Valentine's Day has come and gone, but there's no need to stop celebrating. Nothing says “I love carbs” like Italian food, and nothing says Italian food like a big bowl of pasta. Sorry, pizza: It’s pasta's time to shine.
From authentic creations rooted in deep Italian tradition to more pasta-centric concepts with a dash of Miami style, discover where to get the best pastas outside of Italy.
1. Fiocchi di formaggio e pere at MC Kitchen
The Design District’s upscale, contemporary Italian gem, MC Kitchen, is known for many things — indulgent seasonal dishes, a killer Black Mission fig pizza, and a drink menu that’s equally enticing — but you’d be hard-pressed to find a pasta as heavenly as chef Dena Marino’s take on fiocchi di formaggio e pere ($19). Imagine pockets of fresh pasta stuffed with roasted pear enveloped in white truffle cream and an epic blend of melted cheeses including robiola, Taleggio, and Grana Padano. Now that you’ve visualized the dish, go try it.
2. Capellini all’arrabbiata at Il Gabbiano
The pricey but delicious downtown Miami pasta joint Il Gabbiano has perfected its list of offerings, proving you can never go wrong with simple and authentic creations. Cue the capellini all’arrabbiata ($26.75). Meaning “angry” in Italian, “arrabbiata” refers to the spiciness of the red peppers in the sauce — also including fresh garlic, Roma plum tomatoes, and extra-virgin olive oil — which goes beautifully over very thin pasta. The only anger you’ll experience is when the plate is empty.
3. Spaghetti at Scarpetta
Sure, there’s nothing like homemade spaghetti, but if you haven’t tried chef Scott Conant’s famous spaghetti ($24) at his Fontainebleau hot spot, Scarpetta, you haven’t lived. Conant takes things back to basics through a classic approach to Italian cuisine that has a modern, refined flair. Grab a fork and twirl as many thick strands of pasta as you can fit into your mouth. Let the slow-cooked sauce — made with fresh tomatoes, basil, a dash of Parmesan, butter, and olive oil — drip from the corners. Yes, it's a messy, extravagant mouthful, but it will be love at first bite.
4. Agnolotti del plin at Macchialina
Miami Beach’s brick-walled trattoria helmed by former Scarpetta executive chef Michael Pirolo serves a bold and versatile menu of Italian eats at an affordable price for locals looking to escape the madness of South Beach. Italian imports such as prosciutto di parma and Taleggio cheese make great starters, and the show-stopping short-rib lasagna and margherita pizza are delightful. But the must-try dish is the agnolotti del plin ($15), containing fresh pillows of egg pasta filled with delicately textured veal, pork, and chicken. Pasta and meat courses in one dish? That just means more room for dessert.
5. Tortelli di ricotta at Toscana Divino
What you’ll find at this Mary Brickell Village eatery is mostly pasta, which isn’t a bad thing considering nothing else matters in life. These traditional pasta dishes are done right, diligently crafted and perfected by Italian chef Andrea Marchesin. It’s seen in the crowd-pleasing pomodoro e basilico, made with homemade spaghetti, fresh basil, and fior di latte, and the maccheroni al sugo toscano, a hearty beef ragu with Parmesan and olive oil. However, the simple execution and flawless flavors of the tortelli ricotta e spinaci ($22) — ricotta cheese and spinach tortelli drizzled in sage butter sauce — make this dish the star of Toscana Divino’s artisanal kitchen.
6. Lamb ragu at Cecconi’s
There is no better place to indulge in decadent bowls of pasta than at Cecconi’s, located in the courtyard of SoHo Beach House. Dine under twinkling stars while you enjoy chef Sergio Sigala’s Venetian-style fare that is both sophisticated and comfortable, qualities evident in dishes such as the cavatelli with lamb ragu and artichoke ($24). The rich flavor of the braised lamb balances the bright acidity of the tomato sauce, making this dish a must-try.
7. Lobster ravioli at Perricone’s Marketplace & Café
After more than two decades in business, Perricone’s remains steadfast in its commitment to authenticity and reliability despite the ever-changing Brickell neighborhood. Perricone's is still the spot for some traditional favorites, including pasta carbonara, lasagna, veal Parmigiana, and the crème de la crème: jumbo lobster ravioli ($19.95). Bite into the pure perfection of sweet and delicately tender ravioli stuffed with Maine lobster and slathered in your choice of coral pink, pesto cream, or Perricone’s signature pomodoro sauce. Whichever one you choose, be prepared to lick the plate clean.
8. Angel hair at Proof Pizza & Pasta
At this midtown eatery, the proof is in the Neapolitan crusts of wood-oven-baked pizzas and made-from-scratch pastas such as angel hair ($17) prepared with crab, Calabrian chilies, and lemon breadcrumbs. Pair your Italian eats with a glass from Proof’s collection of craft beer and wine, and end your experience with a monstrous ice-cream sandwich made with dark-chocolate/sea-salt macarons.
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9. Pappardelle gratinate at Joey's Italian Cafe
Joey’s dishes out traditional Italian fare inspired by Venice in a hip, modern space located just steps from Wynwood Walls. Specials change daily and are always worth trying, but the one dish that remains a favorite adds a little French twist to the mix: béchamel. The pappardelle gratinate ($15) is baked with thick pappardelle pasta covered in creamy meat sauce and béchamel and then kissed with a flourish of Parmesan cheese before arriving at your table. Say hello to carb heaven.
10. Spaghetti all’aragosta at Tamarina
Dining at Tamarina is all about glamour, romance, sharing plates, and digging into dishes that transport you to the Mediterranean coast of Italy. If you’re a seafood lover with a big appetite, order your own plate of spaghetti all’aragosta ($33). Made with the egg pasta spaghetti alla chitarra, deliciously rich Maine lobster, and fresh tomato sauce, this masterpiece is a friendly reminder that pasta, seafood, and wine (Tamarina has lots of it) go hand in hand.