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Mi’talia Kitchen & Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Grove Bay Hospitality Group

The best Italian restaurants in Miami for all your pasta cravings

Make the best Italian restaurants Miami your go-tos for perfectly cooked pasta, crispy pizza and all things red sauce

By Virginia Gil

September 2020: Italian restaurants in Miami are the comfort-food havens the city needs right now. They take us in on a tough day when all we want is a big bowl of pasta to wallow in. They provide warm, welcoming environments for all kinds of celebrations. They’ve also saved us on many nights of lockdown, offering takeout and delivery meals for families to enjoy at home. This refreshed roundup features a few old favorites, such as Perricone’s in Brickell, which reopened at a new location this spring, and Red Sauce, Mignonette’s tasty pop-up, plus a few others. Mangia, friends!

Ah, pasta. The thing we love most but also the reason we’re in a committed relationship with our trainer and just about live in the nearest Miami gym. Though even just a few bites of the carbonara at any of the best Italian restaurants Miami has to offer makes it all worth it. The ristorantes and trattorias that make up our list of Italian restaurants in Miami are known for their delightful, rustic cucinas serving up all the classics, from Miami’s best pizza and pasta to fantastic risotto and veal chops. Whether it’s cheat day or Wednesday, which seems as good a day as any to tuck into a steaming bowl of carbs, here’s where you should go for your next big Italian feast.

A pasta spot we love so much that we welcomed them into Time Out Market

Eating House
Photograph: Courtesy Eating House

Eating House

Restaurants Contemporary American Little Gables

Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli can’t leave anything alone; something about not doctoring a dish or customizing it to reflect his Italian-American background and his Miami roots seemingly go against his nature. But that’s why we like him and his longtime Coral Gables restaurant, Eating House. In the mood for arancini? Try the croquetas made with arborio rice and smoked pork belly—it’s Cuba meets Italy in a crunchy, deep-fried ball. His Sorta Caesar lays it all out, giving you the briny, cheesy flavors with arugula, spinach and watercress as its vessel. The carbonara is about as classic as it gets and even that gets an extra pop of Grana Padano.

Best Italian restaurants in Miami

Sapore Di Mare
Photograph: Virginia Gil

1. Sapore di Mare Italian Seafood

Restaurants Seafood Coconut Grove

This darling, family-owned ristorante doesn’t look like much from the outside. But inside, it’s abuzz with the sound of clinking glasses and fast-talking Italian servers taking orders and maneuvering large plates of fresh pasta about the cozy dining room. Sapore di Mare does the cheese-wheel preparation justice, tossing each dish in individually sized rounds of aged parmesan. Even if you think you don’t want them, get it with truffles. No one ever regrets ordering truffles.

Photograph: Courtesy Macchialina

2. Macchialina

Restaurants Italian South Beach

Rustic, dark, cozy—Michael Pirolo’s Macchialina is a laid-back, family-style trattoria serving homey Italian food. It’s in the heart of touristy South Beach but regularly packs in the locals—even the body-conscious ones. Some might say Pirolo’s handmade pasta and fresh seasonal specials are transcendental. First time at the restaurant? The gnocco fritto and the cavatelli Macchialina are required for initiation.

Ravioli - Unsplash
Photograph: Unsplash/Toa Heftiba

3. Fratelli Milano Downtown Miami

Restaurants Italian Downtown

Fratelli might be the only reason locals venture to sleepy Downtown after regular business hours. The regional Italian restaurant pulls in people from all over with its smiley servers and honest home cooking. The popular fiocchi de pera—tender pockets of fresh pasta filled with pear and taleggio cheese—is so good you’ll want to swim in the creamy sauce and lick the plate once you’re done.

Photograph: Courtesy Fiola

4. Fiola

Restaurants Italian Coral Gables

The Miami outpost of D.C.’s Michelin-starred restaurant by the same name. On Capitol Hill, it’s big with the power-lunch crowd, while the Coral Gables location is more of a family vibe. Any way you roll, you’ll feel like a VIP the moment you walk through the door. From the maître d’ to the bartender to the servers (yes, plural), the staff here cares and it shows.

Cecconi's Miami
Photograph: Courtesy Cecconi's Miami

5. Cecconi’s

Restaurants Italian Miami Beach

The ground-floor restaurant of the members-only club Soho Beach House is the only area that’s open to the public. But you’re not there for the clout, you’re there to eat well. Dining with friends? Split the black truffle pizza. On a date? The large buttonwood trees and string lights make for an idyllic, romantic setting. 

