From pasta to pizza, these five Italian restaurants should be on every foodie’s list when visiting Coconut Grove. Capire?
Opened earlier this year, Spasso is Coconut Grove’s most recent testament to “rustic, simple and brutally honest” good food. Helmed by Chef Gaetano Ascione (who worked at Michelin-rated Chicago spot Gioco prior to opening Spasso), the restaurant offers a range of good, traditional Italian offerings like thin crust pizzas baked in a stone-fired oven, a kaleidescope of pastas and home-made sauces and simple yet hearty entrees from land, sea and sky.
May we suggest: Orecchiette with oxtail meat, tomatoes, arugula, and parmigiano; Apple Tatin with caramel ice cream.
3540 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove
Cozy and welcoming, Spartico at the Mayfair Hotel is a casual go-to for light, simple fair like sandwiches and salad. That said, their Roman pizza, cooked to a perfect crisp in a Milanese wood-burning oven, steals the show. Made with handmade dough and decorated with a dazzling array of toppings ranging from tomino cheese to figs and speck, Spartico’s pizza begs you to forget your diet and go for more than just a few slices.
May we suggest: House Mac & Cheese, made with wood oven baked cavatappi pasta, creamy cheddar, gouda, mozzarella & spinach; Breakfast Pizza, made with speck, prosciutto ham, caramelized onions & eggs.
3000 Florida Ave., Coconut Grove
3. Strada in the Grove
Small and intimte, Strada brings a decided dose of sex appeal and sophistication to Coconut Grove. Hanging pots of herbs are part of the charming decor, assualting your senses with a kaleidescope of fresh, earthy aromas and vivid color. The menu, like the decor, is a blend of Old World flavors with a contemporary twist.
Might we suggest: Homemade Crostone with bruschetta; Polenta e Fonduta, with asparagus and gorgonzola fondue; Pappardelle con Crema di Porcini (truffle porcini mushroom creamy sauce).
3176 Commodore Plaza, Miami
4. Sapore di Mare
For seafood lovers, look no further than Sapore di Mare. From crudo to whole fish preparations, Sapore di Mare’s menu is meant to read “like a study of the sea.” Its seafood offerings cover fresh seasonal fish and shellfish sourced from international waters, while Executive Chef Valter Mancini’s house-made pasta works to satisfy your carb cravings.
Might we suggest: Carpaccio di Branzino, thinly sliced branzino on green apples; Calamari alla Griglia, grilled squid filet served with lemon and arucola salad; Tagliolini alla Carbonara di Mare, with a fresh mix seafood and saffron.
3111 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove
5. Fornaro Restaurant
Fornaro Restaurant’s focus is all about authenticity with a contemporary spin. From baked brick oven pizzas to homemade pastas and rich, hearty entres, this casual yet upscale spot offers something for every palate – even some Italianized American comfort food (truffle fries anyone?).
Might we suggest: Polpettone, made with freshly ground filet mignon; Tartufo Fries, garnished with truffle oil and Parmesan cheese with a veal sauce dip; Risotto Milanese with Ossobuco, cooked in a wood burning oven with saffron risotto.
2750 SW 26th Ave., Unit C, Miami
*Fornaro Restaurant is closed for the summer and will reopen September 20, 2016.