More than eight years ago Oggi started off as a simple pasta factory. Within a year, however, a few modest tables were added to its cramped surroundings and one of the finest Italian restaurants in South Florida was born. Oggi has expanded, but it has never lost sight of its roots. It is the homemade pasta that makes Oggi special. Demand at their own restaurant has grown so much that Oggi's only provides its special pasta to five other restaurants. The hands-down favorite pasta Oggi produces is the ravioli stuffed with crabmeat. "We can never make too much ravioli," says Alex Portela, one of the owners of Oggi. "If we don't have that as one of the specials people get upset. It's a problem sometimes." But what a delicious problem it is.

"I make it just like my mom makes it," Alex Richter says. "In Germany we eat a lot of potatoes." They're boiled, strained, and then hand-mashed with a wooden mallet. Then the Munich native adds salt, pepper, butter, milk, and, the special ingredient, nutmeg. It's all topped off with fresh parsley and a little red pepper. "Sometimes when you eat them, they have lumps," Richter explains. "That's how you know they are handmade." What we know is they are delicious, enhanced by that slice of spice. Beer's good, too. Extra cheer comes from the perennial Christmas lights and schmaltzy German folk music -- kitsch is a German concept as well.
Forget grouper sandwiches. In the Keys they're as common as drunken fishermen and usually as boring. Offering a break in the culinary monotony along the southern stretch of U.S 1 is Steve Ehler's Time Out Barbecue, a roadside attraction that serves up some of the smokiest and most tender barbecue in South Florida. The secret, Steve explains, is in the slow-cooking: more than ten hours. Our favorite, the melt-in-your-mouth shredded pork sandwich, is served on a hamburger bun and is topped off with delicious, not too-creamy coleslaw and sweet baked beans for about four dollars. Chicken and rib platters big enough for two go for about $11. Time Out Barbecue has moved from the white lunch wagon with a pig on the side to an indoor structure, and Steve is smoking seven days per week from 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., rain or shine.
Their Reuben is to die for! The smoked whitefish platter, geshmak! Tongue, brisket, liverwurst, chicken salad, gefilte fish, and stuffed cabbage taste as though they came straight from Second Avenue. And if you haven't tried the borscht, what are you waiting for? You want it to get up and walk over to your house? It's not like there's no room for you. Rascal House can seat 450 people in big cushy booths or at the counters. On busy nights (okay, almost every night), there's a line. But what's the rush? The line moves fast enough. It's cheap -- sandwiches big enough for two go for anywhere from $6.25 for chopped liver to $9.95 for one of the fancy combos. Full dinners start at $6 and can go as high as $19, for hotshots who want a New York strip steak. Plus it's open around the clock. And if a deli doesn't have bobka, Jell-O, and Dr. Brown's soda, it ain't a deli in our book. Don't worry. They got it. They got it.
There's plenty of good microbrewed beer around Miami; at the newly opened Titanic Brewery near the University of Miami; the tourist hot-spot of South Beach, the Clevelander; even at the chain restaurant Hops, in the Falls. If you don't like to go to bars, just pick up a six-pack of our very own Hurricane Reef or Firehouse Four at any number of locations throughout South Florida. But the Abbey combines the best of both worlds, offering a fluctuating menu of tasty microbrews in a casual pub setting. Try the Indian Pale Ale, Swartz Larger, Abbey Brown, or any one of their seasonal selections, and home just might seem as close as the nearest tap.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®