Mi’talia Kitchen & Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Grove Bay Hospitality Group

6. Mi’talia Kitchen & Bar

Restaurants Italian South Miami

Chefs Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth prove they know their way around an Italian menu with their latest South Miami restaurant with Grove Bay Hospitality Group—which is conveniently adjacent to the couple’s popular chicken spot, Root & Bone. From the pizza (get the sunflower topped with actual seeds) and the flatbreads (the mushroom is the move) to the crusty bread served alongside mama’s tender meatballs, the dough is the star at Mi’talia—flavorful, chewy and with just the right amount of pull.

Casa Tua
Photograph: Courtesy Casa Tua

7. Casa Tua

Restaurants Italian South Beach

One of the city’s finest and fanciest restaurants, Casa Tua is a sleek and chic, Italian country-style spot housed in a refurbished 1925 Mediterranean-style two-story home. There are many reasons to dine at Casa Tua, the least of which is the food, which is excellent. Go to brag to your friends, to burn a hole in your wallet (lamb chops are $40, really), to say you did, to charm the pants off your date—there’s at least one sound argument for trying this place once.

Pasta - Soya & Pomodoro
Photograph: Unsplash/Eaters Collective

8. Soya & Pomodoro

Restaurants Italian Downtown

This ramshackle trattoria set in a former bank is decked in Italian odds and ends and local souvenirs. Read: It’s quirky. Step through its exquisite, dilapidated doors and you’ll find homestyle pasta and a neat wine list stocked with affordable Italian labels. Soya’s vibe is what you make of it—loud and celebratory, discreet and romantic, kid-friendly and fun. Book it for a birthday or slip in for date night and either way you’ll have a good time.

Photograph: Courtesy Mignonette/Tess Gostfrand

9. Red Sauce at Mignonette

Restaurants Seafood Midtown

Fans of gut-busting, Italian-American classic need to jump on this one quickly: Red Sauce, Mignonette’s pasta pop-up, will only be around for a limited time. Its menu is as straightforward as its name, so expect lots of tomato-based dishes like the penne a la vodka, lasagna and several options for parmigiana. There are other types of sauces, too, like a wine-butter reduction for the linguini clams and creamy marsala creation that’s slathered all over the tender chicken. Originally a takeout and delivery concept, Mignonette recently reopened its dining room and serving Red Sauce items to stay.

Casa D'Angelo Aventura
Photograph: Courtesy Casa D'Angelo Aventura

10. Casa D'Angelo Aventura

Restaurants Italian Aventura

Sorrento-born Angelo Elia inched his way south, opening restaurants in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale before landing in Aventura for his third location. It’s a splashy, modern space with crystal chandeliers, leather banquettes and folks dressed to the nines. Yet despite all the glitz and glam, Angelo’s menu skews traditional with classic Italian dishes like the kind chef’s grandmother taught him how to make when he was a young boy. Try the chicken parm and pasta a la vodka or lighten things up with an order of the octopus and the branzino. Whether you’re saving your calories or ready to splurge, Angelo’s won’t send you home hungry.

Perricone’s Marketplace & Café
Photograph: Courtesy Perricone’s Marketplace & Café

11. Perricone’s Marketplace & Café

Restaurants Italian The Roads

We waited patiently for Perricone’s to return and now the rustic Italian restaurant is back in a larger space with ample parking. (Anyone who’s spent time waiting in the Perricone’s valet line will appreciate this fact.) There’s no greenery running through its polished dining room but the allure is still there: an extensive list of quality wines, excellent pasta dishes (which you can get for just $10 on select days) and a large selection of prepared salads and deli items to go.

Riviera Focacceria Italiana
Photograph: Courtesy Riviera Focacceria Italiana

12. Riviera Focacceria Italiana

Restaurants Italian Midtown

There aren’t many Ligurian restaurants in Miami, but this one holds down the category serving all sorts of house-made focaccia and garlicky pesto signature of the Italian region. Riviera ships the stracchino cheese used in its popular stuffed focaccia straight from Italy every week. For food that’s more authentic, you’ll have to hop a flight to Europe.  

Il Gabbiano
Photograph: Courtesy Il Gabbiano

13. Il Gabbiano

Restaurants Italian Downtown

To sum it up, this Downtown stalwart is Italian fine dining, Miami-style. You go for the uninterrupted water views, $30-plus pasta dishes and servers who occasionally pretend you’re not even there. But wow, ain’t it pretty. Divine culinary creations at ungodly prices, like the salt-crusted branzino for $75. If you’re graduating, celebrating a milestone or your employer is footing the bill, this is the place to splurge.

Would you like some wine with that?


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