restaurant that opened in Midtown Shops a couple of months ago.

If you go to Riviera Focacceria, you absolutely must have the Focaccia di Recco. It would simply be a crime not to. The traditional cheese one is filled with stracchino, a tasty soft cheese that is so unique and important in the production of the dish, that it is flown weekly directly from Italy. A couple of months ago, I was lucky to try the original dish in Recco, so I was a bit skeptical before having it again in Miami, thinking that it would never be the same as my experience in Italy. I am happy to report that it is exactly the same, and this is thanks to Massimo Travaglini, the Geneva-born Master Focaccere and Executive Chef of the restaurant, who specializes not only in this unique focaccia, but also, in traditional dishes from the Northern Italian region of Liguria. 

Incredibly thin Recco-style focaccia.
The great thing about this place is that they have different types of focaccia, including one with ham (Focaccia con Cotto) and one with Genovese pesto, a sauce made with local organic sweet basil, pine nuts, parmigan cheese, garlic and Ligurian extra virgin olive oil. Normally, I would have gone for the pesto one in a heartbeat, but given that my boyfriend cannot stand the smell of garlic and having it would have meant having to be at least 3 ft. away from him the rest of the night, I decided to go for the traditional cheese one instead. This turned out to be a great choice and a win-win for both of us. 

Just like the focaccia, the rest of the menu is also top notch. Since the place is also known for its homemade and always fresh pasta, I went for the Pansoti al Sugo di Noci, a light dumpling filled with spinach, ricotta cheese, chards and spices and than served with a delicate walnut sauce, which also turned out to be a perfect choice. The sauce was so creamy and cheesy that I ended up scraping my plate with the fork to enjoy every last bit!

Despite my initial pre-judgement, I was quite impressed with my experience at Riviera Focacceria. This place is as authentic as you can get in the states, and it is most definitely a new addition to my list of favorite Italian restaurants in Miami.

Cheers,
Miami Mich


Traditional Recco Focaccia, stuffed with bubbling stracchino cheese.
Pansoti al Sugo di Noci, a light dumpling filled with spinach, ricotta cheese, chards and spices and than served with a delicate walnut sauce.
Casual, family ambiance at Riviera Focacceria.
Sacripantina - classic Genovese dessert made with sponge cake and filled with chocolate and vanilla cream.

Riviera Focacceria Italiana: 3252 NE Buena Vista Blvd, Miami FL, 33137.  

Riviera Focacceria Italiana on Urbanspoon

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