SOUTH MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It is a family affair at Mi’talia Kitchen and Bar in South Miami.
Chefs Jeff McInnis & Janine Booth, who are both executive chef partners and life partners (the two married last January), have teamed up with Grove Bay Hospitality Group to open this charming eatery.
The busy chefs have Stiltsville Fish Bar on Miami Beach and Root and Bone, which is their neighbor in this South Miami spot.
“We love this area. There are a lot of nice people and families that come in. It’s a real neighborhood,” said McInnis.
Mi’talia is filled with light and natural accents everywhere.
For Booth, it all begins with sunflowers and food she calls “sun cuisine.”
“Sunflowers are my favorite flower so you’ll kind of see little bits of sunflowers everywhere,” Booth said. “You’ll find them on the table and going on all over the place even in the bathrooms.”
Booth, who grew up in Australia and Jeff, a Florida native, might seem unlikely to tackle Italian food, but both traveled to Italy together and Booth grew up around it.
“My dad took over an Italian restaurant in Australia called ‘The Sicilian’ and we would go in all the time and it really exposed me to Italian food,” she said.
“The word Mi’talia says it all. It’s my version of Italian, we did it our way,” said McInnis.
Back in the kitchen, Chef Jeff prepares their classic sunflower pizza.
It has sun gold tomatoes, squash, lemon zest, pistachio pesto, ricotta cheese and sunflower seeds.
“I feel like it’s a Florida pizza, light and thin,” Petrillo said after tasting.
“The idea of the restaurant is to take Italian food but use it in sunny, Miami environment,” said McInnis.
Next, a Mi’talia favorite is a pasta they call “Not Your Nonna’s Bolognese.”
“Obviously it’s a hearty meal but it doesn’t feel heavy,” said Petrillo. “Truly delicious.”
They finish off with their homemade Limoncello.
Then, on to a decadent dessert called Caramel Budino, a filled caramel pudding, chocolate ganache, and mascarpone.
Mi’talia is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner and brunch on the weekends.
For more info: www.mitaliakitchen.com