The Fontainebleau is known for being one of the best hotels in Miami, so it's not surprising that it is also home to one of the city's best Italian restaurants. Scarpetta (whose name is also slang for the small bit of bread one uses to sop up sauces) is the creation of James Beard Award Recipient Chef Scott Conant. The restaurant itself is also a AAA Four Diamond award winner, so you already know you're walking into someplace great. Scarpetta's menu features exactly what you might expect of an Italian restaurant, but with a high-end twist. Not just ravioli but duck and foie gras ravioli in a marsala reduction. The menu is also heavy on the seafood, with dishes like crispy frito misto, squid ink tagliolini, and pan seared turbot all on the list. Vegetarians will also be pleased to find there is a separate veg-friendly menu that includes flavorful options like farro risotto and creamy polenta.
Recommended for Italian because: This highly revered classy establishment is award-winning and run by award-winners. Shouldn't we bestow some 10Best love on them as well?
Priscilla's expert tip: Don't be afraid to go simple here. Yes, they do offer spaghetti, but trust us when we say it's nothing like what you've got at home.
Cipriani Downtown Miami is high-fashion Italian dining in many ways, from the clientele wearing designer labels to the contemporary cuisine to the space, designed in blue and white by Florentine architect Michele Bonan. Located on the waterfront, the two-level, indoor-outdoor restaurant features Murano glass chandeliers, floor-to-ceiling windows and decorative elements inspired by luxury yachts and ocean liners. A sibling to the famed Ciprianis worldwide and the original Harry's Bar in Venice, the menu offers Italian luxuries of all kinds: aged Praga ham, homemade ravioli and tortellini, langoustines served scampi-style, and of course Champagne bowls filled with the famed Bellinis, comprising peach puree and Prosecco, that were invented at Harry's. Second-generation hosts Maggio and Ignazio ensure that guests also have a party of a time at the more intimate Cipriani Bar.
Recommended for Italian because: A sibling to Cipriani worldwide, this restaurant practically defines Miami food fashion. The bellinis don't hurt, either.
Priscilla's expert tip: Make room for their dessert. The home made ice cream alone is worth it.
Located in the heart of Downtown Miami, this Italian gem is popular with those who do business at the main courthouse as well as those who have business there. La Loggia draws favor for its terrific, home-style pasta dishes and its oft-packed happy hour (one of the only ones on Flagler Street). The beautiful waitstaff darts to and fro, making sure that each table is enjoying its hearty Northern Italian fare. La Loggia's owners know that specials keep the locals coming in and they offer them daily, including salads, pastas, and even desserts of the day. It'll probably take you a few minutes to read through their menus and even longer to make a decision, but that's okay. You can always come back.
Recommended for Italian because: La Loggia's extensive and varied menus, plus its amazing food and drink specials, and downtown location make it an excellent choice for 10Best readers.
Priscilla's expert tip: Happy hour happens weekdays from 4pm-7:30pm, and ladies enjoy complimentary champagne on Thursday evenings.
Housed in Aventura mall, this Italian dining room provides a convenient break for shoppers, but is also worthy of an evening out. Dinner specials might include lobster Fradiavlo (mussels, clams, and shrimp) with pasta and marinara sauce, or grilled lamb chops with porcini and Barolo wine sauce. You may also choose among several pizzas (all baked in a wood-burning oven), various salads, risottos (the tre funghi and the primavera are both delightful), and over 15 tempting pastas. Or if you're just popping by for a quick lunch, they've also got tasty and highly portable paninis. Finally, if the weather allows, enjoy your meal on the patio.
Recommended for Italian because: It's rare to find Italian food that's this good inside a mall, but here you have it.
Priscilla's expert tip: Make a day of it! Treat yourself with a little shopping and end your excursion with pasta and wine.
