Driving down Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, your eyes are treated to an array of lit-up hotels and restaurants. Among these neon signs is one that reads “CARBONE,” an electric welcome to my favorite Italian restaurant in Miami.
As you walk through the doors of Carbone, you are met with a swanky bar and dining room decorated with chandeliers, mirrors, and velvet chairs. The interior of the restaurant makes me feel like I am starring in a famous 1970s movie.
I have been to Carbone twice while visiting my sister—most recently this January—and each time we cannot skip the Caesar salad. These large chunks of iceberg lettuce are perfectly dressed and covered in parmesan cheese, however, the real star of the show is the croutons. I’m not sure what they do to make these croutons so crunchy and flavorful, but I would eat them as their own meal if I had the chance.
For our appetizer, my sister’s boyfriend decided to order one of the specials: the burrata with caviar. As someone who never tried caviar before, I could not wait to taste it along with the burrata, one of my favorite cheeses. The dish arrived sitting on a bed of ice, with a thick piece of burrata covered in hundreds of pearls of caviar. I was pleasantly surprised by the salty flavor of the caviar, which complemented the creaminess of the burrata atop our pieces of bread. As a college student living on a college student budget, I am happy to say I can cross “try caviar” off of my bucket list.
For our main course, we ordered the famous spicy rigatoni vodka—the real reason we come to Carbone. As a pasta-with-vodka-sauce addict, this simple rigatoni is all I could ever want in a dish. This pasta is the definition of al dente, with the spicy vodka sauce coating it like a warm hug. The flavor of the vodka sauce is spicy but not overpowering, with the perfect touch of creaminess to balance it out. If I could choose one pasta dish to eat for the rest of my life, Carbone’s spicy rigatoni vodka would be it.
If you happen to find yourself in South Beach, Miami at any point in your life, be sure to make a reservation at Carbone. Both times I have been, it has not just been an amazing meal, but also an amazing experience. Someday I hope to visit Carbone’s New York location, which boasts one Michelin star.