Have you been to @erbamiami? This new @chefniven restaurant opened 3 weeks ago in Coral Gables in the LifeTime building. It’s Italian inspired and every single dish I tried was amazing! Some of the ingredients come directly farm-to-table from @chefniven’s farm in Homestead. All the flavors are phenomenal. Plus, refreshing cocktails and great wine. It’s another hit for @chefniven & partner @alkassarm to go along with their Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant @gheemiami and many other projects.
Alpareno, one of Miami’s most dynamic restaurant groups led by Co-Founders & Co-Owners/Operators Chef Niven Patel and Mohamed (Mo) Alkassar, today announces the opening of Erba, an Italian-inspired farm to table restaurant in Fall 2023. With its name meaning “herb” in Italian, Erba showcases Chef Niven’s exuberant interpretations of Italy’s cuisine as seen through Miami’s lens of local cultures, colors and energy with farm to glass cocktails and an Italian-focused wine list.
Chef Niven’s cooking incorporates fruits, vegetables and herbs that he cultivates at Rancho Patel, the group’s nearby farm, which are harvested at the height of flavor and freshness. Erba’s décor blends Old World and New World to celebrate love and connection. Accommodating 150 guests in its dining room, bar, Chef’s Table and private dining room, Erba is located at 227 South Dixie Highway in Coral Gables, Fla.
The Latest Addition to Alpareno Restaurant Group’s Award-Winning Portfolio
Erba is the latest addition to Alpareno Restaurant Group, which was founded in 2020 by Chef Niven, a four-time James Beard Award “Best Chef: South” nominee, and Alkassar, a James Beard Award “Outstanding Restaurateur” nominee. The group has made a name for itself with three acclaimed restaurants: Ghee, a casual Indian concept that won Eater Miami’s “Best Restaurant of the Year” and a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2022 and 2023; Mamey, inspired by Chef Niven’s travels in Asia, Polynesia and the Caribbean, which earned a spot on the New York Times’ Top 50 Restaurants, and Orno, a New American restaurant boasting a wood-fired menu that was recognized by the Michelin Guide in 2022 and 2023.
Chef Niven Shares His Vision for Erba
“It has always been an ardent dream of mine to bring Erba to life, and it is the apex of everything we do, all of our hopes and ambitions. My time in Florence had a profound influence on my cooking. I was enchanted by the beautiful seasonality that Italians love and respect, eating from the land and honoring their ingredients. I brought my culinary revelations back to Miami and have adapted them to local ingredients, many of which I grow myself at Rancho Patel. I’m cooking something completely new, original and very personal.”
Mohamed Alkassar on Erba as the Crown Jewel
“Erba is the crown jewel of Alpareno Restaurant Group and our first foray into the world of higher-end dining. It tells the story of Chef Niven, who fell in love with Italy and Italian food over the course of his life-changing travels there. It is a melting pot for those who want to partake in thoughtful hospitality, unique dishes and memorable experiences. We are very excited to share Erba with our friends and neighbors in Coral Gables, Miamians and visitors to our wonderful city.”
Rancho Patel: A Sustainable Approach That Respects the Earth and Its Creatures
Much of the inspiration for Erba’s menus comes from Rancho Patel, which was Chef Patel’s home, and its ecosystem that provides the ability to grow a plethora of fruits, vegetables and herbs. In the summer, the farm harvests mangoes, lychees, taro leaves, curry leaves, okra and eggplant, while in the winter, the crops shift to tomatoes, beans, zucchini, carrots, turnips and herbs. The farm’s soil is lovingly protected using crop rotation, cover crops and composting. In addition, the kitchen works with local fishermen who embrace sustainable fishing techniques and heritage farmers who raise livestock and poultry using humane, eco-friendly practices.
Staying True to Ingredients in Dishes That Riff on the Classics
Chef Niven’s approach to cooking is to really stay true to ingredients and make them shine in very simple but boldly flavored ways. Erba’s culinary program is an eclectic mix of classic and “new age” Italian cuisine. Chef Niven’s cooking imagines what it would be like to be whisked from the Old Country and dropped into Miami’s ecstatic cultural, culinary and agricultural bounty.
Highlights include Roman Hearts of Palm, which forgo traditional artichokes in a nod to Miami’s famous palm trees; Mafaldine, a creative take on Linguine al Vongole using braised Bahamian conch instead of clams; Rotolo Calabaza made with a Latin American squash; and a 42-ounce Bistecca alla Fiorentina, Chef Niven’s ode to Florence. Even Tiramisù is reimagined with housemade ladyfingers, a dousing of espresso and rum to salute Miami’s Latino culture, shards of mocha tuile and a tableside finishing dollop of an espresso and rum zabaione.