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.
Village Café plates up a menu of salads, sandwiches, and inspired entrees in a European bistro setting. The crispy goat cheese appetizer ($9.95) waves a casual "Ciao" atop crostini, while the Village Cobb salad ($10.95) scoots by on a Dijon vinaigrette-fueled Vespa. Fungiphiles fancy the portabella panini ($8.95), with its grilled, marinated mushrooms and melted mozzarella, and the meat lover's pizza (small $10.95) satisfies any yearning passion for protein. Dinner diners choose from mains such as the mint and pistachio-crusted lamb (8 oz $17.95) accompanied by roasted garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus spears, or linguine with garlic, white wine, and fresh clams ($16.95).
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.
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.