Best Italian restaurants in Miami
What is it? 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.
Why go? 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.
What is it? The Miami outpost of award-winning chef Scott Conant’s celebrated Italian restaurant (others include New York and Las Vegas). It’s white tablecloth and expensive but the lounge/bar up front and beachfront setting keep the vibe relaxed.
Why go? We’re not messing around when we say the tomato-basil spaghetti is life changing—and it’s served perfectly al dente in a neat, slurpable mound. You’ll never think about pasta pomodoro the same way again.
What is it? Rustic, dark, cozy—Michael Pirolo’s Macchialina is a laid-back, family-style trattoria serving homey Italian food. It’s in the heart of South Beach but regularly packs in the locals.
Why go? The pasta is light, fresh and always made in-house. Short rib lasagna and artichoke mezzaluna are crowd favorites, especially on Thursday nights when pasta is priced at just $10.
What is it? 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.
Why go? 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.
What is it? 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.
Why go? 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.
What is it? Every in-the-know friend with access to Soho Beach House loves this place for its proximity to the sand and Instagram clout. Couples dig the sexy lighting and romantic vibe.
Why go? The ground-floor restaurant of the members-only club is the only area that’s open to the public. If fitting in doesn’t concern you, go for the black truffle pizza. It’s what everyone will ask you about.
What is it? The ramshackle trattoria is set in a former bank and decked in Italian odds and ends and local souvenirs. Step through its exquisite, dilapidated doors to find homestyle pasta and a neat wine list stocked with affordable Italian labels.
Why go? 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.
What is it? One of the city’s finest and fanciest restaurants, Casa Tua is a sleek and chic country Italian-style spot housed in a refurbished 1925 Mediterranean-style two-story home.
Why 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.
What is it? Italian fine dining, Miami-style: uninterrupted water views, $30 pasta dishes and servers who occasionally pretend you’re not even there. But wow, ain’t it pretty.
Why go? 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.
What is it? One of Wynwood’s OG restaurants keeps a steady flow of regulars and newcomers, luring them with its shaded patio, oversized windows with views of the ’hoods busiest intersection and well-priced Italian eats.
Why go? You know what you’re getting at Joey’s, where very little has changed in a decade. Food and service are reliable, though not always speedy.