Dolci di Sicilia: Try the Cannoli and the Ricotta Doughnut

If you are looking for an authentic Sicilian bakery, head to a different island of sorts. Dolci di Sicilia on Normandy Isle has the goods.

Easy parking, friendly service, delicious coffee, and exquisite pastries have made this month-old café a neighborhood hot spot. Both an Italian flag and an American flag hang behind the counter, making clear these two countries have joined forces to put Italian sweets in the hands of Miamians.

When it comes to Sicilian sweets, the cannoli is king, as evidenced by this iconic line from The Godfather: "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli." In other words, after the hard work (or hit) is done, move on to the sweet stuff. The filled, tubed pastry comes in many varieties at Dolci Di Sicilia. We tried the rich, gloriously green pistachio cannoli ($2.90). The center was sweet and decadent, and the crunchy shell offered strong support. You won't be able to stop yourself from uttering, "Holy cannoli!"

Other cannoli flavors include plain ricotta, chocolate, and lemon. For something a little different, the bakery also serves cannoli di sfoglia, which boasts a softer, more bread-like shell.

Another must-try sweet is the bombolone con ricotta ($1.90). This fried Italian doughnut is pillow-soft, sugar-coated, and filled with sweet cheese. It's simply irresistible. The ricotta filling is rich, creamy, and studded with a few chocolate chips, but the sweetness is subtle to balance out the rest of the sugar in the dessert. For a sweeter, less rich filling, they also serve it cream filled. The doughnut is light, airy, and conveniently placed near the checkout.

Beyond the sweets, the biscotti, and the superb coffee, Dolci di Sicilia also serves arancini ($2.90). These fried rice balls and/or cones are said to have originated in Sicily. If you have never had one, they are a croqueta-like treat with rice instead of potato and a variety of fillings. This bakery offers both meat-filled and vegetarian-friendly balls.

The best news is that because Dolci di Sicilia is such a hit, a second location is slated to open in South Beach in March. Leave your home. Get a cannoli.

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