Since 1969, Mario the Baker has regaled customers with the rich tastes of vodka sauce, baked eggplant, capicola subs, and cheesy pizzas. Since its inception, the restaurant has grown from a single storefront to a 14-location local fiefdom, built upon a foundation of crafting consistently delicious casual Italian cuisine, thin-crust New York–style pizzas, and traditional pasta dishes. Piping-hot garlic rolls accompany plates of shrimp scampi or chicken francese, and margherita pizzas and pineapple-topped hawaiian pies enliven celebrations of majestic T-ball-league triumphs and inconsequential T-ball-league defeats.
Trattoria Il Migliore is a neighborhood bistro tucked in a tiny strip mall, where traditional Italian fare is given a modern twist. The urban décor is felt immediately, thanks to exposed brick walls and pulsing rock music, though old black and white movies are always playing along one wall. The menu is equally esoteric, with highlights that include homemade Kobe meatballs, reimagined fettuccine, tagliatelle and gnocchi. Tableside bread service is familiar and satisfying, while the dessert tiramisu is the perfect ender to the evening. With large portions, it may be best to share a dish or two, but no matter what, guests should opt for the Tuscan fries – cut in-house, fried with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme and then tossed with a pinch of Parmesan cheese and crunchy herbs.
Live music plays a few nights a week at Azzurro Italian Restaurant & Bar, but diners don't need to plan ahead to hear the gentle music of the Atlantic Ocean just beyond the patio. Decked out in palm trees, grass-thatched awnings, and white curtains that flutter in the breeze, the atmosphere is pure coastal Florida. But the menu draws from a different aquatic inspiration: the Mediterranean Sea, which inspires maritime Italian and Sicilian cuisine such as fish soup topped with pizza dough, lobster ravioli, and spaghetti tossed with clams. It's not all seafood, however—there are also terrestrial delights such as beef carpaccio, grilled filet mignon, and rack of lamb. Servers pair these plates with bottles of international wines that drifted up onshore and the restaurant’s signature cocktails.
Yes Pasta! owner Flaminia Morin migrated from Rome to Miami with her prized collection of family recipes in tow. Stateside, she teamed up with chef Paolo del Papa to continue her family’s culinary traditions with the aid of fresh local and imported Italian ingredients. Seven kinds of pasta team up with 15 sauces and add-ons that seduce palates with flavors of wild mushrooms, fresh-crushed chili, and tart green capers. The menu’s aura of authenticity extends to the dining room, where cerulean-blue and white hues recall the airy Italian trattorias and olive-oil-gorged rain clouds of Rome.
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.