Matteo Giordano came to New York from Sicily by boat on December 22, 1915. Though cargo was light, he managed to bring his tabby’s cat condo and his prized book of recipes that had been passed down through generations. He eventually opened his own bakery and used his family’s tomato-pie recipe to delight the taste buds of Mayor Fiorello La Guardia at the world’s fair.
Using the light, flaky pastry and rich tomato sauce of Matteo’s tomato pie, The Original Big Tomato owners Richard and Phyllis continue the tradition of classic Italian pizza. Their gourmet tomato pies incorporate unique ingredients such as zucchini, tuna, avocado, and gouda cheese. The sweet Jamaican jerk pizza combines chicken, scallions, carrots, and cilantro onto a circular pie, whereas the fiesta frijoles celebrate south-of-the-border tastes with ground turkey, black beans, and jalapeños. The Original Big Tomato also serves wrap sandwiches and boule salads—fresh greens and vegetables in French boule bread—and also performs catering.
Doral Pizza’s team serves pies sized from 10 to 16 inches. Staffers bake pizzas topped with everything from gorgonzola alfredo to classic pepperoni, which is to pizza what butter is to toast and index-finger gesticulation are to being a politician. Their pasta roster catalogs such enticing entrees as pesto linguine and four-cheese penne.
While the heart of Johnny Carino's menu is rooted in genuine Italian traditions, forward-thinking creativity has birthed what they like to call their signature dishes. The menu was designed by executive chef Chris Peitersen, and each location executes it by blending fresh ingredients with extra time to create high-quality preparations. Diners will find entrees such as 16-layer lasagna with made-from-scratch sauce, and pizzas made with home-baked crust. Other signature choices include the all-natural beef tuscan ribeye, baked stuffed mushrooms topped with house lemon-basil cream sauce, and tiramisu made from the ground up. Entrees can be paired with any selection from Carino's extensive wine list and cocktail menu.
Red Zone Sports Bar and Grill envelops sports fans in a laid-back atmosphere while servers whisk classic pub fare such as pork sandwiches and flatbread pizzas to tables teeming with pints of Sam Adams, bottles of Guinness, and a cascade of buzz-worthy cocktails. Guests can bask in the glow of flat-screen TVs indoors as their favorite teams duke it out, or venture to the outdoor patio for breeze-kissed dining. Specials such as happy hour and all-you-can-eat wings stretch themselves across the weekly calendar, while college night on Thursdays encourages scholars to debate the merits of sandwiches versus wraps through dissertations written on bar napkins.
In 1978, Argentine pasta craftsman Richard Sanders emigrated to Miami with his wife, Carmen, and opened The Pasta Factory Company. Thirty-three years later, Richard’s three sons—Rick, Fernando, and Leonard—have taken the rigatoni reins, with Fernando spinning housemade linguine, spaghetti, and fettuccine on his father’s original machine. Rick’s favorite part of the job has been watching 20 years of first dates, many of which transformed into years-long courtships and ended in down-on-one-knee marriage proposals—all within the confines of The Pasta Factory Company’s dining room.
With or without the prospect of a proposal, the Sanders family’s authentic Italian fare grew so popular among diners that they expanded The Pasta Factory Company to several locations. Now guests can fall in love with the first meat pie they meet at the original South Miami location, or speed date through fettuccine and cannelloni at the Pasta Factory Express spots.
The dedicated dough maestros of Pizza Rustica fulfill circular-food quotas with freshly baked, preservative-free pies topped with creative earthborn ingredients. Stop in to peruse the menu, and sample mouthwatering munchables such as a huge slice of mega-meat pizza, piled high with two types of sausage, steak, ham, pepperoni, red onion, and plum-tomato sauce ($4.95), a 14” smoked-spicy-chicken pizza carrying a cast of fresh tomatoes, red onions, mozzarella, and boneless chipotle-chicken breast derived from a stash of poultry that's roasted that day ($16), or a portobello mushroom and goat cheese panini hugged by homemade rustica bread ($6.95). Slices boast above-average girth, so it’s a good idea to grab a friend before tag-teaming one of Pizza Rustica’s tomato-sauced pizza mats or the Nutella-and-ricotta-cheese-filled pizzetta ($3.95).
Located in the newly restored historic Coral Gables Country Club, Liberty Caffe serves freshly baked pastries, crisp salads, and local Florida orange juice. Behind a lit glass case stuffed with crisp salads and buttery croissants, baristas pour foamy cappuccinos at the coffee bar and scoop cups of house-made gelato made from traditional Italian recipes and garnished with fresh strawberries and hazelnuts. Diners can slide into tables facing a row of open, arched windows overlooking the country club's manicured landscape of green grass, swaying palm trees, and fist-shaking groundskeepers.