By Nicole Schubert for North Italia | February 26, 2019 | Food & Drink
A standout modern Italian concept—located in Mary Brickell Village—that brings old country iconic dishes to life with robust flavor profiles and delightful takes on classic traditions.
North Italia, a new to Miami outpost, is the savory hot spot that we’ve all been waiting for. Featuring homemade handcrafted pasta and pizza dough and reinventions on nonna’s Sunday night Chicken Parmesan, this refined gastronomic tour of Italy presents an ultra-modern take on no-nonsense Italian cooking.
We rounded up our five must-try dishes (and a couple of cocktails!) and chatted with Executive Chef Ryan Smith to hear more about the restaurant's fusion of innovative style and old school red sauce go-to's.
A true taste of Italy—one that begins with a light appetizer full of pungent flavor. North Italia’s Beef Carpaccio, a recently added dish to their Miami menu, is thinly sliced and topped with dolce Gorgonzola, toasted pine nuts, salsa verde, and arugula, and served with a righteously crispy side of grilled bread. A unique spin on the 1950’s original classic, invented by Giuseppe Cipriani in Harry's Bar in Venice, this Italian style appetizer lends homage to the melt-in-your-mouth iconic dish but with an ounce of freshness and a Miami twist.
RYAN SMITH: "We added the salsa verde to it, which is more of an Italian style Salsa Verde. It has capers, tarragon, and Italian parsley."
America’s fascination with pizza—it’s one that starts with a perfect dough and ends with a generous layer of red sauce and mozzarella cheese. But at this downtown Miami stomping ground, the traditional slice is taking on a powerful renaissance with a pie that's motored with one-of-a-kind ingredients. The Prosciutto Pizza, melded with mission figs, goat cheese, and arugula is everything spectacular, featuring homemade dough that’s handcrafted twice daily, from morning to evening. A top selling menu item, this pro pizza is like none other and a goal to try.
RS: "There’s a lot going on, but all of the flavors go together. We’ve been selling this pizza like crazy here. It’s savory and sweet."
Chef Smith’s go-to dish has always been slow and low cooked short rib. So when he entered North Italia’s open kitchen as the executive chef, he knew right away that this humble dish would be his culinary birthright. Made with tender cooked short rib, Parmesan cream, freshly grated horseradish, wilted arugula, and herbed breadcrumbs, this creative plate tells the story of a holiday prime rib roast but transformed into a bucket list pasta dish. And with pasta made fresh daily, guests can watch Chef Smith at work, executing flawlessly al dente spaghetti strings through two extruders, hand-creating this gastronomic pleasure.
RS: "I love short rib. Anyone who knows me and goes out to eat with me knows if I can't find something to order on the menu, they know I’m always going to order short rib. So that’s my favorite pasta dish on the menu. It’s a little different than most of your pasta dishes. It all comes together."
The royal temple of all pasta bowls—Bolognese. And at North Italia, this ultimate comfort food is not only decadently delicious, but iconic, standing as their house specialty and best of show. Composed with traditional meat sauce made with Italian spicy sausage and ground beef, tagliatelle noodles, and grana padano cheese, this elevated yet soothing plate ups the pasta game to levels not met before. With 72 gallons of Chef Smith’s meat sauce made every other day, this buttery smooth Bolognese, packed with rounds of psychedelic pungency, is a fast track ride to Italy complete with old country essence and all of the spices we adore.
RS: "The Bolognese is one of the best one’s I’ve ever had. We sell a good 80 to 90 a day."
A modern take on authentic Chicken Parmesan. Freshly breaded per shift and covered with crushed tomatoes, aged provolone, and mozzarella and served with a side of Parmesan rigatoni, this new genius take on grandma’s beloved long time signature hits all the right spots—super crispy, lightly toasted, and wildly juicy. Growing up eating Chicken Parmesan all the time, Chef Smith knows what works. And this all around star is one for the books.
RS: "It’s so tender you shouldn't even need a knife to cut it. You should be able to cut it right with a fork. We first will butterfly it open and pound it out super thin, not too thin to where its falling apart but thin enough to where its even because we want it to cook even. The breading has a little bit of cheese in it and herbs in it. We wanted it to be lightly toasted, lightly breaded and with the combination of the breading, the sauce, and the cheese, it all comes together."
And one can't forget a good cocktail, paired to perfection with your authentic Italian meal. Thus, two cocktail highlights from North Italia's menu...
A sultry, seductive cocktail that’s a refreshing remedy for those long, hot Miami days. Comingled with prosecco, lime, fiorente elderflower, and ginger infused Smirnoff made in-house for 48 hours, this light as air and blush pink aperitif is the ideal spirit to jumpstart your Italian style feast with. Recommended to pair with Italian meatballs or the white truffle garlic bread, your taste buds will sizzle as you prepare for abundant flavors to appear on your plate.
After sipping on a sweet and pleasureful bombing spritzer, progress to a liqueur that’s all things Tex-Mex meets Italian flavor. North Italia’s Sicilian Margarita, mixed with gran centenario, anejo, solerno blood orange, and lime is a specialty of the house and grows perfectly next to something filled with zizz and zazz like their Squid Ink Malfadine. Curated with their specialty sangria, this bold brew on ice is a groovy twist on the classic margarita, best enjoyed outside on the patio. North Italia, The Shops at Mary Brickell Village, 900 S Miami Ave, 786-475-9100, northitaliarestaurant.com
Photography courtesy of North Italia