When we began our restaurant research in advance of our trip to the Bahamas, I was overjoyed to discover there is a Fi'lia location at Baha Mar. I had dined at the one in Miami, FL with my mom, sister, and cousins to celebrate my birthday back in September 2017 (photo of the amazing dessert the waiter brought me) and everything we had that night was delicious.
Fi'lia, the culinary brain child of Chef Michael Schwartz, specializes in Italian food, and is best known for their tableside Caesar salad. The same way Rosa Mexicano rolls over a cart to mix up the guacamole right in front of you, Fi'lia puts on a show chopping, tossing, and garnishing the Caesar. Trust me, order it.
We made a reservation on Open Table weeks before flying down, to ensure we'd get a table at a reasonable hour. Fi'lia is just off the casino floor.
When we approached the hostess stand, we were delighted to learn we could sit outside. After you've just flown in from Boston, where it was 30 degrees, sitting outside in a sun dress (no coat!) is very appealing.
Our waitress came over to introduce herself and put down a basket of bread as well as a dish of olive oil. This was the type of olive oil that tastes like it was just freshly pressed in Italy and shipped directly to your dinner table.
While deciding on food, we ordered drinks. My travel buddy selected a signature cocktail called Parched, which was Absolut vodka, cucumber, parsley-lemon syrup, and soda. I went with a glass of sauvignon blanc.
A few sips in, she shared, "This tastes like a lemon frozen ice, but melted (in the best way possible). I was hoping for a little more parsley, maybe blended in? This was just a sprig. I also can't really taste the booze at all." Booze = a vacation priority.
For food, we selected two appetizers to share. The first to arrive was the asparagus with burrata cheese and sundried tomato tapenade. I don't know about you, but whenever I see burrata on a menu, I have to have it.
We both loved this dish. The asparagus was cooked perfectly - tender and not too fibrous at the ends, the tapenade was sweet, but not overly so, and there was such a generous amount of burrata.
Next, we received a Jenga-like tower of polenta fries with spicy ketchup.
This is what you hope for when you order polenta fries - crispy outside, warm inside - plus a great kick from dunking them in the ketchup.
For the entree round, we both went with the cacio e pepe (my obsession). One of the reasons we were excited to dine at Fi'lia is because they offer gluten-free pasta, which is extremely hard to find, especially in a fine dining restaurant. I ordered the dish as it traditionally comes (spaghetti) and my dinner date got the gluten-free penne.
After the first forkful, she exclaimed, "This is great GF pasta, it tastes real! I also truly appreciate the puddle of butter that is at the bottom of this bowl."
I thought the spaghetti version was excellent, and a valiant contender against my favorite version of this dish, served at Eataly.
Fi'lia does offer dessert, but most of the selections were not gluten-free, so we decided to wander the resort in search of ice cream. We did find a selection of great flavors at Cafe Madeleine - salted caramel for me, guava for my bestie.
While I absolutely loved our meal at Fi'lia - the burrata, the polenta, the pasta and the dining al fresco - there was one was drawback. Where we were seated, we were surrounded by tables of families with toddlers. The kids were refusing to sit, throwing food, running around the patio, or watching videos on iPads / iPhones that were loud and distracting. At one point I witnessed a two-year-old boy throw an entire piece of beautiful-looking margherita pizza straight onto the ground.
We were really looking forward to an elegant evening and I was stunned to discover so many kids.
Stay tuned for more reviews of our dinners out at Baha Mar. Have a question? Leave a comment below or shoot me an email.