Macaluso’s meatballs

 
  Prime One Twelve

City Hall
Nothing conjures up nostalgic warm fuzzies and memories of Mom like a thick slab of hearty meatloaf. City Hall, restaurateur Steve Haas’s new spot on the bustling Biscayne corridor, offers an iteration slathered in gravy and fried onions, accompanied by crisp French green beans and a casserole of gooey mac and cheese, made perfectly sweet and salty with chorizo and maple syrup. 2004 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305-764-3130

Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop
The no-frills luncheonette backdrop is the perfect setting for something an abuela would serve. Go for the slow-cooked arroz con pollo, featuring saffron-flavored rice and chicken that falls off the bone. For a side, only sweet plantains—fried until they’re just crispy at the edges—will do. 186 NE 29th St., Miami, 305-573-4681

The Forge
Though The Forge underwent a substantial face-lift last year, executive chef Dewey LoSasso kept the food focused on creative versions of hearty classics. Among the most savory and satisfying are the short ribs braised in Barolo wine until fork-tender, served over hearty polenta with prosciutto and onion rings. 432 W. 41st St., Miami Beach, 305-538-8533

Il Gabbiano
Il Gabbiano proves that a whitetablecloth, fine-dining experience isn’t synonymous with dainty fare. The risotto alla Milanese may be the most luxurious take on rice, ever, with saffron spices, beef stock, bone marrow, cheese, and—for good caloric measure—lard instead of butter. 335 S. Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305-373-0063

Macaluso’s
This South Beach staple is a go-to on chilly nights when you want good Italian-American fare, and lots of it. Try the meatballs, available as a standalone course—appropriate given each one’s nearly baseball-size diameter. The juicy blend of meats is accompanied by a dollop of ricotta cheese, and comes apart under a slow-simmered red sauce rivaling that of anyone’s outerborough grandmother. 1747 Alton Road, Miami Beach, 305-604-1811; macalusosmiami.com

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink
The offerings at this Design District superstar change daily, but one comforting constant is a toothsome take on warm grits. Here, a Fudge Family Farms pork shoulder—roasted until it flakes off with just a nudge—nests in a bowl of Anson Mills cheese grits dressed up with pickled red onion and parsley sauce. 130 NE 40th St., Miami, 305-573-5550; michaelsgenuine.com

Prime One Twelve
Though the thick, juicy steaks are stars here, there are also some seriously over-the-top takes on classic American favorites. Life is good with a side of the sumptuous “Mac” baked with not two, not three, but five different kinds of cheese (Fontina, Gruyère, white cheddar, mozzarella, and Parmesan), and buttressed with truffles. 112 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, 305-532-8112; mylesrestaurantgroup.com

Rosa Mexicano
As if this upscale Mexican eatery wasn’t comfy enough, up the ante with the queso fundido appetizer (melted cheese fondue). A cast-iron skillet arrives filled with melted Chihuahua cheese, and sizzling chorizo sausage and peppers, wild mushrooms, and fresh huitlacoche, or garlic shrimp and chilies. If this doesn’t make everything better, we don’t know what will. 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 305-695-1005; 900 S. Miami Ave., Miami, 786-425-1001; rosamexicano.com

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
This recently opened Southern spot is the latest project of the dashing and talented Jeff McInnis, formerly of Gigi in Midtown. The culinary focus is on no-holds-barred buttery classics. Go straight for the chicken and waffles, whose doughy pillows are spiced with chives, and served with bourbon pecan butter and fresh local fruits. 1600 Lenox Ave., Miami Beach, 305-538-5220; runchickenrun.com

To see these recommendations and more of what Ocean Drive loves in Miami, visit gogobot.com.

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