Sunset Harbour's Hot New Date-Night Spot
by stephanie dunn
Sunset Harbour’s new Petit bistro takes advantage of Miami’s weather while serving up a taste of Milan.
Dimly lit trees and flickering candles illuminate the open-air terrace at Petit.
Sometime in between your second and third glass of Barolo, after your first forkful of sublimely al dente tagliatelle, and moments before you realize that, yes, that definitely is Adriana L ima chatting it up at the corner t able, you begin to think that maybe you’re not in Miami anymore.
That’s true, at least in spirit, at Petit, the latest Italian import from Luca Guelfi and Simona Miele. Located on a grassy knoll in Sunset Harbour, Petit manages to be at once trendy and timeless, serving classic pastas, seafood, cheeses, and meats in an atmosphere that evokes the glamour and romance of Milan. Which is fitting, as it was in Italy’s fashion capital that Guelfi opened the original Petit to critical acclaim, drawing a bevy of celebrity fans and more than 14,000 Instagram followers eager to feast their eyes on the dish of the day—scallops crusted with Parma prosciutto; Milanese risotto with bone marrow, saffron, and Parmigiano; and New Zealand lamb chops with Dijon and thyme.
After four years and a packed house almost nightly, Guelfi set his sights on expanding to the US. First stop: Miami Beach. “We wanted to serve local people, beautiful people,” Guelfi says. “So many people who live in Miami Beach are part of an international set, so they’re able to truly appreciate our concept and philosophy.”
That concept, despite the French name, is molto Italiano. The kitchen is staffed almost entirely by Italians; the chef, 28-year-old Gabriele Delgrossi, is from Milan; the manager is Sardinian. The restaurant’s olive oil, wines, coffee, and pastas are sourced from Italy or, like the addictive gnocchi and tagliatelle, made in-house.
An intimate open-air terrace allows for wine and conversation to flow under the stars, with rustic dishes served atop hand-painted tables forged from the lava of Mount Etna. As the night progresses, guests head indoors to mingle over apéritifs and listen to a soundtrack that skips from Pink Martini to the Rolling Stones. The décor elicits the feel of “your best friend’s French farmhouse,” with whitewashed woods, a black and white checkered floor, and mismatched throw pillows. As energy and conversation levels rise, copious candlelight illuminates photos of vintage Chanel ads, Axl Rose, and Jesus Christ.
As Guelfi explains, “It’s uncoordinated, it’s without logic, but it’s what we love.” 1929 Purdy Ave., Miami Beach, 305-534-9887
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.