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Nom Nom Nom – Review: Cantina 71

For this week’s review, we will do something different. For the very first time, our restaurant won’t be in the state of MA. I recently just came back from a trip to the hot (and steamy) state of Florida. On my trip, I got to walk around Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and, of course, Miami Beach, where Cantina 71 is located at.

Cantina 71
216 71st St.
Miami Beach, FL 33141

Review Date: August 2010

Orzo salad; Photo courtesy of Legna

Cantina 71 is a nice and cozy Italian restaurant, up near NORTH Miami Beach, NOT the Southern part where all the other restaurants, bars, and college kids lie. This place boasts that they use all organic ingredients. Good, at least they’re healthy. For appetizers, we started with the Orzo Salad. The salad came in a BIG bowl (if you’ve ever eaten pho, then the bowl is about the size of a large pho). Seriously, I can eat that whole bowl by myself and call that my meal! And even more seriously, I can eat that whole bowl by myself because it was just that dang good. The salad was just a bunch of greens, carrots, and slices of grilled chicken tossed together in an olive oil/balsamic vinagrette mixture, with some barley on top. I can tell you that I’m a big fan of barley-anything so that’s what did it for me. I think we all just killed that salad to the last barley and I can’t speak for the others, but that definitely left my lips licking wanting for some more! Mmm nom nom nom! I think for the other appetizer, we had ordered the Scoppiata di cozze, which is just mussels in white wine sauce. Due to dietary restrictions, I didn’t want to try any so I can’t speak on that.

Mussels in white wine sauce; Photo courtesy of Legna

Now for the entrees, after listening to our waiter list all of today’s specials out for us, only one stood out in my mind that I wanted to try; I’m not sure of the actual name for it but it was basically just salmon wrapped in proscuitto. Now, contrary to popular belief, I’ve been to my fair share of Italian restaurants, but I haven’t really tried anything more different than the usual spaghetti and marinara sauce. So if anything, I did get to learn what proscuitto actually is today (ha ha). And for those of you who don’t know, I’ll let Wikipedia explain it for you:

Prosciutto is an Italian word for ham. In English, the term prosciutto is almost always used for a dry-cured ham that is usually sliced thinly and served uncooked; this style is called prosciutto crudo in Italian and is distinguished from cooked ham, prosciutto cotto.

Salmon wrapped in prosciutto; Photo courtesy of Legna

The taste of prosciutto kinda reminded me of the Chinese dried and salted fish and the texture is kinda like the Chinese dried and cured duck meat. The salmon was cooked to about medium and it was okay. The only flaw about it was, with the prosciutto wrapped on top of the salmon, it was a bit tough to cut through it with just a measly steak knife without the cured meat to fall apart. But despite all that, it tasted good! In between the prosciutto and the salmon was a long piece of herb (I’m not sure what it was), but I can definitely taste it with the meat, even after I took it out (it was too tough to cut through). For the other entrees, we had ordered the Veal Chop and another pasta dish, which I didn’t try, but other people can weigh in and give me their opinions below ๐Ÿ˜‰

Veal chop; Photo courtesy of Legna

The service was excellent. Our waiter was very friendly and helpful to us. He answered whatever questions we had about the dishes and kept our glasses of water constantly filled. The ambiance was cool too. It was a pretty romantic environment, with the dimmed lights and live music (there was someone playing the guitar and singing towards the back). There’s a full bar too, though we didn’t have any drinks.

Money: $$ (out of 4)

Good date place? Yes, this certainly would be. Almost all Italian restaurants would be good to bring a date ๐Ÿ˜‰

Grade: B+

Would I return? (Yay or nay): Yay. I would, but… with the amount of other restaurants that I haven’t tried yet on Miami Beach, I would want to try something new before coming back here again.



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  • KM

    I went to this place once and have been wanting to go back everytime I’m in the area. They had a good selection entrees and apps