Via Emilia 9 Brings Regional Italian Cuisine and Half-Off Wine Bottles to South Beach

Inside Via Emilia 9 in South Beach
Inside Via Emilia 9 in South Beach Photo by Valeria Nekhim Lease
Via Emilia 9 in South Beach prides itself on serving authentic regional cuisine from the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy. Just north of Tuscany, the region includes cities like Bologna, Parma, Ferrara, and Modena. The name Via Emilia refers to the main street that crosses the entire region. The restaurant is owned by husband and wife team chef Wendy Cacciatore and Valentina Imbrenda.

The couple is from Emilia-Romagna and started in the restaurant industry back in Italy. A few years ago, Cacciatore was invited to Miami to work as a consultant for a restaurant group looking to open an Italian eatery in the area. He suggested a regional restaurant focused on dishes from Emilia-Romagna, but his clients weren't interested. If they weren't going to do it, he and his wife were, so they left their restaurants in Italy under their parents' charge and moved to the Magic City.

To be honest, even they weren't sure their concept would work or that locals would embrace an Italian restaurant that didn't serve chicken parmesan. That said, in the two and a half years they've been open, Via Emilia 9 has received lots of positive feedback. This past summer, the owners renovated the eatery to open up the flow and added a small Italian market at the front. It's a casual space with wood tables and chalkboard-lined walls bearing crates filled with wine bottles.

Nearly everything you'll eat here is imported from Italy, and all of the pasta is made fresh onsite daily by a sfoglina. The restaurant recently launched a daily happy hour where any bottle of wine and charcuterie plate is half off between 4 and 6:30 p.m. New Times was invited to sample Via Emilia 9's regional menu, which is truly unique in Miami. Below are some highlights.
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Prosciutto di parma and Parmigiano-Reggiano
Photo by Valeria Nekhim Lease
The Emilia-Romagna region is known for its pork, prosciutto, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and balsamic vinegar. The city of Parma is the birthplace of Parmigiano cheese and prosciutto, and at Via Emilia 9 you can get a charcuterie and cheese plate featuring the famous cheese and meat ($18.90). Valentina Imbrenda says Parmigiano is like salt for the people of Emilia-Romagna because there's virtually no dish that doesn't include the ingredient. The cheese is paired with balsamic vinegar, which originated in Modena, another city in the region. They've also included a homemade fig chutney alongside a Robiola cheese. The bread featured on this board is also homemade and has a lovely crunch to it. It's a classic Italian starter, and chef Wendy and his wife know how to do it justice.
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Homemade pumpkin tortellini.
Photo by Valeria Nekhim Lease
Pumpkin is another signature ingredient the Emilia-Romagna region is famous for. Here, you can try homemade tortellini ($18.90) stuffed with pumpkin from Ferrara and mascarpone cheese. It's cooked in a brown butter and sage sauce and sprinkled with the requisite Parmigiano-Reggiano. It's a light pasta bursting with delicate flavors.
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Tortellini in broth.
Photo by Valeria Nekhim Lease
Tortellini in broth ($21.90) is a staple of Bologna and Imbrenda says residents of Emilia-Romagna eat it every single day. In the rest of Italy, however, tortellini in broth is traditionally eaten during the two weeks surrounding Christmas. Italians in Miami flock to Via Emilia 9 during the holidays to purchase the homemade tortellini, and the restaurant employs four pasta makers around the clock to accommodate the demand. The actual broth tastes much like chicken soup broth, while each al dente tortellini is packed with prosciutto, Parmigiano, mortadella, and pork. There's nothing not to like here.
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Handmade tagliatelle with crispy prosciutto.
Photo by Valeria Nekhim Lease
Tagliatelle with crispy prosciutto and Parmigiano ($16.90) is Imbrenda's favorite dish; she says she eats it several times a week. The saltiness of the prosciutto and the cheese pairs well with the richness of the silky tagliatelle noodles. It's a very simple pasta dish that shows uncomplicated cuisine often tastes the best.

Imbrenda and her husband are warm and friendly, and eager to introduce diners to the unique cuisine of their native region. They take customer service and cooking seriously, and work hard to create an inviting atmosphere while offering an affordable experience. The eatery is open daily for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. till 11 p.m.
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Valeria Nekhim was born in the Ukraine and raised in Montreal. She has lived in Manhattan and Miami. Her favorite part of food writing is learning the stories of chefs and restaurateurs.