The exodus of a big chunk of wealth from New York to South Florida during the first two years of the pandemic wasn’t just about financial institutions and techies. It was also about food—outposts of buzzy Big Apple eateries popping up in Miami and Palm Beach
In this context, one would be hard-pressed to name a bigger gastronomic success story than Carbone. The original version of this upscale red-sauce joint, overseen by restaurateurs Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick, is in New York’s Greenwich Village. The new venture, in the exclusive South of Fifth neighborhood of Miami Beach, opened last year and is still one of the most popular restaurants on the beach. (Reservations become available 30 days in advance, via Resy.com.)
The dining room and bar—which feature velvet banquettes and smoked glass panels—are seductive, and the street-side garden is also a hot ticket. Once you’re seated with a glass of rosé, it’s best to follow the recommendations of the waitstaff, which can point you to the signature dishes that are its biggest crowd-pleasers.
The beef carpaccio Piemontese emerges from the kitchen looking like a pizza, but the meat is so thin and delicate that it breaks apart at the touch; it’s a beautifully dressed, toothsome stunner. The Caesar alla ZZ is among the best of its genre, prepared tableside and topped with giant flavorful crotons. It’s best when shared, as are the whole fish dishes like the branzino and Dover sole. And if you choose one pasta, make it the spicy rigatoni vodka (it’s actually not very spicy), which is savory with a hint of sweetness in the hearty sauce.
The meal ends with a nod to la dolce vita of New York: sweet and spongy rainbow cookies, a beloved, tri-layered Italian-American confection that’s a staple of Italian bakeries and Jewish delis in the Northeast.
Note: BJT’s restaurant reviewers dine anonymously.