La Moderna: Cocktails From Roma With Love Coming to Sunset Harbour Thursday

A visit to the eternal city of Rome means eating and drinking well. Endless plates of pastas are accompanied by freshly cured meats, a bounty from the sea, and free-flowing local wines. The only thing you're likely to not be able to see are good cocktail bars. Indeed, in a city known for its vast history, cocktail culture is finally taking hold in the city, with cocktail bars turning up in neighborhoods like Testaccio and Trastevere.

Now, one of Roma's best places for pizza and cocktails is coming to Sunset Harbour. La Moderna opens in Sunset Harbour tomorrow, June 25. The 2,800-square-foot space will feature pizza, classic Italian dishes with modern touches, and crafted cocktails. Founder Luca D'Angelo, who also owns Fratelli La Bufala, is eager to bring his modern Roman trattoria and bar to South Beach, saying, “We look forward to delivering a truly unique experience to the Miami market with our skillfully crafted interpretation of modern Italian cooking, quality libations and refined atmosphere."

The 100-seat restaurant, designed by Italian architect Roberto Liorni, features an industrial workshop vibe with a copper bar and extensive millwork imported from Italy. The decor was inspired by the restaurant's name, La Moderna, which refers to Italia's post-WWII manufacturing boom.

The kitchen, helmed by executive chef Manuel Lanni, will offer the rustic yet elegant fare of the central Lazio region of Italy, where Rome resides. Although the full menu is not yet available, dishes include spaghetti liberally doused with Oestra caviar and squid ink ravioli stuffed with cod, served with a saffron sauce. 

At La Moderna, Neapolitan-style pizzas are made using the same methods found in the famous pizzerias along Napoli's famed Via dei Tribunali. Special flour is proofed for over 70 hours, then kneaded on special Carrara marble before being placed in a Stefano Ferrara handmade brick oven to get a charred, blistered crust and molten center.

The cocktail program is headed by executive bar manager Valentino Longo and executive mixologist Rusty Cerven and features eight signature drinks inspired by classic Italian movies and art, all designed to be paired with the restaurant's food. The bar will also host special guest bartenders from Europe's most acclaimed lounges. 

La Moderna is located at 1874 Bay Rd. in Miami Beach, and will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. For more information, call 786-717-7274 or visit

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss