By Lisa Petrillo

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Tucked in a strip mall off 52nd Street and NE 2nd Avenue is Boia De, a small retro yet modern hidden gem owned by chef couple Luci Giangrandi and Alex Meyer.

This is the first restaurant for the duo, who before that operated a popular Mexican food cart in The Miami Design District.

They met several years ago when they worked together in the kitchen in New York.

“We started out as friends. It was a slow burn,” said Meyer.

“Kind of like ‘When Harry Met Sally,’” said CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo, laughing.

We can’t directly translate from Italian what ‘Boia De’ means, but Luci says it loosely means “Oh, My.”

“It’s an Italian phrase, meaning a nice surprise. That feeling we hope you get when you walk through the doors here,” said Luci.

(CBS4)

Boia De is a neighborhood spot, with just 24 seats that fill up nightly. There’s also a well-rounded wine list of over 75 selections.

“We want people to feel welcome and comfortable so they can have nice food and drink and beautiful wine, but want it to be approachable. They should ask questions and have fun,” said Luci.

As for the food, it’s Italian-centric. Sophisticated, yet whimsical.

Both chefs have worked in acclaimed kitchens in New York and Los Angeles and the proof is what they put on the plate.

Ricotta gnocchi with cherry Pomodoro from Boia De in Little Haiti. (CBS4)

Like the ricotta gnocchi with cherry Pomodoro. The gnocchi are filled with a mix of goat cheese and ricotta.

“The sauce is cherry Pomodoro. There’s a little bit of basil garlic olive oil. It’s very basic, very straight forward very simple and delicious,” said Luci.

“It really has a nice flavor and the gnocchi has nice texture to it,” said Petrillo.

Baked clams alla parmesana from Boia De in Little Haiti. (CBS4)

Then there’s the baked clams alla parmesana.

“The clams are gently cooked in the oven first so they still taste tender. If you cook too long, clams can get rubbery but these are nice and soft and the Andouille gives it savory, salty crunchy with the spicy breadcrumbs,” said Alex.

Hamachi Crudo with Yuzu Salsa Verde and Fried Capers from Boia De in Little Haiti. (CBS4)

The Hamachi crudo with yuzu salsa verde is fresh, fun and tasty. Hamachi is Japanese yellowtail.

There is also the beef tartare in tomata sauce, which is tuna based with crispy capers, breadcrumbs, and chives. The meat is chopped hangar steak.

Beef tartare in tomata sauce from Boia De in Little Haiti. (CBS4)

“First of all, I love it, and what is it that makes it crunchy and salty on top?” asked Petrillo.

“That’s the breadcrumbs because it gets mixed with garlic and shallots,” said Luci.

“The texture is there because we hand cut the steak. The tomata has intensity, it keeps it balanced,” said Luci.

Boia De, where the vibe is laid back and the cuisine is elevated and exciting.

The restaurant is open 7 days a week for dinner.

For more info: www.boiaderestaurant.com or call (305) 967-8866.

Lisa Petrillo

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