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Patio Isola
Photograph: Courtesy Patio IsolaPappardelle alla Bolognese di Agnello

Chef José Mendín transforms La Placita into a charming Italian trattoria

The MiMo spot got a fresh look.

Virginia Gil
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Virginia Gil
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When one door closes, another—albeit a more delicious one—opens. Such is the case for La Placita, chef José Mendín’s Puerto Rican restaurant on Biscayne Boulevard (the one with the giant flag on its facade), which shuttered earlier this year. In its place, Mendín—alongside his partners, chef Santo Agnello, Sergio Navarro, Jose Luis Serrato, Julian Gil and Antonio Ortiz—is set to open Patio Isola on July 15. 

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

Patio Isola
Photograph: Courtesy Patio IsolaCasarecce

Patio Isola is also introducing pizzas to the mix, slinging them straight from its new outdoor oven. There’s the polpetta topped with meatballs, the primavera that’s brimming with veggies and the Placita pie, a meaty ode to the original restaurant that features pastrami, ham, roasted chicken, mozzarella, papitas and pink sauce. 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. Saladas and classic Italian mains (eggplant parm, pork chops, chicken parm) round out the food selection.

The additional space (read: Casa Isola is small) means more room to spread out and hang. Patio Isola offers an array of aperitifs, spritzes, negronis and other Italian cocktails to enjoy al fresco, all summer long. Cheers to new beginnings.

Patio Isola
Photograph: Courtesy Patio IsolaIsola Arancini

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