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The Penne a la Melanzane is a specialty at Nonna Lina, now open in Miami.EXPAND
The Penne a la Melanzane is a specialty at Nonna Lina, now open in Miami.
Photo by Raphael Disla for Nonna Lina

Nonna Lina in Miami's Upper Eastside Specializes in Family-Style Meals To-Go

While most restaurants are scrambling to make safe seating arrangements for their dine-in guests, new restaurant Nonna Lina is taking a different route. The newly launched family-style menu of Italian favorites is currently only available for delivery and takeout as a way of tackling the ever-changing guidelines.

The new concept is the work of executive chef Ivo Mazzon, named for his grandmother, and is the to-go arm of Sottosale (8001 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). His goal with Nonna Lina, he says, is to offer guests his take on authentic regional dishes using only Italian-sourced ingredients.

"In order to be authentic, Italian ingredients have to be used in each of our recipes for us to give it that 100 percent Italian stamp of approval," says Mazzon, who began cooking when he was ten years old at a local restaurant in his hometown in Italy and studied at the Italian Istituto Alberghiero Beltrame located in Vittorio Veneto.

"The region of Veneto is luckily very versatile, so I had the chance to experience [working with] seafood, poultry, and baking, alongside a number of traditional products," Mazzon explains.

Taking the authenticity stamp one step further, the chef also executes his dishes in smaller portions, making sure he uses the correct amount of seasoning to present a more genuine, balanced flavor profile.

"Here in the U.S., servings are much larger with [less] importance on ingredients, causing dishes to be seasoned much more for the same level of taste," he says.

The takeaway menu focuses on traditional dishes like chicken scallopini, thin-crust pizza cooked in a wood-burning oven, and pasta served in portions for one, two, or four people ($12 to $36). Highlights include the tagliatelle Bolognese, the chef's homemade all-beef Bolognese sauce accented with onions and carrots, or the house specialty, penne alla melanzane.

The penne dish is the chef's recreation of a popular dish at the restaurant where he worked in Verona while attending culinary school. According to Mazzon, his particular iteration hails from Sicily and is representative of southern Italian cuisine thanks to its addition of eggplant.

"I love to have this dish on the menu because it is not only healthy but also very tasty when finished with a topping of melted mozzarella, which makes it very attractive to the local customers," Mazzon says. "It brings me back to good memories of one of my trainings in Verona."

Nonna Lina. 8001 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 786-634-1005; nonnalinamiami.com. Delivery only through GrubHub and Uber Eats.

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