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The Iovino family has been in the restaurant business for 30 years and most recently opened up the South Italian gem — Amare Ristorante in SoFi. The owners have created a family-like warmth in an upscale vibe. Both inside and outdoor seating is vast, with plenty of space for proper social distancing. The interior is filled with art statements in the colorful and sunny style of the Amalfi coast, featuring hand-painted ceramic tiles from Naples; the sprawling outdoor area is an enchanted garden filled with bougainvilla and lemon trees.

The menu is anything but petite, with a plentitude of South Italian classics to choose from. The restaurant imports only three staple ingredients — San Marzano tomatoes, olive oil, and mineral-rich pasta di Gragnano from Naples. For everything else, thanks is given to the bounty of South Florida’s sea and land. 

Specialties include citrusy Branzino Carpaccio, Melanzane e Zucchine (baked eggplant, zucchini, and mozarella), Spaghetti Neri (squid ink pasta, king crab, artichokes, bottarga di Muggine) and Costata Di Vitello Alla Parmigiana (veal chop, tomato crema, buratta, crispy basil). Needless to say, wine is carefully catered. 

The experience might set you back a good penny; even so, you will likely bring out of town visitors here first chance you get. P.S. Lunch, aka Happy Hour, is on weekdays from 12 to 6 p.m. and offers very friendly prices on both food and drinks. Oh, and make sure to visit Amare with a leisurely mindset. Dishes are made-to-order from scratch, and many take up to 30 minutes to prepare. Although we doubt you’ll want to rush anywhere after enjoying a meal at Amare.

1 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL; (305) 731-6999,  amareristorante.com
Open Sun -Thurs 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.; Friday -Saturday 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. – 12 a.m.

 

  

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Photo credit: Ruben Cabrera

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Photo credit: Ruben Cabrera

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