Chef Stefano Mazzi, owner of the Mazzi’s in Aventura, debuted Cacio e Pepe in North Miami Beach on Friday, May 17. Mazzi, a professional chef for three decades, has opened many restaurants throughout the United States. Hailing from La Spezia, Italy, Mazzi takes great pride in his culinary art. His resume lists some of the finest culinary schools, including Scoula Alberghiera di Levanto and La Strega Culinary Academy in Italy. At Le Mougin in France, he was under the guidance of Robert Vergé, the French chef who dominated the restaurants of France from the 1970s to the late 80s, and who championed nouvelle cuisine.
General manager Antonio Acone, of Naples descent, has a global career spanning over twenty years. As restauranteur and consultant, he's worked in five-star establishments in Europe, Asia, and the United States including The Ritz Carlton and the Intercontinental Hotel Group. We were welcomed Sunday evening by Acone, and were the recipients of his careful attention throughout.
Cacio e Pepe’s interior decor is warm, rustic and chic with accents and objets d’art creating a homelike atmosphere. Whitewashed walls and white canvas seating complements the light hued wood elements. Lighting is soft and ambient music is unobtrusive. We chose to be seated outside on a broad patio area with candlelight and fresh flowers.
The menu is elegantly divided into appetizers, zuppa, pastas, mains, and dulce. We started with Polpette della nonna, (grandmother’s veal meatballs). Modestly sized, pillowy soft, and loaded with herbs, they were robust in flavor and presented with a savory tomato sauce and fresh basil garnish.
The namesake pasta dish, Cacio e Pepe, was our necessary next course. Having fond memories of this pasta at an enoteca in Rome, we were in awe of the presentation. A rich creamy combination of spaghetti, pecorino cheese and pepper was carefully crafted at a precise water temperature, arriving at your table in a saucepan and finished in a cheese wheel torched during its composition before plating. Truly a unique experience both visually and gustatorily. All pastas are made in house.
Our main course was scaloppini al fungi. Three medallions of veal were buttery and tender, adorned with succulent mushrooms and a chiffonade of parsley. The plate was complemented with crispy roasted potatoes and herbs.
We finished with two dessert choices. A classic tiramisu, which was delicately layered and creamy, and profiteroles that were airy and moist and drizzled with a full-bodied chocolate sauce.
A carefully chosen wine list has eight modest house wines available by the glass or bottle. Additional red and white bottle options from Italy and outside of Italy are available. The menu also offers four choices of sparkling selections.
Cacio e Pepe Ristorante Italiano's greatest strength is it offerings of timeless specialties that highlight various regions of Italy.
Cacio e Pepe, 15903 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami Beach, FL 33160
- Lunch: Monday through Sunday, noon to 3 p.m.
- Afternoon tea: Monday through Sunday 3 to 5:30 p.m.
- Dinner: Monday through Sunday 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.
- Sunday brunch begins June 2: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Aperitivo (Happy Hour) starting June 8: Monday through Friday 5 to 7 p.m.
Parking: Ample parking lot.
Call: (305) 627-3436 (Reservations taken by phone.)