Chef José Mendín transforms La Placita into the Italian restaurant Patio Isola

When one door closes, another, albeit more delicious, opens. This is the case of La Placita, the Puerto Rican restaurant of chef José Mendín on Biscayne Boulevard (the one with the giant flag on its facade), which closed earlier this year. In his place, Mendín, alongside his partners Chef Santo Agnello, Sergio Navarro, Jose Luis Serrato, Julian Gil and Antonio Ortiz, are expected to open Patio Isola the 15th of July.

The reimagined trattoria — a larger offshoot of its popular Miami Beach restaurant, Casa Isola — debuts a lush garden patio and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, where diners can experience the signature pasta dishes of the Chef Agnello as well as new additions to the extensive Italian menu. Isola regulars will recognize made-from-scratch favorites like rigatoni alla vodka and pappardelle alla bolognese, as well as the branzino aqua pazza, which is always a hit.

Photo: Courtesy of Patio IsolaCasarecce

Patio Isola also adds pizzas to the mix, taking them straight out of its new outdoor oven. There’s the polpetta topped with meatballs, the primavera which is loaded with vegetables and the Placita tart, a meaty ode to the original restaurant which offers pastrami, ham, roast chicken, mozzarella, papitas and sauce pink. It’s not the traditional pie you might expect from an Italian restaurant, but it wouldn’t be a Mendín production without a hint of Puerto Rican flavor. Salads and classic Italian dishes (eggplant parmesan, pork chops, chicken parmesan) round out the food selection.

The extra space (read: Casa Isola is small) means more room to spread out and hang out. The Patio Isola offers a menu of aperitifs, spritzes, negronis and other Italian cocktails to enjoy outdoors, all summer long. Long live new beginnings.

Patio Isola
Photo: Courtesy of Patio IsolaArancini Island

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