Grilled Mediterranean octopus at Quattro
Grilled Mediterranean octopus at Quattro

No one knows pasta like Miami’s very own Italians. Here, in-the-know locals reveal their favorites for a taste of home. 

Fuor d’Acqua
Martina Borgomanero Basabe
Mother and socialite

Cred: “I am from Bologna, a beautiful medieval town with a very important cultural heritage; it also happens to be the Italian capital of food. I take food very personally.”
Why Fuor d’Acqua: “Everyone here is Italian, which is very reassuring. When the staff know what you are eating, they know how to attend to you. Having dinner in its garden feels like I am on vacation back home. I love the seafood and shellfish, and the tagliatelle all’astice—traditional pasta from Emilia-Romagna and Marche with lobster sauce. They carry Italian wines exclusively, fresh and white. I am a wine snob, but I have never had a problem here.” 560 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, 305-534-1921

Bianca
Marco Norma
Owner, Rossano Ferretti Hairdressing

Cred: “I am from Portofino, my mom is from a small town close to Siena, and my dad grew up in Parma—a city known for excellent food. Cooking is my hobby; I know about good food.”
Why Bianca: “The chef’s panzanella tastes the way my mom made it back in Italy! It comes from Toscana, and not many Italians know how to do it. I’m also a big fan of the branzino. The spaghetti vongole looks simple but is almost impossible to find made just right—we Italians are very particular about our pasta being al dente with not too much water in the sauce. I leave a double tip [for the staff]! They know how to do their job. I feel like I’m in Europe, especially in the summertime.” 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-674-5752

Casa Tua
Ciro Campagnoli
President, Beni Internazionali USA

Cred: “My heritage goes back many generations born in Bologna. I moved to the US when I was 29, and I am the only one from my family that has emigrated.”
Why Casa Tua: “The quality of the food and the location in the center of Miami Beach make it special. Also, it’s a hidden place with no sign outside, which makes it even more special. I order the farro risotto with fresh Maine lobster with a glass of Ca’ del Bosco, one of my favorite Italian Franciacorta wines. I love how light it is and tasty and flavorful at the same time. I became a member of Casa Tua after one dinner.” 1700 James Ave., Miami Beach, 305-673-1010

Cecconi’s Miami Beach
Dionea Orcini
Owner and designer, Dionea Orcini Fine Jewelry

Cred: “‘Everything you see I owe to spaghetti,’ Sophia Loren said. It’s well known Italians are crazy mangioni with an incurable addiction for pasta and pizza; I’m no exception.”
Why Cecconi’s: “Sitting with f riends on the patio while sipping a glass of Amarone feels like being in Rome. We usually order a bunch of appetizers to share, and while the rest of the table debates over meatballs and caponata crostini, my eyes dart toward the pizza menu section. Just seeing the word ‘pizza’ brings the smell of freshly baked crust with tomatoes and oregano straight to that part of my brain in charge of decision making.” 4385 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 786-507-7902

Prime Italian
Derek Degrazio
Lead trainer, Barry’s Bootcamp

Cred: “My family is from Sicily. Every Sunday dinner was at Grandma’s eating her homemade cooking and watching football.”
Why Prime Italian: “I love it because the food brings back memories of my childhood. My favorite dish is the meatballs, and the sauce is great, not too sweet and not too salty. It’s also my favorite spot to cheat because everything on the menu is delicious. I like to sit at the bar; there’s always a good crowd, and don’t be surprised if you bump into an athlete or celebrity.” 101 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, 305-695-8484

Quattro Gastronomia Italiana
Tommaso Cardana
President and owner, Tomson Hospitality

Cred: “I am from Verbania, a little town by Lago Maggiore in the north of the Piedmont region. As a kid, I used to visit my grandma near the lake and always asked her to make me cotoletta (which is Milanese) with mashed potatoes.”
Why Quattro: “It’s where I go when I miss home. The twin chefs Fabrizio and Nicola Carro are from Piedmont, and their food is traditional Northern Italian. The ambience is beautiful, and the pastas are house-made and perfect. I love the agnolotti stuffed with braised beef and, of course, the veal Milanese. When I order that at Quattro, it takes me back to being a kid.” 1014 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 305-531-4833

Scarpetta
Michael Terrinoni
President, Universal Media Direct

Cred: “My parents are from Naples, and I grew up in a house where Italian was the first language. My mom and grandma made the best rigatoni alla vodka.”
Why Scarpetta: “It’s a great place for a romantic dinner or the start of a night on the town. For appetizers, I love the raw yellowtail, mozzarella in carozza, and grilled octopus. For entrées, their tomato basil pasta is just like my mom’s. And I top it all off with the pistachio soufflé and polenta-crusted cheesecake—to die for.” 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-674-4660

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