For all of Miami's miles of gorgeous coastline and waterways, waterfront restaurants make up only a small percentage of eateries.
Antica Mare is one such restaurant, and one you're not likely to find on your own. The bistro is tucked away inside the Shorecrest Club apartments at 7999 NE Bayshore Ct., just off the JFK Causeway. It's an unlikely setting for a restaurant, but for restaurateur Marco Betti, its location was an act of serendipity.
Betti explains that his Miami landlord's family is from Atlanta, where Betti has owned and operated his other restaurant for more than 16 years. "Antica Posta is their favorite restaurant, and they wanted to have the same experience at their beautiful property in Miami. They made me an offer I couldn't refuse."
Betti says he jumped at the chance to open a waterfront restaurant. “I’ve always loved visiting Miami, and when the opportunity came about to open right on the Intracoastal in this great new luxury building, I knew it was a perfect fit. I’m thrilled to be a part of this community and can’t wait to have everyone come in and visit.”
The restaurant, which opened this past February, serves Tuscan fare featuring seafood and meat dishes, though the house-made pastas will likely be the draw, especially Tuesday evenings, when ten pastas and a risotto dish are priced at $10. Even without that deal, pastas are affordably priced between $12 and $24.
Born and raised in Roggello, Italy, in the province of Florence, Betti says his Tuscan fare is based on fresh ingredients and simplicity. "When cooking Tuscan cuisine, we focus on the main ingredient. Whether it’s grilled, sautéed, stewed, steamed, roasted, or baked, we want to showcase and enhance the flavor of that specific main ingredient. Our cooking techniques are simple but not easy, as they require exact timing and precise preparations."
Take, for example, the polpo alla griglia — sliced grilled octopus given a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and lemon. The dish allows the tender cephalopod to shine with its simplicity.
Pasta dishes are also given the same treatment. Gemelli alla Fiorentina, served in a cream sauce with prosciutto and green peas, is satisfying in its own right ($15 small, $20 main course).
A heartier dish, ravioli al ragù Toscano features spinach and ricotta ravioli topped with a traditional Tuscan meat ragu ($15 small, $ 22 main course).
For dessert, try the semifreddo ($8), a gelato and nougat cake that's a perfectly shareable way to end a pleasant meal as the sun sets over the water.
Head to Antica Mare before the weather gets too muggy to enjoy the simple pleasures of a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine alfresco. Better yet, go on Tuesday $10 pasta night for a deal with a view. Antica Mare is open Tuesday through Sunday from 4 to 11 p.m.