South Beach is fickle for restaurants but Fratelli La Bufala is celebrating its 10th anniversary hidden in plain sight south of Fifth.
Rich, creamy water buffalo mozzarella is imported from Battipaglia, a small town in southwest Italy devoted to making the fresh cheese. Owner Luca D’Angelo is a naval engineer, but his passion is food and hospitality. When he was visiting Miami Beach, he saw the corner space for sale and bought it.
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Get the la mozzata, a soft jiggly ball of of bufala mozzarella drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, arugula and cherry tomatoes. Or get lightly breaded and deep-fried mozzarella di bufula carroza seasoned with oregano. It is crispy on the outside and warm and buttery on the inside, served with fresh basil leaves. There’s also lentil and faro soup and rainbow quinoa with toasted almonds, grape tomatoes, avocado and feta cheese. Or get bright green spinach ravioli pillows stuffed with fresh ricotta cooked in a reduction of pesto sauce garnished with shards of shaved Parmesan.
Another option is bresaola with thin slices of cured beef tenderloin on arugula with Parmesan shavings.
Try a slab of eggplant Parmesan, bringing thin slices of pan-fried globe eggplant layered with bufala mozzarella, Parmesan and tomato sauce baked slow so everything melts together. Puffy crusted pizzas will make everyone happy. Share the Napoli with anchovies and capers—no cheese—just tomato sauce. Or try the diavola with spicy salami, bufala mozzarella and basil. The Capricciosa has artichoke hearts, mushrooms, ham and, of course, bufala mozzarella.
There’s also a hamburger on a pizza dough bun topped with bufala mozzarella served with salad and fries. For pasta, try linguine with baby octopus and shrimp with mushrooms in tomato sauce. Or get bucatini carbonara with pancetta, Parmesan, egg and parsley that makes the hollow pasta tubes slurp worthy. Or get the house made polpetto (meatballs) simmered in San Marzano tomato sauce. There’s also pounded chicken paillards with broccoli and portobello mushrooms. Or try wild caught grilled salmon with quinoa and asparagus.
This is hearty Southern Italian fare that should be passed around your table.
Save Room For Dessert
Order the pastiera, an Italian Easter tart from Naples made year round. The filling is made from cooked wheat berries and ricotta with vanilla, lemon zest and orange blossom water adding perfume.
Contact Linda Bladholm at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hidden Gems highlights out-of-the-way restaurants in Miami-Dade County. It is not intended to be an anonymous, critical review.
Place: Fratelli La Bufula
Address: 437 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11;30 A.M.-12:30 A.M., Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.
Prices: Appetizers $8-$23, soups $9, salads $4-$18, pastas $12-$19, from the grill $18-$24, pizza $9-$18, desserts $9