For the past five years, chef Mauro Luise has been serving home-cooked Italian food in his Caffé di Mauro at the back end of Kafka's Cybercafé (and used bookstore). Kafka was the largest and oldest cybercafé in Miami Beach, but as of August 1, it has relinquished the property.
In the coming weeks, Caffé di Mauro will take over the large, two-level corner space at Washington Avenue and 15th Street. The Kafka's sign still hangs up front for the time being. "We kept it up for now," Luise explains, "because everybody knows about Kafka." (Presumably he meant the cybercafé, not Franz.)
After arriving in Miami from his native Padua, Italy, in 2002, Luise worked at Joia, the short-lived Parioli Caffe, and the excellent Casa Tua. There are currently only four tables, plastic plates, and no beer or wine (BYOB) at Caffé di Mauro, but that's about to change.
Good news, because Chef Mauro is quite skilled with pastas. His fettuccine carbonara is one of the better renditions in town: noodles, cooked impeccably al dente, coated with egg and Pecorino-Romano and flecked with sautéed squares of bacon ($10.50). Other pastas are in the same price range, but it doesn't pay to get into too much menu detail. As we say, things are about to change.
Hope they keep the big, foamy cappuccino the same.
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Will they still be selling the books? "No," Luise replied. "But they'll be around for people to read while they're here, and we'll have international magazines and newspapers too."
Kafka is now open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. This, too, is subject to change.
Caffé di Mauro
1464 Washington Ave., Miami Beach