Miami Spice

The Five Best Italian Restaurants to Visit During Miami Spice

Linguine con bottarga di sardinia e acciughe at Zucca.
Linguine con bottarga di sardinia e acciughe at Zucca. Photo courtesy of Zucca
Italian food's appeal is universal: Simple, relatable ingredients are used to make a soulful and comforting dish of food that most people adore. This year, Miami Spice has nearly 200 restaurants on its roster, and it's no surprise that a large portion of them feature some of the best of Italy's gastronomy.

The five restaurants below (listed in alphabetical order) are the ones serving the best Italian Spice menus. Enjoy while you can: The program runs through September 30, offering a three-course, prix-fixe lunch or brunch for $28 and dinner for $42 (not including gratuities, taxes, and beverages).
click to enlarge Rigatoni at Fiola - PHOTO COURTESY OF FIOLA
Rigatoni at Fiola
Photo courtesy of Fiola

Fiola

1500 San Ignacio Ave., Coral Gables
305-912-2639
fiolamiami.com

Miami Spice is a great time to get a taste of master chef Fabio Trabocchi's cooking at his Coral Gables restaurant. This outpost of the Michelin-starred Fiola in Washington, D.C., showcases the chef's interesting riffs on classic Italian cuisine, starting with a summery play on gazpacho that blends strawberry and basil oil, a dish of wild yellowfin tuna alla puttanesca with boquerones and tomatoes, or a decadent portion of foie gras crema catalana served with a fruity accompaniment of mango and coconut topped with almonds. Modern inventive twists can be found in entrées of Wagyu short rib with whey polenta and truffle osso bucco sauce; saffron risotto with calabaza, pecorino, and thyme; and yellowtail snapper alla vernaccia, served alongside clams, artichokes, fennel and green olives. It will be hard to pick one dessert, so agree to share a chocolate terrine and a fior di latte gelato with your date or bestie instead.
click to enlarge Burrata at Nido Caffe - PHOTO COURTESY OF NIDO CAFFE
Burrata at Nido Caffe
Photo courtesy of Nido Caffe

Nido Caffe e Ristorante

7295 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
305-960-7022
niddocaffe.com

This quaint restaurant in Belle Meade offers one of the most extensive Italian Spice menus this year. There are seven appetizers to choose from and all are worth a try, from classic burrata and insalata di pulpo to more indulgent options of carpaccio di salmone or tartare di tonno. Then follows a feast of nine entrées from which to select, among them pastas such as spaghetti di vongole and ravioli stuffed with figs or short rib; a main of risotto with scallops and asparagus for seafood lovers; and for carnivores, fileto di manzo or pollo al marsala. Make sure you stick around for dessert: a simple yet indulgent tiramisu.
click to enlarge Handmade pasta is a specialty at Osteria Morini in Miami Beach. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY LEO
Handmade pasta is a specialty at Osteria Morini in Miami Beach.
Photo by Anthony Leo

Osteria Morini

1750 Alton Rd., Miami Beach
305-918-1037
osteriamorini.com

Miami Spice is a great time to get a taste New York's upscale Osteria Morini, now open inside the Kimpton Palomar South Beach. Dine in the sprawling main dining room or outdoors on a canal-front patio enveloped in string lighting and colorful umbrellas. The menu here opens with appetizer choices of ajoblanco, a white gazpacho enhanced by green almond and pickled grapes; or tuna tartare. The generous entrée portions are best when shared, and include vegetarian gnocchetti smothered in a kale pesto, branzino topped with kale salad and salsa verde, and seared lamb chops enhanced with an Italian herb crust. The best sweet ending is the goat cheese panna cotta, topped with pistachio and balsamic cherries.
click to enlarge Get your carb fix at Scarpetta. - PHOTO BY MICHAEL PISARRI
Get your carb fix at Scarpetta.
Photo by Michael Pisarri

Scarpetta

4441 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
305-674-4660
fontainebleau.com
Celebrity chef Scott Conant's Italian eatery in the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel is a balm for diners looking for a high-quality Italian meal. For starters, there's Mediterranean octopus with potatoes and smoked crema or classic burrata served with pesto, heirloom tomato, and aged balsamic. The star of the meal is Conant's famous spaghetti dish, simply coated with a brilliant tomato sauce and leaves of fresh, aromatic basil. There's also a duck and foie gras ravioli and branzino, along with Chilean sea bass with sweet potato and squid ink sauce ($12 upcharge). For dessert, dive into a tiramisu with caramelized white chocolate or the tropical panna cotta with fresh berries and coconut crumble.

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF ZUCCA
Photo courtesy of Zucca

Zucca

162 Alcazar Ave., Coral Gables
786-580-3731
hotelstmichel.com

Zucca is a casual fine-dining restaurant and mixology bar specializing in classic Italian cuisine inside Coral Gables' historic Hotel St. Michel. The atmosphere is relaxed yet upscale and the Miami Spice menu offers a well-composed list of options to please solo diners and groups alike. A starter of Wagyu beef carpaccio is topped with mushrooms and summer truffle, while a delicate dish of zucchini flowers comes filled with smoked mozzarella cheese, crisped prosciutto, and spring mix salad. Main courses include paccheri pasta tossed with baby octopus and shrimp sauce and filet mignon medallions accompanied by mixed mushrooms and roasted potatoes. To finish your meal, choose from a  classic dessert of pecorino Toscano cheese with honey or the gelato of the day.
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Juliana Accioly
Contact: Juliana Accioly