Are you having a hard time getting that delectable sandwich from the streets of Florence out of your head? Italy may be a 10-hour flight away from Miami, but these local delis serve up authentic fare for much less than the cost of a plane ticket to the "boot" country.
Laurenzo's Italian Center
16385 W Dixie Highway
North Miami Beach, FL 33160
Laurenzo's makes a mean selection of Italian cakes, and that alone is worth a visit. It has a wide array of homemade soups and sauces, but the dessert section will make your mouth water – cannolis, black forest cake and cannoli cake, just to name a few. And who could forget about the cured ham? Smoked prosciutto runs about $20 a pound, cured ham at its finest. Grab a cantaloupe and cut it up with the ham wrapped around each piece. This is a quick and classic Italian dish.
Gusto Fino Italian Deli
2103 S LeJeune Road
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Besides the imported ham and cheeses, Gusto Fino adds a couple layers to the arteries with the pork five-o (no, not based off the TV show "Hawaii Five-O"). This sandwich has pork tenderloin topped with diced prosciutto, onions, mushrooms and fresh mozzarella. If one is able to wash all that down, then try the made-fresh-on-site Italian pudding with Zabaione cream. Gusto's roots "run deep in the region of Campania" - dating back to 1867. And the base of all the goodness? Extra virgin olive oil.
Gino's Italian Deli
5729 Johnson St
Hollywood, FL 33021
From wedding cakes to tailgate specials, Gino's has it all. Wedding cakes include pineapple coconut custard and strawberry rum. And for the big game, 40 bucks nets a customer 12 burgers, eight hot dogs, four pounds of chicken breast, three pounds of sausage, three pounds of salad and four loafs of French bread. Oh, and just for good measure, there is a five percent discount on purchases of $35 or more for teachers, firefighters or doctors. Grandma Anna, the genius behind the food, has more than 45 years of cooking experience.
Bottega La Dolce Vita
4710 S LeJeune Road
Coral Gables, FL 33146
Sweet-and-sour carrots, a fully-stocked online store and fried corn cake with cheese sauce should be enough to draw anyone into Bottega La Dolce Vita, or at the least to its website. With free shipping across Miami-Dade and Broward counties, the online store features imported pastas and even specialty Easter cakes like almond cookie. In store, try the veal sliced with tuna cream. That's right, food sliced with other food. There is even a 50-percent-off section. Enjoy this Italian market by strolling through its aisles or from the comfort of your couch with computer in hand.
Ciro's Italian Deli & Restaurant
8840 State Road 84
Davie, FL 33324
Ciro's full-service restaurant is also available for takeout and free delivery. Having been around for 20 years, Ciro's has a clear understanding of what Miami area locals need from an Italian deli. Highlights of this Italian gem include classics like chicken parmigiana served with soup or salad and garlic rolls. Or go the non-traditional route and order the new grouper francese, cooked in white wine and lemon sauce. The 10 specialty subs offer delightful options for all tastes, and for only $8.95 or less. If you still have room for desert, try the pistachio cheesecake.
Related: South Florida's Best Gourmet Markets
Anthony Cave is a freelance journalist based in North Miami Beach, Fla. He has written for The Miami Herald, Broward/Palm Beach New Times, CruiseCritic.com and he also interns at WLRN-Miami Herald News. His work can be found at Examiner.com.
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