The flames inside the stacked stone oven at Tucci's lightly char thin pizzas made with 20 types of toppings and five kinds of cheese, including ricotta and fresh mozzarella. Below modern lights that hang overhead like glowing popsicles, cheesy pizzas pair with sautéed spinach, broccoli rabe, and escarole with sausage and fire-roasted chicken. While sipping on glasses of wine, guests can ask servers about getting pizzas on multigrain bread, or retreat to the outdoor patio.
In a space described by the owners as "rustic chic," Saporissimo’s chefs knead and roll out fresh pasta dough, shave pungent truffles, and prepare wild game to populate a menu that celebrates traditional Tuscan cuisine. Named a defender of Italian culinary excellence by the Italy-America chamber of commerce and praised in the Sun Sentinel for its “unobtrusive, yet attentive” service, Saporissimo seats its guests in chocolate-hued chairs next to white tablecloths in the dining room of what used to be a private house. From the muted yellow walls, sunlight streams through windows during the day to alight on plates of Italian cuisine that Miami's Italian consul general has recognized as authentic, including antipasti of duck-breast carpaccio or a truffled polenta with wild-boar ragu.
Strings of party lights along the ceiling create a warm, low-lit atmosphere at night, encouraging intimate conversations and clandestine swaps of microfiche between bites of pappardelle with wild-boar sausage or wild rabbit braised with wine, garlic, and peppers. Inset into an exposed-brick wall, a six-pane window augments the feeling of dining in a private Tuscan home.
Since opening in March 2010, Speranza has built its bubbly reputation around its menu of personalized service, blue-ribbon ingredients, and fresh pizza forged in 800-degree wood-burning ovens. Owners Mario and Renata Alto channel their passion for pies into more than a dozen gourmet dough-saucers. The pizzeria offers startling pizza combinations, such as the Portuguese, which melds ham, baked eggs, olives, and onions with classic fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan (starting at $18.40). As pizzas flash-bake within four minutes, speed-nosh on starters of calamari fritti ($11.95) or hulking insalatas di campo ($11.90), brimming with enough greens to feed families, giants, and families of giants. On Speranza's signature plate of lobster ravioli ($17.95), crustaceans stuff themselves into pasta pillows for a slumber party with ricotta, creamy lobster sauce, and fresh basil. Unwind postmeal with a digestif that warms senses, souls, and tautly stretched pizza bellies.
Authentic Brooklyn Pizza deftly dispatches hunger pangs with an ample menu of thin-crust, Brooklyn-style pizzas and Italian eats. Patrons can taste the tossed-and-true standards of a gourmet pie, such as the Grand Central with a savory spread of carbonara sauce, mozzarella, bacon, and onions ($11.99 for a 10") or the Bayonne, tastefully decorated with marinara, mozzarella, chicken, and basil in the shape of the New Jersey state bird ($11.99 for a 10").
Chef Andrew Bennardo—affectionately known as chef Baba around the kitchen—supervises his house-made mozzarella as it completes its majestic metamorphosis from curd to brick, eventually melting the fully formed cheese atop pastas, pizzas, and other Italian dishes. He and his staff also nestle cured meats, gourmet cheeses, and crisp vegetables into an array of hero sandwiches named for Italian luminaries, such as Verdi, da Vinci, and Galileo. The eatery regales guests with eye-grabbing dinning environs, boasting a ceiling-mounted faux grape arbor and festive red, white, and green walls.
In addition to a robust Italian menu, chef Andrew has recently become well-versed in the ways of organic, whole-food, plant-based diets. After his daughter was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure and needed a double transplant, Andrew witnessed the power of a vegan, plant-based diet during his daughter's recovery. This inspired him to return to school to become certified in raw and vegan cuisine, as well as help open a juicing cafe, Juiceateria. Every Sunday afternoon, chef Andrew reveals his expert techniques in cooking classes, including juicing and organic vegetable and fruit with raw-cooking demonstrations. Assorted juice and smoothie samples are available throughout the class. Juice classes teach their benefits like boosting energy and the immune system, while giving the body a break from hard-to-digest fibers.