BEST GOURMET GROCERY - 2004
Laurenzo's Italian Market
Just as Gandhi said you can judge a civilization by how it treats its animals, so we can judge a grocery by the way it treats its pasta lovers. Laurenzo's lacks some items considered standard fare for gourmet markets. Its selection of cheeses, imported chocolates, and prepared foods is a little lean compared with ritzy gourmet groceries like Epicure on Alton Road in South Beach. But take home a batch of Laurenzo's fresh homemade pasta and taste for yourself just how civilized a bunch of noodles can be. Any chef worth his apron knows the trick to gourmet cooking is not expensive-looking packaging, outlandish recipes, or plate layout, but fresh ingredients. The folks at Laurenzo's know this, too. One can create some mighty haute cuisine with the fresh basics this store specializes in. For example, a bag of fragrant basil leaves, a handful of plum tomatoes, a nice onion, any number of fine olive oils, a cut of meat from Laurenzo's fabled butcher shop, a loaf of bread from the market's superb bakery, a bottle or two from an extensive array of wines. Who needs a vast selection of hors d'oeuvres when there are juicy mozzarella balls and deliciously marinated olives like Laurenzo's has? Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday to Friday; 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Saturday; 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sunday.