The who: Chef Wendy Cacciatori, from Bologna, Italy, helms Via Emilia 9 — a pint-sized South Beach spot that specializes in hearty home cooking and pastas made daily.
The space: The two year-old restaurant recently underwent a complete revamp with a redesign that includes an open kitchen, an expanded market with Italian goods for sale, an eat-in bar, and a dedicated pasta-making station, where guests can watch the executive chef do the live pasta-making thing.
The dishes: Italian cooking from the Emilia-Romagna region. Prices are reasonable and portion sizes aim to please with starters $7-$19 and mains $16-$32.
Fresh bread and olive star things off and then it’s on to light starters of burrata caprese or platters of prosciutto with fried bread. There are over a dozen pasta dishes available with everything from tagliatelle in a mushroom and sausage cream sauce to gnocchi in bolognese.
The passatelli are small tubular pasta made from a dough of bread crumbs, eggs and grated parmesan with nutmeg cooked in broth with a bit of truffle oil and the lasagna is made with meat sauce. Non-pasta dishes comprise hearty plates of stewed veal cooked in milk, chicken in a bolognese sauce and filet mignon.
A “Crostata di marmellata di fragole,” or strawberry tart rounds out the dessert menu which also includes chocolate cake.
Bottom line: Possibly the only spot in South Beach where you can witness the chef making pasta minutes before it hits the table.