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.
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.
Martino’s Italian Cuisine & Pizzeria, family-owned for more than three decades, hosts a staff of servers who sate sauce-craving appetites with regionally inspired Italian entrees and five types of pizza. Diners sink chompers into succulent Italian beef, stuffed artichokes, and layers of lasagna as they sip martinis at the restaurant’s fully stocked bar or imbibe gulps of free oxygen on the outdoor patio. A quintet of pizza varieties greets teeth with a textural smorgasbord of high-quality toppings spread atop thin, double-dough, calzone, pan, and stuffed crusts.
The owner and head chef of Mia Figlia, John Boudouvas, can trace his culinary ambitions back to his childhood when he worked with his father at their family diner on the north side of Chicago. After he shored up his technical expertise with formal training, Boudouvas toured the world to expand his palate. Upon his return to Chicago, he opened his own classic Italian restaurant, naming it Mia Figlia—Italian for "My Daughter"—to honor his familial legacy.
Today, Chef Boudouvas puts a contemporary spin on traditional dishes from the Boot, which feature handmade whole-wheat pasta and market-fresh fish and meats. Like the airborne missiles at a bad comedy show, the restaurant’s weekly specials depend on what local produce is in season. Regular events enhance the restaurant's homelike ambiance, including weekly jazz performances and monthly wine dinners.
Inspired by the traditional eateries of southern Brazil, Al Primo Canto serves rotisserie-roasted meats and eats in a warm, inviting setting. Opt for a family-style meal of multiple courses ($30 per person), or select from an à la carte menu. Preheat your appetite with a classic Brazilian palate-tickler such as caponatto de beringela, a dish of roasted eggplant with tahini paste ($6). Then, move to a main course of veggie-friendly pasta such as homemade gnocchi caprese with tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella ($13) or slow-roasted, mouth-watering meats made in Al Primo Canto's brick-lined charcoal rotisserie, a Brazilian import. Entrees from this alchemical producer of food-gold include the restaurant's signature galeto al primo canto, a young chicken marinated in white wine, fresh garlic, and sage, rotisserie-roasted over natural wood charcoal ($16). Silence any last hunger pangs with desserts such as the Romeo e Julieta, a tragically tasty warm guava cake with vanilla mascarpone sauce ($5).