After the unexpected loss of their father, three brothers from Eboli, an Italian hamlet in the Neapolitan countryside, pursued their disparate passions to separate corners of the globe. As Giuseppe, the eldest, toiled as a pizzaiolo in New York; Antonio, a dancer; and Gennaro, an artist, spent time honing their crafts in Madrid and Paris. It wasn't long before Giuseppe opened his pizzeria, and his younger siblings weren't far behind. With all three operating successful Italian eateries in their respective cities, the trio decided to reunite, forming Fratelli La Bufala as a joint effort where they could highlight their father's passion for water-buffalo mozzarella, a heart-healthy cheese that anchors the cuisine at each of their worldwide locations.
Working from an Italian menu modeled after Mediterranean culinary traditions, chefs prepare pastas in-house and pepper Neapolitan-style pizzas with water-buffalo meat that boasts less cholesterol and saturated fat than most traditional meat options. Like Sophia Loren's celebrity impersonators, the kitchen's ingredients are sourced from small southern Italian farms, and are transported with care to preserve their naturalness and quality.
With a dozen gourmet pizzas on the menu, the chefs at Zesto Pizza get to showcase their creative topping concoctions. Tuna, onions, fresh tomatoes, and olives crown the pizza al tonno’s crust, while other pizzas arrive covered in everything from barbecue chicken to steak to alfredo sauce. When they aren't putting bold toppings on pizzas, the chefs can be found tossing fresh organic ingredients into pasta dishes and whipping up nearly two dozen sandwiches, including a cheeseburger sub. They even reimagine salads by adding such unusual ingredients as meatballs.
Guests can grab these bites to go or opt to have a relaxing dinner at the restaurant, where they can head out to the balcony overlooking Collins Avenue to sip glasses of wine and high-five passing birds.
I Love Pizza makes mouths water with a menu of gourmet espresso drinks and 19 New York–style pies. Taste Gotham’s personality without licking the Statue of Liberty thanks to a mozzarella and basil Manhattan pie ($15 for a 16"). The Central Park teems with flocks of kalamata olives ($17 for a 16"), and the pepperoni-topped Brooklyn ($16 for a 16") hulas toward mouths when clad in a skirt of tangy pineapples ($2 extra). Like a lullaby with a kazoo solo, the Nutella pizza pairs sweet themes with a hint of nuttiness thanks to its infusion of chocolate-hazelnut spread ($18 for a 16"). Calima Coffee's Aussie-roasted Colombian beans comprise each cappuccino, which can enliven eyes for staring contests with the sun at the café’s outdoor tables.
La Locanda: A User's Guide
Homemade Pasta | Gluten-Free Options | Dozens of Pizzas | Outdoor Patio | Intimate Seating
Appetizer: grilled portobellos topped with mozzarella
Pasta: spaghetti with lamb ragu
Seafood: grilled, breaded jumbo shrimp
Pizza: the Vegetali with eggplant, zucchini, and roasted peppers
With just 16 tables, seats go quickly at La Locanda. However, its night-owl hours (it’s open until midnight Sunday¬–Thursday, and until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday) make it easier to grab a table late.
If you’re avoiding wheat, don’t fret. The cooks can prepare gluten-free varieties.
Head over for a late lunch to catch an Italian soccer game, which usually airs midafternoon. Check out La Locanda's Facebook page for the schedule.
Buffalo mozzarella: made from the milk of water buffalo, this cheese is creamier than cow's-milk mozzarella. It's commonly found atop margherita and Neapolitan-style pizzas.
Margherita pizza: a crispy, thin-crust pizza topped with basil, mozzarella, and tomato sauce. The green, white, and red toppings represent the Italian flag as a gesture originally intended to impress Italy’s Queen Margherita in the late 1800s.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: The Miami New Times ranks Washington Avenue—the street La Locanda's on—as the city's top dining street. Here, you'll find a diverse range of restaurants ranging from Peruvian eateries to seafood joints, including South Beach's "most famous modern landmark," Joe's Stone Crab (11 Washington Avenue).
Most pizza makers launch their careers out of a love of the pie, not a love of candy. Consider Lucali’s owner Mark Iacono an exception. As a child, the Carroll Gardens native would visit Louie’s Candy Shop with his father, browsing the sweets and indulging in egg creams from the soda fountain. When the candy shop closed its doors for good, Mark moved in with a plan to preserve the neighborhood space but little idea of how he would go about it. A visit to another pizzeria evoked memories of his grandmother laboring over her saucepot and, suddenly, the idea rose like a mound of dough on the sun: pizza.
Two years later, Iacono was the one laboring in the kitchen, simmering his San Marzano tomato sauce for five hours–-according to his grandmother's recipe––before ladling it onto thin crusts, topping it with a mix of cheeses that includes bufala mozarrella, and popping the whole thing into a wood-fired oven he built himself. The result is a pie that [_Time Out New York¬_](www.timeout.com/newyork/the-feed-blog/gqs-richman-rips-www.-a-new-one-anoints-brooklyns-lucali) calls, "a thing of beauty" and that earned second place on [_GQ's_](http://www.gq.com/food-travel/alan-richman/200905/pizza-american-pie-25-best?currentPage=3) list of the "25 Best Pizzas You'll Ever Eat". To ensure quality, Iacono keeps things simple by only serving pizzas and calzones, and limiting the topping list to a mere eight choices, among them pepperoni and fresh snipped basil. The simplicity allows him to concentrate on making his pizzas better and better, telling [_The New York Times¬_](http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/29/dining/reviews/29unde.html) that despite the long lines of customers, he's never satisfied with his pies. The _Times_' verdict? "He could just relax".
Casual American fare can be found at Big Pink.
Whether rocking a gluten-free lifestyle or looking for something low-fat, this place will serve you just what you need.
Pair your entree with a glass of wine or draft beer — Big Pink has a fully-stocked bar to complement your meal.
Tots and tykes will be right at home at Big Pink with its kid-approved food and ambience.
Big Pink provides seasonal outdoor seating — be sure to grab a chair before it's too late.
At Big Pink, you won't have to wait for your large or small group to be seated.
Big Pink is completely informal — dress as you see fit (and are most comfortable).
Place an order for pickup or schedule a delivery — the restaurant makes it easy to enjoy your meal from anywhere.
Catering from Big Pink will take your party to the next level.
You can leave your car curbside with nearby street parking.
You'll also find plenty of safe spaces to lock up your bike if you prefer to cycle to the restaurant.
Prices are affordable, with a typical meal running under $30.
All major credit cards are accepted, including Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.
Early risers and night owls alike can enjoy Big Pink since it offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner.