The kitchen staff at Oggi Ristorante, which Frommer's dubbed a "neighborhood favorite," makes fresh pastas every day. But according to Gayot, this feat is nothing new. Formerly a homemade-pasta supplier for other restaurants, Oggi now stands on its own. Its chefs draw inspiration from homestyle Italian recipes and culinary techniques to creating a menu of comforting, Old-World staples. In addition to making whole-wheat spaghetti and perfectly square meatballs by hand, the chefs also create what Gayot described as "some of the most delicate stuffed pastas and supple seafood dishes in the city." Grilled scottish salmon arrives perched atop a bed of wilted spinach, and tilapia alla livornese is sautéd in a mixture of fresh tomatoes, capers, onions, and black olives. Other options range from classic chicken or veal parmigiana to filet mignon topped with a green-peppercorn sauce and accompanied by champagne risotto. The wait staff ferries these dishes across the dining room, whose white tablecloths and exposed-brick walls combine to create a rustic-yet-elegant atmosphere.
Each day at Cantina 71, chef Luca Laborante rolls out batches of housemade linguine, gnocchi, and ravioli, garnishing them with organic vegetables and sousing them with the eatery's own sauces. In addition to crafting a dozen hearty pasta dishes, chefs crown veal with sage butter sauce and cured Italian prosciutto and fry up fresh batches of calamari. Guests can enjoy their meal or romantic staring contests inside amid hanging lanterns and polished stone floors, or they can retreat to the patio, where strings of twinkling lights illuminate a sloped awning.
From behind an ultramodern lounge filled with jewel-toned sofas, exposed-brick walls, and black leather booths, Trio on The Bay's chefs forge a menu of surf 'n' turf, using local vendors and sustainable practices whenever possible. On the patio overlooking Biscayne Bay, waiters swing from canopies bearing sizzling steaks accompanied by locally grown vegetables or pan-seared scallops with a wild mushroom risotto and lemon crème fraîche. Chefs also cater to off-hour hunger pangs with Sunday-morning brunch and bar snacks, which blend the seafood hub’s signature flavors into palatable egg dishes and portable snacks.
Trio on The Bay hosts special events every Friday and Saturday night beginning at 10 p.m. Revelers head to the chandelier-sprinkled lounge to take in the flat-screen TVs and vacation slide shows from 1973, or retire to the outdoor patio's cushioned rattan chairs for drinks under the illumination of light-festooned palm trees and fire pits.
Since 1969, the cooks at Mario the Baker have followed the same tried-and-true recipes, resulting in pizza after fresh-baked pizza emerging from the oven with the same flavors as the restaurant's very first batch. Diners settle into red and black booths to split signature pizzas, including La Maflosa pizza with sliced eggplant and mozzarella. As part of an unrefusable offer, the Godfather pie comes topped with capicollo, ham, and salami and is served with a side of housemade italian dressing.
Since 1994, Caffe Da Vinci's owner-cum-executive-chef Eric Drukmann has helmed a menu that forges rustic Italian tradition with contemporary flair. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the newly redesigned and renovated dining room's white tablecloths welcome spreads of homemade pasta, quiche, and sandwiches, while the walls hang on to low-lit Da Vinci drawings of perfectly round meatballs. Next door, a lounge serves up small, shareable plates and non-shareable drinks, with extended hours and live entertainment amid the gold-toned walls and glowing bar.
Northern Italy brought surfside
Drawing inspiration from the bistros and trattorias of Milan, Venice, and Trento, Pescecane Ristorante's chefs fill each of their dishes with the vibrant flavors of Italy's northern regions. Imported Italian ingredients blend with housemade sauces and pastas in dishes such as rigatoni with premium italian sausage or the ossobucco's slow-braised veal shank and risotto. Diners feast in a European-style dining room that exudes a classical elegance while still embracing its rustic roots.
Homemade or Imported?
Made by the chefs: * Ravioli and pappardelle pasta * Sweet, airy tiramisu * Freshly baked breads
Imported from Italy: * Parmigiano Reggiano * Whole Mediterranean sea bass * More than a few of the wines
The Bar's Old-World Secret
It's clear at first glance that the rustic bar is made from reclaimed wood. But what kind of reclaimed wood? Get closer, and the faded logos of Italian vineyards become visible on each plank. Every wood scrap on the bar was originally part of a crate used to transport wines from the vineyards of Italy to the shores of the United States. This set piece adds a distinctive bit of flair amid the room's more traditional details, such as the crystal chandeliers and the elegantly framed mirrors.