From spaghetti westerns to pizza parties to that adorable moment in “Lady and the Tramp,” Italian food has become as American as apple pie. There’s never a shortage of the cuisine around here, and many chefs have recently brought their own take on the food with new restaurants in the area. Here are some of our favorites to visit.
This cozy spot is located in the historic Gale Hotel, with a dimly-lit dining room with tables accommodating large parties to chow down on Italian comfort food. Whether you’re on a date or accompanied by an entourage of friends and family, the menu of classic Italian fare has something for everyone: lemon risotto, burrata, pizzas, seafood pasta dishes, roasted chicken, Chilean sea bass, and seven different dessert options—we love the butterscotch budino.
Located in the Gale Hotel, 1690 Collins Ave. in Miami Beach, 786.975.2550
As much as we love red sauce, it’s nice to venture outside the box. This new restaurant in the South of Fifth neighborhood brings together sophisticated dining of the Art Deco era with the relaxed atmosphere of the boroughs. Browse a menu of mushroom ravioli, expertly cooked veal, buttery risotto, and countless seafood dishes that will have you begging for more. (If you’re really itching for some marinara, of course they’ve got that too.)
840 First St. in Miami Beach, 305.372.1221
The owners behind this restaurant brought food from their home, the Italian island of Sardinia to the west, to the quiet Purdy Avenue strip. Try out unique dishes such as spaghetti bottarga, a traditional Sardinian pasta meal sprinkled with crushed fish eggs. Also on the menu are Italian seafood favorites like baked branzino and grilled octopus, and dishes from the land, such as lamb shanks and rib eye that’ll put local steak houses to shame.
1801 Purdy Ave. in Miami Beach, 305.531.2228
Miami doesn’t have a monopoly on good Italian food, and this unassuming restaurant in Fort Lauderdale is proof. The small restaurant on US-1 is a modern one with funky metal furniture and bar tops, all while old school black-and-white Italian movies are playing. It’s a foretelling of the menu, mixing traditional meals with modern takes. One of our favorites is rigatoni with arugula, sausage and cannellini beans, and it’s always fun to watch the fresh flatbreads come straight out of the oven. If you’ve got the whole gang coming in, don’t forget Sunday dinner from 5:30 to 9 pm. with homemade sauce, just like mama makes it.
2850 N. Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, 954.567.3333