Located in an Italian-style villa, this restaurant's distinguishable only by an open gate and diners seated at elegant outdoor tables. You won't find any signage outside and you might think you're walking into some millionaire's home on South Beach but you'll be greeted shortly by one of their amicable staff members. Start off with bay scallops topped with fresh herbs and olive oil or red wine-marinated beef carpaccio before progressing to an adventurous selection of pastas such as pumpkin and hazelnut ravioli or lobster and artichoke lasagna. Tantalizing main dish offerings include veal marinated in lime juice, seared beef tenderloin with foie gras, and scaloppine with wild mushrooms. After dinner, cleanse your palate with frozen champagne soup and fresh fruit salad.
Recommended for Italian because: Going to Casa Tua either as a patron of the restaurant or a guest of the hotel is like stepping through a portal to Italy.
Priscilla's expert tip: Google Map this place ahead of time. You won't be able to find it outright as there are no signs outside. Once you find yourself outside the Italian villa with the tall bushes and gate, just walk through and you'll have arrived.
Be pampered at this fine Italian eatery, where the attentive staff treats each guest like family. The name of the restaurant is Italian for "hugs," and you'll feel the warmth and care that goes into each dish. High-profile locals and visiting celebrities can often be found here, and people watching is always fascinating in the colorful, upscale dining room. Start by selecting a wine from the lengthy list, followed by antipasti of the highest quality. Then choose among simple grilled seafood dishes, creamy risotto and fresh pastas accented with Italian herbs. Fun, flavor, and friendliness combine here to great effect.
Recommended for Italian because: If it's good enough for high-profile locals and celebs, it's good enough for us.
Priscilla's expert tip: Save this one for a special date night. You won't regret it.
Even as modern, fusion cuisine and other more exotic dining options gain popularity, there will always be a place for traditional Italian-American restaurants like Anacapri. The menu isn't anything fancy, but it's full of the kind of unforgettable, simple dishes that keep regulars coming back. The vivid red tomato sauce ensures that everything from the lasagna to the manicotti and the veal Parmesan is full of flavor, and most dishes are topped with a generous portion of melted cheese. Fresh salads and a nice wine list enhance the meal. The owner, Joe, will likely come by your table to make sure everything is satisfactory.
Recommended for Italian because: This local chain may not be on the high-end of the culinary scene, but their standard Italian fare is beyond delectable.
Priscilla's expert tip: Check their calendar for events, like discounts and special menus.
Named for renowned chef Dena Marino and her partner, Brandy Coletta, MC Kitchen improves the Design District one restaurant at a time. With a mod dining room, open showcase kitchen and communal bar that extends outside the restaurant into the building's hallway, the 145-seat eatery offers such delicacies as whipped squash-filled burrata; artichoke bruschetta topped with a barely-poached egg; pumpkin tortelloni with rabbit ragout; and braised Florida grouper adorned with bright gems of broccoli raab, Calabrese sausage and white clams. Marino's savory menu changes according to the seasonal markets, however, so don't become fixated on one dish (unless it's her house-made mozzarella). But do expect everything you try to be delish.
Recommended for Italian because: MC Kitchen gifts its patrons with phenomenal cuisine (try the carbonara) without much of a wait. Still a slightly hidden gem, so go soon!
Priscilla's expert tip: Mercato, a small Italian market next door, features Marino's homemade cheeses, breads and ready-to-go meals, including her own proprietary brand of olive oil.
Friendly confines and first-rate service are the trademarks of this unpretentious Italian eatery, located north of Miami Beach. Start off your meal with one of their irresistible appetizers: from steamed mussels to carpaccio, you can't choose unwisely. Then titillate your taste buds with the likes of breaded veal scallopine, grilled salmon with radicchio and rosemary, garlicky penne putanesca, and what many regard as the area's top osso bucco. Of course, you'd be remiss not to save room for one of their homemade desserts...besides, is it really ever a good idea to pass on tiramisu? Since the secret is out on this family-owned restaurant, you can expect to wait for a table, especially on weekends. Reservations suggested for a party of 3 or more.
Recommended for Italian because: Cafe Ragazzi is beautiful and intimate, with personable waitstaff and phenomenal dishes that keep patrons coming back for years.
Priscilla's expert tip: Famed Argentinean singer Ricardo Montaner is the owner, so you may end up seeing him at the restaurant.