Pasta is one of the most versatile everyday options foodies can turn to when craving a comfort meal. Every year, Miami's catalog of good restaurants grows a bit larger and, fortunately, a lot better.
There are dozens of spots where you can indulge in a good plate of noodles.
From authentic creations rooted in deep Italian tradition to dishes with a dash of Miami style, these are the finest pastas outside of Italy.
The Alley1433 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Grab a seat at this casual eatery tucked between Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue to satisfy your pasta craving as well as your inner carnivore. The Alley's short rib bucatini, on chef Danny Ganem's rotating menu of Neapolitan-style specials, offers a hearty, meaty sauce of short rib ragu with tomatoes and red wine that works well with the long hollow strands of pasta designed to trap the sauce. The $24 dish is comes topped with parsley and grated Parmesan.
Boia De5205 NE Second Ave., Miami
Stuffed pasta is all about the stuffing, and Boia De's signature tortellini en brodo is an authentic labor of love. Bite into curled thumb-size pockets of pasta filled with duck leg confit, duck prosciutto, and foie gras — a toothsome blend of meatiness, salinity, nuttiness, and creaminess. But the chefs at this welcoming neighborhood spot go above and beyond by serving the tortellini in a reduced and clarified duck stock consommé that takes three days to prepare. A touch of nutmeg adds to the exquisiteness of this $23 dish.
Caffe Abbracci318 Aragon Ave., Miami
Head to Caffe Abbracci in Coral Gables for a classic rendition of southern Italy's spaghetti alla puttanesca. Here, it's made with a rough-and-ready combination of tomatoes, olive oil, olives, capers, garlic, and anchovies. Caffe Abbracci offers an abundant portion of this lusty, tangy, and somewhat salty entrée, with enough flavor and texture to please the most demanding of palates ($22).
Casa D'Angelo2906 NE 207th St., Aventura
Angelo Elia has been offering some of the finest Italian fare in South Florida for the past two decades. At his Aventura outpost, find one of his most beloved signature dishes: chitarra served with lobster tomato ragu and basil. The fresh "guitar" pasta is made in house by pushing the dough through a frame strung with music wire and then tossed with a rich tomato sauce and nubs of a lobster. The dish arrives topped with a decadent dollop of creamy burrata ($36).
Doma35 NE 26th St., Miami
Spaghetti alle vongole — the Amalfi Coast's classic combination of pasta with clams — is a favorite at Doma in Wynwood. The chef's modern interpretation contains Manila clams, Sardinian bottarga, zucchini blossoms, garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil. Red pepper flakes crown the dish for an extra kick. The result is a colorful, fragrant, and unexpected mix of flavors made even more savory by a sprinkle of briny, bright bottarga ($21).
Jaguar Sun230 NE Fourth St., Miami
The cocktail bar, located in the X Miami building, is known for drinks by bartender Will Thompson, but chef/owner Carey Hynes is the upping the bar-food game. The most genius part of the menu at Jaguar Sun are the four pasta dishes, each satisfying and soulful. The bucatini ($14), tossed with Parmesan, Pecorino-Romano, and black pepper, is perfection in simplicity.
Macchialina820 Alton Rd., Miami Beach
Tomatoes and basil are meant to be together. And you'd be hard-pressed to find a more heavenly, authentic rendition of their marriage in a pasta dish than at Macchialina, a South Beach Italian spot that boasts a charming dining room, genuinely friendly service, and wonderful pastas. Chef Michael Pirolo's spaghetti pomodoro offers pristine handmade noodles tossed in a sauce possessing the perfect combination of acidity and sweetness, plus a touch of fragrant basil. Don't be shy about adding plenty of grated Parmesan cheese — it won't corrupt the culinary integrity of this dish ($21).
Sardinia Enoteca1801 Purdy Ave., Miami Beach
The show-stopper at Sardinia Enoteca is chef Pietro Verdeu's pasta bottarga ($25) — a Sardinian classic spaghetti in tomato sauce enlivened by gray mullet's cured fish roe. The unique, lovely aroma of the delicacy is memorable on its own, but the bottarga is also salty and deeply flavorful, clinging to the al dente pasta to add an exquisite crunchiness. The basil in the light tomato sauce adds a beautiful touch of green.
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Scarpetta4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
If you haven’t tried chef Scott Conant’s famous spaghetti ($24) at his Fontainebleau hot spot, Scarpetta, you haven’t lived. Conant takes things back to basics through a classic approach to Italian cuisine with a modern, refined flair. Grab a fork and twirl as many strands as you can fit into your mouth. Let the slow-cooked sauce — made with fresh tomatoes, basil, a dash of Parmesan, butter, and olive oil — drip from the corners. Yes, it's a messy, extravagant mouthful, but it's love at first bite.
Upland49 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
No pasta list is complete without the old three-ingredient favorite known for its simplicity: pasta, pepper, and cheese. At Upland, the California-inspired restaurant in Miami Beach's South of Fifth neighborhood, chef Justin Smillie offers a cacio e pepe made with hot bucatini topped with sharp, salty Pecorino-Romano cheese and black pepper for $19. All flavors shine, and every strand of the long pasta is covered with a smooth, creamy sauce made with dry cheese and water.