The Best Italian Restaurants In Miami
photo credit: Courtesy Erba
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, it’s time to see an ophthalmologist. But when you want to find a truly great Italian restaurant in Miami, look no further. This city has an abundance of mediocre to bad Italian spots. But this guide only has the great ones. They always cook their pasta perfectly, make veal parmigiana that hangs off the plate, and have the kind of lasagna that provides emotional support in times of need.
Macchialina is the best Italian restaurant in Miami—not just South Beach, but all of Miami. The straightforward dishes here aren’t needlessly complicated, but still taste like every crumb on the plate has been carefully considered. They make some of the city’s best versions of lasagna and veal parmigiana, and walk that tricky tightrope between formal and casual. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, looking for something that’ll make fighting for South Beach parking worth it, or just want incredible pasta, this is where you should end up. And if it’s nice out, you should specifically end up outside on the converted hostel that’s now Macchialina’s lovely outdoor patio, one of the best places to eat outside in Miami.
Erba is from the team behind Ghee, a restaurant that makes Indian food feel local. And Erba has that same philosophy. The menu is inspired by Florence with plenty of local ingredients (sometimes from the restaurant’s own farm). So the pasta is not only delicious, but very unique. The green mafaldine is served with chunks of conch, the gnocchi has Key West pink shrimp, and the beef cheek agnolotti is just incredible (regardless of where those cheeks came from). There’s also a porchetta chop and thick bistecca alla Fiorentina, in case you’re in more of an Italian protein mood. Also, bread service starts with a melting candle made of butter. It's the most fun we've ever had with a candle.
Macchialina is where we go when we want near-flawless versions of Italian classics—but Boia De is where we go when we want an Italian restaurant that’s like when the Beatles did all that LSD. The dishes at Boia De have an Italian soul, but also feel like they were made using alien technology. The often changing menu includes dishes like potato skins covered with stracciatella and caviar, a king crab tagliolini nero that's served chilled, and a “crispy” tiramisu that’s both crunchy and creamy and is also now our all-time favorite tiramisu. The super tiny restaurant is also painfully cute. Here’s the bad news: Boia De is one of the toughest reservations in Miami. So turn on those Resy notifications or try your luck walking in for bar seating during the week.
We must’ve walked right by Borti, a vendor inside The Citadel food hall, a dozen times before someone told us to try their rigatoni carbonara. And now that bowl of pasta—with its rich yolk-y sauce and crispy slivers of guanciale—is one of our favorite bowls of pasta in Miami (and one of the rare ones under $20). So we no longer walk past Borti, especially when we’re craving pasta portions so big we can have it again for breakfast the next day. Everything here is good—from the gnocchi to one of Miami’s best lasagnas. They also make the best suppli al telefono you’ll find in the city, and it’s takeout-friendly too.
When some people think of classic Italian restaurants, they picture brick walls and chianti in straw baskets. Or they think of stuffy restaurants with white tablecloths. Thankfully, Luca Osteria is neither. It’s an Italian spot in Coral Gables that’s casual and fun but will also impress Mark, your fussy friend who studied abroad in Bologna and won’t shut up about real pasta. They do indeed serve some of the best housemade pasta in Miami—like bucatini alle vongole with pickled garlic butter and a generous amount of clams. But their patate fritte is what made us fall in love with this place. These crispy fried potato balls are covered in parmigiano fonduta and served with a single egg yolk that’s stirred to form a creamy, salty sauce. Luca only opened in 2021, but somehow it already feels like a classic.
What do Paul Rudd, the theory of relativity, and Caffe Abbracci have in common? They’re timeless. This classic Italian restaurant in Coral Gables is probably where your parents went on their first date, so if you’re looking for a hot new restaurant, this isn’t it. But if you like nostalgia, generous portions of linguine with clams, or homemade agnolotti with spinach and ricotta, look no further. And once you try their veal parmesan (it’s off-menu, but ask for it), you’ll crave it like a late-night pizza. Abbracci is a delightful time warp—they still free-pour drinks and price their menu like it’s 2019—but 34 years later, it’s still one of the best Italian spots in Miami.
Pastamarket is the Italian restaurant equivalent of a Choose Your Own Adventure book. You get to customize your noodle and preferred sauce from an almost overwhelming amount of options. There are so many that you may think to yourself, “This can’t all be good.” But the slightly remarkable thing about Pastamarket is that it is all good. Plus, if you’re feeling indecisive, they have menu items that don’t require filling out a pasta questionnaire, like an excellent strozzapreti with pistacchio and mascarpone. Pastamarket is a perfect lowkey option when you just want a simple bowl of noodles—and they really make the most out of their small outdoor patio too.
Luna Pasta used to operate from a tiny little room in MiMo, but it’s since moved into a bigger spot a mere 300 feet north (the old space functions as a takeout market for fresh pasta, empanadas, and dessert). But everything we love about Luna exists in the new location. There’s definitely an Argentinian influence to the menu (they also have thick alfajores and rotating Argentinian desserts) but pasta is the main event. They use a lot of cream sauces, but somehow the pasta remains delicate and not overwhelmingly rich—as is the case with The Golden Plate, a bowl of ricotta and truffle tortelloni in a demi-glace cream sauce. The new dining room is more spacious, but still very cute and date night-appropriate.
There are so many Italian restaurants in Coral Gables that have white tablecloths and some variation of lobster pasta on their menu. Zucca is one of them, but the most surprising thing about this upscale spot is how light the food is. Lamb meatballs in tomato sauce and ricotta cheese sounds like a gut bomb, but the meatballs are earthy and light. And there’s so much lobster in the paccheri pasta you’ll wonder if they made a mistake. Another way Zucca keeps it light is the noise. It’s one of the quietest restaurants in Miami thanks to velvet curtains and hidden soundproofing that turns mighty Miami voices into smooth murmurs. So it’s great for a fancy date night and the perfect place to bring parents with selective hearing.