North Miami Beac'hs Mazzi Cucina sits in a strip mall near the former location of Yakko-San that today houses favorites such as the Vietnamese spot PhoMi2Go, Filipino restaurant Lutong Pinoy, and Lettuce & Tomato, which is run by a former Epicure chef. The place is filled with knickknacks that describe generations of chef/owner Stefano Mazzi's life in Italy. A meal here can begin with an artichoke salad composed of flavorful grassy hearts that are just barely pickled and then move on to a pungent spaghetti aglio e oli, gnocchi Gorgonzola, and a classic chicken parmigiana. Yet not everything is perfect. Ingredients aren't always the best and are dressed up to hide that fact. Chef Mazzi has the ability to do better, especially considering chichi fashion designer Roberto Cavalli tapped him to cook aboard his yacht and in his opulent restaurant in South Beach.
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North Miami Beach's 36-seat Mazzi Cucina has the veneer of a hidden gem. It sits in a strip mall near the former location of Yakko-San that today houses favorites such as the Vietnamese spot PhoMi2Go, Filipino restaurant Lutong Pino...