Ask us to describe Ariete and we’ll give you a few different answers. It’s a restaurant for people who want to eat food you won’t find anywhere else in Miami. It’s a casual neighborhood spot where you can sit at the bar and make a mess out of a really good burger. It’s where you can celebrate a special occasion, order a nice bottle of wine, and wear clothes from that fancy part of your closet you never have a good excuse to visit.
And that’s the only difficult thing about Ariete - explaining it. It’s a multiple-choice question where every answer is correct, but the best way to sum it up is to simply say: it’s phenomenal.
Of all the special things about this Coconut Grove restaurant, it’s the food that stands out the most - and that’s because of the always-exciting menu. There are so many wonderful dishes that you can find here - and nowhere else in Miami - like a gorgeous monkfish wellington, chicken foie mousse and duck and sour orange pate shaped into an impressively realistic orange, and a prehistorically old school duck press dinner for two.
Ariete’s menu takes you on some wild detours to places like France and Cuba - but it also never lets you forget you’re in South Florida. Ingredients are local when possible, rotate seasonally, and the fish in the ceviche is always fresh from an ocean just a few blocks away.
There are certainly some monocle-fancy dishes at Ariete, but the restaurant is anything but stuffy. The space is comfortable, with low ceilings, just the right number of tables, and the kind of laid-back atmosphere that can make a two-hour dinner feel like 30 minutes. The service is also consistently excellent. The courses are paced perfectly and servers describe the slightly more unusual dishes with the gentle authority of a very good fourth-grade teacher explaining the concept of fractions.
Even though the food can be upscale enough to justify a violinist in the dining room, you won’t feel weird if you come here by yourself, sit at the bar, and hang out with a cheeseburger. You could also bring a date, or your parents, or both when the time comes to introduce them over some grilled oysters and great cocktails. There’s no wrong answer for, “Why should you eat at Ariete?” So instead of wasting any more time, just pick a reason and come.
The menu at Ariete changes frequently, but here are a few examples of the kind of dishes you might find here.
Not only is this hands-down the best tableside presentation in town, it’s also one of the most impressive and delicious meals you can have in Miami. Essentially, they cook a duck for two, but the show really starts when they wheel this medieval-looking gold contraption to the table. It’s used to compress various parts of the duck into a rich sauce, which they then use to smother the absolute best duck you’ll ever taste in your life. The meal costs $125, serves two, and also comes with flaky duck pastelitos, pistachio dukkah duck tamale, and a salad. They only serve a limited amount of this per night, so arrive early (like, before 8pm) for the best chance to get one.
These hot little oysters are filled with chive and a healthy amount of bone marrow butter instead of your average mignonette - which is like upgrading from a reliable sedan to a Ferrari rocketship that runs on bone marrow butter.
The ceviche changes often here - both in the locally-caught fish they use and in its presentation. However, it’s always excellent and worth ordering - especially if you plan on getting one of the heavier meat entrees or the duck press dinner.
You will not see the Chug Burger on the menu, but they still serve a limited amount per night. It is one of Miami’s best burgers - with two perfect patties, American cheese, pickles, and secret sauce between a sesame seed bun. If you are hell-bent on getting one, maybe walk a few blocks over to Chug’s, Ariete’s sister restaurant, instead. It’s a full-time menu item over there, and (as deep as our love for this burger goes) there are more impressive things on Ariete’s menu.
This is a really interesting (and delicious) piece of meat. It has the flavor of short rib, but the texture of pastrami. It’s also not a bad dish to share since the meat is very rich, so if you have someone to split this with, go for it.
If you’re someone who worries about venison tasting gamey, know that won’t happen with this beautiful medium-rare cut. And if you’re someone who knows venison can be just as tasty as any piece of meat when handled right, you probably already ordered this. Smart move.
The crazy thing about Ariete’s flan isn’t necessarily that they use candy cap mushrooms in the custard, but that they’ve found a way to vastly improve a dessert we thought we’d tasted every conceivable version of. This is our favorite flan in Miami - and it’s not even close.