Tao Group Hospitality — the global hospitality group with a vast portfolio of restaurants, nightclubs, and other venues across 20 markets and four continents — has teamed up with Miami-based Groot Hospitality for a new Italian venture in Miami.
Tao (TAO and Hakkasan) and Groot Hospitality, led by David Grutman (Komodo, LIV, and Gekko) opened Casadonna, a coastal Italian-inspired restaurant that debuted Oct. 26 in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood. The partnership was almost seven years in the making and is Tao’s first foray into South Florida.
“If we were going to collaborate, it had to be on something really special,” Grutman said. “The building is from 1926. It stands out with all these modern skyscrapers around it. It’s totally old-school Miami.”
Casadonna is located inside a historic waterfront building along Biscayne Bay that also houses the Miami Women’s Club — hence the name, which means home and woman, respectively, in Italian. The space spans 20,000 square feet and can host 366 guests across its multiple bars and dining rooms.
Designer Ken Fulk pulled inspiration from the building itself, as well as the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens located down the coast, as well as the famous Long Bar at the Raffles hotel in Singapore. The restaurant features a courtyard bar in the building’s original atrium, while lush greenery and a retractable roof evoke a secret garden.
Inside, the garden dining room was designed to feel like a classic conservatory with plaster walls, while the Loggia dining room has parquet wood floors, a coffered ceiling, and custom chandeliers, plus windows looking out to Biscayne Bay.
“We knew we wanted to do something that felt right for being a waterfront restaurant, so we landed on coastal Italian,” Grutman said.
Casadonna opened for dinner first, then expanded to brunch on Nov. 11. The menus feature fresh, local ingredients as well as others sourced straight from Italy, and recipes are based on dishes and techniques found in seaside towns like Naples and Positano.
The dinner menu includes shared starters ranging from oysters and tuna tartar to young artichokes and focaccia. A section of crudos brings langoustine, amberjack and wagyu beef carpaccio to the table, while antipasti dishes include grilled octopus, fritto misto and a couple salads.
Diners in the mood for pasta can choose from options like spaghetti nero with lobster, shrimp and clams, and tagliatelle with Meyer lemon and caviar. Large plates include Dover sole, branzino, diver scallops, filet mignon and lamb chops, plus a couple of bistecca options that serve two.
Cocktails range from the light and citrusy Amalfi Lemonade to Italian classics, with a trio of Negronis and spritzes.
“Having started my career in hospitality while a student at University of Miami in the ‘90s, this project really feels like a homecoming for me,” Noah Tepperberg, the co-CEO of Tao Group Hospitality, said.
When Tao signed onto the project almost seven years ago, Tepperberg was excited about the location and partnering with Groot. “Over time, we grew even deeper in love with the building and the opportunity to be one of the first higher end hospitality venues in the up-and-coming Edgewater area.”
Tepperberg says the partnership has been a true joint venture. “We are equal partners and have enjoyed sharing the workload to date. Both teams are so good at what they do, so the combination of best practices and integration of the two corporate cultures has been something we have paid extra attention to, and [it] has been seamless and efficient.”