MAJOR FOOD GROUP UNVEILS CONTESSA
A Glamorous Italian Restaurant in The Heart of Miami Design District
MIAMI, FL. October 28, 2022 — Major Food Group (MFG)—the globally acclaimed hospitality brand Vogue recently described as “carrying Miami’s decadent dining scene practically single-handedly”—will debut the refined, widely celebrated Italian concept Contessa in the Miami Design District. The restaurant occupies a two-story space in the famed development located at 111 NE 41st Street and is open for lunch, and dinner.
Inspired by the old-world sophistication of Northern Italy’s iconic villas and estates, Contessa is a classic yet thoroughly contemporary dining destination by MFG Co-Founders and creative forces Jeff Zalaznick, Mario Carbone, and Rich Torrisi. The original location of Contessa debuted last year on the rooftop of The Newbury Boston and quickly cemented its reputation as one of the most glamorous and exceptional Italian restaurants in America. Forbes wrote that Contessa is “the place you’ll want to trade in the sweatsuit for high heels or a suit.” The luxury magazine Boston Common declared it the “crème de la crème” of the city’s dining scene. And in a rave, Boston Magazine concluded that “The food is terrific. The views are sublime. The wine list—a Nebbiolo nerd’s cherry-toned, vertical-vintage playground—is deep and dreamy.”
“Contessa Miami channels the singular sense of refinement and pleasure of those Northern Italian meals we wish could go on forever, right in the heart of the Magic City. I can’t think of a more perfect location to bring this restaurant to life, and to share with the people of Miami a menu dedicated to a rich and elegant region we’ve long hoped to celebrate.” – Mario Carbone, MFG Co-Founder
Beyond impeccable Northern Italian fare, Contessa Miami promises MFG’s signature warm, charismatic, and polished hospitality, carefully tailored to the city the company has called home since 2021, when it embarked on a groundbreaking run of restaurant openings in the region, including ZZ’s Club in the Miami Design District, CARBONE and HaSalon on Miami Beach, Dirty French Steakhouse in Brickell and Sadelle’s in Coconut Grove. The company operates a portfolio of 40 restaurants, bars, private clubs, and concepts spread across the globe. In addition to Contessa Miami and a range of upcoming projects in the United States and abroad, the company has several new openings planned for South Florida within the next six months.
“From the moment we arrived, I fell in love with the Miami Design District, and the most iconic corner inevitably made for our beloved Italian restaurant. Contessa is grand and glamorous; it’s designed to be an all-day anchor where you can eat, drink and celebrate into the night in the most elegant yet energetic neighborhood in Miami. Our mission is to continue innovating and elevating luxury dining experiences in the Magic City and I’m honored to once again have the opportunity to collaborate with my dear friend and visionary, Craig Robins.” – Jeff Zalaznick, MFG Co-Founder
FOOD & BEVERAGE
At Contessa Miami, guests will feast on antipasti including a Carpaccio of Chianina Beef, Octopus Agrodolce con Peperone, Squash Carpaccio, and the finest prosciutto and artisanal Italian products in the world. There will be a range of extraordinary signature pizzas, honed to perfection over the last year in Boston, while the primi section features expertly crafted Northern Italian pasta like Spicy Lobster Capellini, Tortellini en Brodo, Rigatoni Carbonara, Fusilli Genovese, and Garganelli Verdi Bolognese. For secondi, the restaurant offers the finest meat, poultry, and fish with dishes like Gamberoni Al Forno con Fagioli, a classic Veal Milanese, and a celebratory, 40-ounce Dry-Aged Bistecca Fiorentina. An array of desserts, including gelati made in-house and cakes of pistachio, amaretti, and gianduja chocolate, conclude the experience.
Contessa’s wine program, created by MFG’s legendary Wine Director John Slover, centers on central and northern Italian denominations, with a special focus on Nebbiolo-based wines from Barolo, Barbaresco, Alte-Piedmont, and Lombardy. In addition, representations from superior wineries in France and North America will supplement the list with sought-after wines from Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Rhone, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir from California and Oregon.
The cocktail list will showcase the work of Bar Director Nathan McCarley O’Neill, who recently joined MFG after years of shaping the cocktail programs for The NoMad Hotel Group worldwide and the iconic Claridge’s in London. Shaken and stirred by a team of expert bartenders, guests can expect cocktails sourced from recipes that date back to the 1920s updated for today’s modern diner. Deploying the full breadth of classic and contemporary techniques, the Contessa cocktail list features favorites like the Spritz, Bellini, Vesper, Negroni, and of course, a perfectly chilled Martini.
Contessa Miami is rooted in the Northern Italian aesthetics established at the original location in Boston, but with a fresh, tailored design that speaks to the high fashion of the Design District. With high-gloss teak woodwork detailing that echoes traditional Italian Riva boat design, the two-story restaurant transports guests to Lake Como circa 1960. As guests enter the first floor through layers of emerald-striped drapery and lush plantings, they are greeted by a rich, jewel-toned marble floor in a bold Deco pattern. Pink Venetian plaster on the walls and ceiling set the stage, along with Italian Murano light fixtures and custom furniture. An elegant and impressive curved grand staircase guides guests upstairs, as they move past a curation of original oil paintings, historic photographs, and vintage gilded wall mirrors that have been lit from above with a soft warm glow.
On the second floor, guests ascend through a gorgeous scrolled opening inspired by a historic lakeside villa. This upper dining room is anchored by the deep teal, high-gloss wall paneling inset with golden antique mirrors, and offset with a warm, smoked-oak herringbone patterned floor. Custom silk pendant lights frame each curved booth and are flanked with lush layers of Italian terracotta planters. At the intimate curved bar, warm teak millwork and embossed leather panels create a rich contrast to the pink palm chandelier and wall sconces, all vintage pieces sourced from Europe.
Architectural photo credit: Michael Stavaridis
Culinary photo credit: Major Food Group