Healthy food at a fast-food pace: the newest branch of Giardino Gourmet Salads delivers on its promise to provide hungry patrons with nutritious meals and speedy service.
Friendly employees greet customers coming into the small but quaint restaurant on US-1. The tiny iron tables and faux-brick decor are reminiscent of a breezy sidewalk café.
Salads, available for eat-in, takeout or delivery, are made with fresh, natural ingredients in front of customers. They range from conventional salads like the Country Cobb, Traditional Caesar, and Greek Village, to original creations such as the Crab Louis (tomatoes, red peppers, red onions, egg, and crab), Napa (brie cheese, grapes, pecans, and olives), and Fizz (strawberries, walnuts, and blue cheese). Customers can also choose their own ingredients for a “My Way!” custom salad.
For an extra dollar, a scoop of one of the homemade mixed salads is a good way to add protein to an all-vegetable dish. Tropical chicken, creamy tuna and southwestern bean are just some of the options available, with the curry turkey standing out as an instant palate pleaser. These mixed additions can also be purchased separately by the pound.
Wraps can be made from any of the salad selections on rice paper or a tortilla. A soup of the day, also made with fresh vegetables, is a good complement to a salad or wrap.
Other highlights from the menu include the crisp and slightly sweetened vegetable chips and chocolate covered nuts. Delectable desserts include coconut date and nut balls, dry or fresh fruit, and ambrosia salad.
The one downside: the prices. The “piccolo,” or small salad, is reasonably priced at $6.50, but the largest is $11.00. The wraps are also reasonable at $6, but salad mixes like the curry turkey can range from $6-$10 per pound. A good idea would be to buy the piccolo and add a scoop of meat for a more filling meal or share a medium-sized “basta” ($8.75) or “grande” with a friend.
If You Go
What: Giardino Gourmet Salads
Where: The new South Miami branch is located on 6653 S. Dixie Highway
When: Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Closed Sunday.
Price: $2.80 – $12.00