Working side by side at Miami Beach's kitchens for nearly a decade, Moshe Petel and Spurgeon Solomon bonded over their love of Italian cuisine. Along with Nicaraguan executive chef Felix Pavon, the Israeli Petel and Honduran Solomon bring an outsider's reverence to Grazie Italian Cuisine's authentic dishes. Six days a week, the amber-lit, 75-seat dining room fills with the aroma of fresh-baked bread, which joins housemade pesto oil and toasted garlic slices to start each meal. For main courses, Chef Felix tosses handmade and gluten-free pasta with ingredients such as crabmeat and gravy as well as cooks bone-in New York strip steaks with a special rub. Classic and specialty cocktails plus domestic and imported wines help to wash down feasts, which come to a close with more than 10 housemade desserts such as chocolate pecan pie and tiramisu. Weekly specials include an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet and happy hour drinks and appetizers.
At Rocco’s Pizza Lounge, a team of pizza Picassos hand-toss dough prepared with imported Caputo flour before painting it with fresh sauce, covering it in a broadcast of cheese and toppings, and sliding it into a wood oven blazing at 900 degrees for crispy, cooked-in flavor. Patrons can dive right into pie heaven with more than 20 gourmet pizzas to choose from, including the tirolese, which finesses senses with fresh mozzarella, san marzano tomatoes, speck, and arugula ($15), or the pizza ala vodka’s vodka-infused pink sauce blanketed by mozzarella, shallots, mushrooms, and prosciutto ($15). Diners can also indulge in fare less easily applicable to mathematics, such as pappardelle tossed with Rocco’s homemade bolognese meat sauce ($15). Rocco’s also accommodates miniature appetites with more than 20 Italian-style tapas, such as the calamari fritti ($9) or uova in purgatorio, poached eggs prepared in a spicy tomato sauce and a course on Dante ($8).
Getting the dough right is one of the hardest parts of making a pizza. That's why they make it in house every morning at The Original Big Tomato, yielding a crust that's crisp on the bottom but still fluffy around the edges. Since a base like that deserves fine toppings, the crew also chops veggies fresh every day. They might crown pies with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh lettuce, basil, corn, and spinach. There's also a wide selection of cheeses, including gouda, gorgonzola, parmesan, and goat cheese. Alongside pizzas on the menu, there's also the range of salads, paninis, and wraps that one might see at an Italian cafe.
Bargello Bistro plates up a menu of refined comfort-cuisine recipes hailing from such warm-water coasts as Italy, Greece, and Morocco. A bowl of Tuscan minestrone soup ($4.25) makes a fine precursor to a hearty plate of coconut shrimp, served in a sauce that is sweet, spicy, and surprisingly well read ($9.25). A savory selection of gourmet sandwiches quells lunch- and dinnertime cravings ($10.45–$13.45), and Bargello's weekend breakfast menu catches early birds with an appetizing array of omelettes, pancakes, and breakfast paninis ($9.95 each) that can be served in half portions for children under 12 and peckish centaurs ($6.95).
Pastazzi's culinary crackerjacks curate a menu replete with homemade twists on traditional Italian cuisine for noshers on the go. Diners design their own edible masterpieces from many possible combinations of handcrafted pastas and fresh sauces such as penne with bolognesa, cheese ravioli with pomodoro, and gnocchi with creamy alfredo ($7.85–$10.50). Flex jaw muscles like a contestant in the world’s-strongest-jaw competition before decimating the roasted eggplant lasagna ($8.95), or the salami and manchego-cheese panini ($8.25). Mollify insurgent sweet teeth with sugary selections such as the berry tartlet ($4.95) and tiramisu, the traditional italian cake made from lady fingers and espresso whose name translates as "tiramisu" ($4.50).
The chefs at Empire Lounge & Pizzeria toss dough into thin, circular canvases before slathering them in red or white sauce, topping them with handfuls of mozzarella cheese, and crowning them with vegetables and meats. Red and white sauces also make an appearance on pasta dishes such as spaghetti and lasagna. Along with classic Italian eats, Empire Lounge also serves up a selection of Mediterranean items including fried lamb and marinated chicken kebabs.