If you live in Miami and haven’t yet been to Pane & Vino, we get it.
The Italian restaurant is located just north of Española Way in Miami Beach, a magnet for tourists but traditionally kryptonite for locals, so it might be off your radar.
But there are quite a few reasons to put it back on.
Pane & Vino — that’s “bread and wine,” in case you hadn’t figured out that translation — was recently named as one of the top restaurants in Florida by Yelp.
Ranked in the top 10 along with Coral Gables spot Fratellino and the Lebanese restaurant and bakery Al- Amir, Pane & Vino was noted for its “cozy ambiance and made-from-scratch entrees,” with Yelp also praising Sicilian-born chef GianPaolo Ferrera.
And it’s not only Yelp users who love Pane & Vino. The restaurant, which opened in 2011, also earned Travelers’ Choice awards from Tripadvisor three years in a row.
What do diners love about the snug and welcoming trattoria? It’s simple, says owner Angelo Quaglini.
“We have good customer care,” says Quaglini, who was born and grew up in Bologna. “When you come here, you must be at home.”
The service is attentive at Pane & Vino, with knowledgeable and attentive servers happy to suggest wine or help you choose between two alluring entrees.
But the entrees themselves also are a huge draw, especially the dishes that rely on house-made pasta, of which the Pane & VIno staff is rightly proud. Only one dish on the menu uses dried pasta, Quaglini says. The rest is made right at the front window that looks out onto busy Washington Avenue. If you grab a seat outside on the sidewalk, you can watch it being made.
“In Italy, everybody makes pasta at home,” Quaglini says. “My mother made pasta every day. For me, it’s normal. But in the United States people like to see the pasta made.”
Two of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, of course, make great use of the homemade pasta, which mostly runs in the $26-$29 range. The cappelletti verdi tartufati, pasta stuffed with fresh ricotta and mascarpone cheese, is served with butter, Parmesan and a black truffle sauce. The tagliatelle alla Bolognese, green fettuccine with spinach, is covered in a traditional Bolognese sauce of beef and pork cooked for at least four or five hours, otherwise “it’s just meat,” according to Quaglini. The recipe, he adds, is his grandmother’s.
Another customer favorite is the showy spaghetti alla ruota, pasta in tomato sauce swirled and served in a big wheel of Parmesan cheese aged 24 months. It’s served table-side, like the restaurant’s famous tiramisu, made with ladyfingers from Italy (American ladyfingers simply won’t do).
The road to pasta perfection hasn’t been smooth since the 2020 pandemic shutdown. Because the restaurant is in a tourist neighborhood, summers have been less busy than usual. Prices on food have jumped almost 30 percent, Quaglini estimates, especially the many items he imports from Italy, like Italian flour. Even staples like cream and eggs can be hard to get, and the imported wines on the menu get stuck in Italian ports.
“The ships don’t leave until they are full,” he explains. “It’s not like before. Everything is difficult.”
But his customers — from Boca Raton and West Palm Beach, from New York and New Orleans, remind him of why he opened Pane & Vino. They return again and again, every time they’re in town, and applaud the fresh ingredients, the hard work and the love that go into each dish.
“They feel they know us,” Quaglini says. “They feel like part of the family.”
Pane & Vino
Where: 1450 Washington Ave, Miami Beach
Hours: 5:30 p.m.-midnight daily
Reservations and more information: 305-535-9027 or www.paneevinomia.com