I woke up at 6:43am after dinner at Luca Osteria and panicked. I realized I forgot the leftovers in the car. So I got up, even though I really didn’t want to, and rescued the last bits of cacio e pepe, bucatini alle vongole, 21-month aged prosciutto, and patate fritte. Even in leftover form, the food here was just too good to risk.
Luca Osteria is a Coral Gables Italian restaurant that opened in February along the pedestrian-only Giralda Plaza. It has lots of spacious outdoor seating and a small, bright dining room good for a date or dinner with the parents. But the food, which justified me climbing out of bed at 6:43am to save it, is the big reason to come here. The cacio pepe is perfectly al dente, and the bucatini alle vongole is beautifully balanced with tender manila clams resting on top. There are some excellent non-pasta dishes here too, like a pile of aged prosciutto or finely-minced tuna tartare that’s served with a big slice of toasted bread.
But there is one dish that’s a definite must-order: the patate fritte. It consists of a base of little fried potato balls covered by a creamy layer of parmigiano fonduta, black truffle, and a single egg yolk in the center, which you mix up as soon as it hits the table. Every bite is a perfect little explosion of fluffy potato, truffle, yolk, and cheese. The only way dinner can go wrong here is if you don’t order it. And, in the unlikely event that your table doesn’t wipe the plate clean, please remember to take it out of the car when you get home.
Everything I tried here was great, but this dish was so good that it will make me genuinely sad if you don’t order it. The little fried potato balls are tasty enough on their own, but after being blanketed in a silky parmigiano fonduta, black truffle, and an egg yolk, this dish became one of my favorite plates in the entire city.
Even if you are slightly sick of seeing the words “tuna tartare” on a menu, this is worth getting. It’s a simple but delicious pile of diced tuna and tomato, mixed with olive oil, and topped with small scraps of dried olives. It also comes with a slice of grilled bread, so you can turn the tartare into a kind of open-faced toast.
This pasta is simple and excellent. Bits of smoked pecorino cling to each noodle for dear life, and there’s just the right amount of black pepper (“50 cranks,” according to the server) to cut through the richness.
It was hard to not order this after seeing the words “white wine and pickled garlic butter.” But what ended up being my favorite part of this great dish was the manila clams, which were tender and perfect.
Here are three facts about this tiramisu: it comes in a bowl, has a satisfying distribution of ladyfingers, and is a big enough portion that you won’t have to have a spoon fight if you split it with someone. If you’re sharing with three people or more, though, things might get aggressive.