During a cloudy day in Miami, we decided it was a perfect day for a leisurely "upscale" lunch. We wanted to try Lippi because it was described as "Mediterranean Tapas". Being a 5 mite walk from from the JW Marriott/Beaux Arts, we strolled down in nice, but casual jean, attire. We were welcomed and escorted to a lovely table. The atmosphere is lovely, elegant and upscale yet with a very comfortable vibe. Note, pictures online did NOT do it justice at all. It has a beautiful onyx bar, marble flooring, elegant lighting, well stocked wine cellar. A very spacious bar area, indoor and outdoor dining. There is no bay view, but who cares once you realize you are in for a unique dining experience. The menu offers many unique plates. Since it was lunch, we selected items we felt would be lighter fare. Each tapas plate is perfect for two people to share. Perhaps at dinner we would try one of the three tasting menus ($75, $95, $125pp) - CHEF'S SELECTION. The wine list offers some excellent "by the glass" options as well as excellent wines from France, California, Italy, Spain - reasonably priced for those into quality wines. The menu has oysters and sushi but we did not try them because we opted for the unique items (ham, onion anchovy tart, langoustines, mushroom risotto, wagu). The steaks are the more substantial plates on the menu.
HOWEVER Please note, this is not a place for "hungry man" dinners-for that go to the nearby Capital Grille. Our waiter suggested a dessert plate, so we selected the Chocolate. OMG! HUGE PLATTER took us by surprise. Dessert consisted of three absolutely amazing homemade ice creams: a scoop each, Raspberry, Chocolate and Strawberry Daiquiri, six miniature cookies that were delicious and perfect with our cappuccino, plus the chefs interpretation of a snickers bar, another chocolate cream dessert, and fruit. For two people, this is a total sugar rush-each item was very good but a bit too much sugar. The ice creams were the best and would opt for those next time. So this restaurant offered upscale ambiance and unique upscale "tapas". To round out the experience, the staff is absolutely stellar - top notch service, seasoned professionals. Yes, it is expensive and the 18% gratuity is automatically included in the bill (which seems to be a Miami thing…). For us, this was a wonderful dining experience. We learned that the lunch and dinner menu are the same. Each plate was presented beautifully, portions are small tapas yet very unique preparations that offer flavor and quality over quantity. This is not a restaurant for anyone that wants large portions, nor is it for anyone that does not appreciate a skilled Chef's creations of "tapas plates". In Los Angeles, we like Jose Andres, A.O.C. for "small plates" - in Miami - LIPPI is the new "tapas experience" and I predict, the soon to be the "hard to get" reservation.