A younger generation of the Monastero clan totes dishes laden with culinary labors of love perfected in the time since Joe Monastero founded Monastero’s Ristorante, now celebrating its 50-year anniversary. Imported Sicilian wines partner with plates piled with house-made pastas and from-scratch feasts wrought from decades-old family recipes. Twelve hand-painted shields showcase the foreign conquerors who left their culinary mark and business-casual armor on Sicily, and a painting of the castle in the Monastero’s hometown transports diners to that sun-soaked land with the aid of live entertainment on weekends.
Taste of Cuba's kitchen crafts a menu full of traditional Cuban eats concocted using fresh ingredients each day. Among the ranks of pressed sandwiches, the kingly cubano ($5.50) stands tall, bursting with sliced ham and roasted pork. The famous jibarito sandwich ($5.75) attracts paparazzi by canoodling with both grilled steak and onions, covering the affair with plantains and garlic mojo, then putting the whole thing on blast via Twitter. The roster of entrees includes the pechuga de pollo ($9.95), which finds a grilled chicken breast rubbed in savory spices. Fend off a food coma with a bracing cup of Cuban coffee in one of its myriad iterations ($1.50–$2).
Deemed by the Miami New Times to have the Best Exotic Frozen Desserts in 2009, Via Veneto Gelato serves up oodles of distinctly flavored gelato and confections to sweet tooth collectives. Score a small dish ($4.59), large dish ($5.50), or sugar cone ($4) packed with 1 of more than 40 frozen flavors such as almond chocolate, Nutella, or tiramisu gelato. The three-scoop waffle cone ($4.99) comes stacked with a toothsome trio such as lychee, pistachio, or Super dulce, which pairs a heroic dulce de leche with chocolate-chips sidekicks to fight against bland, soft-serve foes. Sorbets such as blackberry, mango, and passion fruit nest deliciously in a cup cone ($3.25) and fat-free, sugar-free Doppiozeros such as coconut and strawberry can be whisked out of the establishment in bambino ($2.80), giovani ($3.95), or signor ($6.95) to-go containers. The confectionery also crafts cakes and offers snacks for dessert diners looking to thaw out their palates.
Chefs at Kabob 2 charbroil and sauté a menu’s worth of authentic Mediterranean cuisine, rich with parsley, garlic, and spices. Culling preparation techniques from across the Mediterranean, the restaurant sidekicks favorites such as falafel and shawarma with entrees including rotisserie-grilled beef, marinated lamb, and freshly blended hummus. Kabob 2 invites patrons to bring their own wine or beer, encouraging half-empty bottles to find similarities with tabletop vases filled with flowers.
Psistaria Greek Taverna evokes an authentic atmosphere through its friendly staff and Mediterranean menu, which is crafted from Greek imported extra-virgin olive oil, herbs, and spices. Amid white tablecloths and hardwood floors, cold starters of cucumber yogurt and Greek imported feta arrive beside hot appetizers of shrimp and sweetbreads. The eatery's entrees include juicy chicken, swordfish, and various incarnations of lamb, which descend still steaming from the broiler, and the rhythms of live greek entertainment inspire diners and sentient flatware to sway tableside. During warm-weather months, patrons can venture outdoors to the patio, where savory indulgences such as baklava cap off meals.
The art of pastry baking is a careful ordeal. Each morning, long before the sun starts to shine on Lake Michigan, the team at Libanais Sweets is up making sure their specialties are crisp and flaky on the outside and soft and warm on the inside. They specialize in baked goods from around the world, including Eastern pastries such as baklava and European pastries ranging from éclairs to mille-feuille and tiramisu. In addition, the Libanais staff crafts specialties like chocolate lollipops, which are ideal for special events but can’t be used to bribe the rare bird that would prefer a broccoli pop.