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Yes, Pasta Trattoria Italiana  

14871 Biscayne Boulevard North Miami Beach, FL 33181

 (305) 944-1006 -  www.yes-pasta.com

Straightforward build-your-own-dish Italian fare

 
  

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by   Becca Griesemer

When the owner of Yes, Pasta Trattoria Italiana, Flaminia Morin, arrived in Miami from Rome about three years ago, she soon started surveying the region’s Italian restaurants.  They mostly tended to be in South Beach, were expensive, and they mostly focused on the popular red brick Tuscan-style décor.  So she decided to create the complete opposite. Therefore,  don’t expect checkered tablecloths: the atmosphere is modern and trendy.

Yes, Pasta is a Mediterranean Sea-inspired gem in North Miami Beach that invites patrons to get full on traditional Italian pasta for less money than a typical cab ride in South Beach would cost.

Once you’re inside, you forget that the restaurant is sandwiched in a strip mall that houses a T.G.I. Fridays and a Publix.  And on Thursday nights, you are greeted by two singers strumming guitars before you sit in a comfortable booth in a dimly-lit room. 

Lining the walls of the dining room are kitchen products turned art; the shelves are stacked with carefully-spaced bottles of Acqua Panna, clear containers full of lemons, rows of books, and red wine.  A formation of delicately painted plates is the main piece on one wall, while another white wall becomes the canvas for a silent, black-and-white projected movie with Italian subtitles.  Beneath this space is the glass wall that separates the kitchen from diners, providing them the fascinating entertainment of the chef’s dance as they cook.      

While taking in the music, entertainment, and alluring smells, a wicker basket of focaccia and breadsticks was promptly set on our table followed by a stream of appetizers and pasta.

 Appetizers

The Parmigiana di Melanzane ($11) - eggplant parmesan – was baked layers of meaty yet melt-in-the mouth slices of breaded eggplant bubbly with cheese in a fresh red sauce.    

At Flaminia’s thankful suggestion, we tried the suppli romani ($8.50), fried risotto balls with mozzarella, beef sauce, served with marinara.  Flaminia explained that this is typical of Italian cucina povera to make use of leftover risotto.  In between flitting about the restaurant, she would pop by to explain ingredients and to tell interesting anecdotes.  

Other appetizers include silky and paper-thin beef carpaccio ($10); salumi — a cured meat plate ($10); fried calamari ($11.50); and bruschetta topped with fresh tomato and basil ($6). The restaurant also offers an array of Italian and local wines by the bottle or the glass.

Pasta

Then the bowls of pasta arrived. 

Flaminia’s  idea with the pasta was to meld traditional Italian with what American’s are comfortable with: choose-it-yourself — you can choose the type of pasta, sauces and the additions and you can practically build the pasta dish that you want to eat …. Hundred of variations

The types of pasta range from freshly-made fettuccine, linguine and gnocchi to dried traditional rigatoni, penne, spaghetti and capellini imported from Italy.  The sauces include fifteen traditional -- and nontraditional – sauces ranging from simple Aglio e Olio (garlic and olive oil with crushed chiles) and Funghi e Tartufi ($14), (dried porcini and fresh cremini mushrooms in buttery truffle sauce);  carbonara ($13) with eggs, bacon, black pepper and parmesan;  to  vongole ($15), a blend of baby clams in a garlic, white wine, parsley and pepper broth; Frutti di Mare, a mix of calamari, mussels, shrimp, baby clams, tomato, garlic & chili, and Flaminia’s grandmother’s special marinara sauce, Sugo della Nonna. Beef up the dishes with meatballs or a variety of other additions.

The toppings are similarly categorized into vegetarian, meat, and seafood, ranging from capers ($1), to meatballs ($3), broccoli to fresh mozzarella, and anchovy to smoked salmon ($4) among others.

My pick, the pesto Genovese, was delicious over linguini and mushroom.  Shaded a brilliant green hue, the basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan and extra virgin olive oil paste tasted as fresh as it was fragrant, bringing to North Miami whiffs of the languid Riviera and the sunny Ligurian Coast.

The penne Quattro Formaggi with a sauce of gorgonzola, mozzarella, fontina, and parmesan cheeses, had the deep taste of a rich Northern Italian macaroni and cheese. 

Salads and Secondi 

In addition to the pasta — whole wheat and gluten-free options are also available — the menu offers balanced options of poultry, seafood, and vegetarian options and  a vast variety of soups, salads, and other entrees, all prepared with local ingredients or imported from Italy.

Salads include the vegetarian mista ($4-7.50), the ravello ($5-9.50) - baby spinach, almonds, goat cheese, green apples, lemon dressing -,  and the Lampesuda with shrimp ($12.50).  Entrees include Saltimbocca alla Romana (veal scaloppini with parma ham and sage severed with broccoli), Dentice al Forno con Gamberi, Cozze e Calamari (Red snapper with shrimp, mussels and calamari) ($21.50), chicken scaloppini with mushrooms and a pasta side ($16.50), NY steak with arugula and tomato ($21.50) and daily specials that change with the availability of fresh ingredients.  

Yes, Pasta has only been open for a year, and the reception is such that the owner is planning to expand into a new venue in Brickell.  If the new location or future locations holds as much of an authentic Italian-feel as this first,  Yes, Pasta will definitely a place I will gladly go to for a delicious bowl of spaghetti and a satisfying meal, wherever it chooses to open . 

  

Yes, Pasta Trattoria Italiana  

14871 Biscayne Boulevard North Miami Beach, FL 33181

 (305) 944-1006 -  www.yes-pasta.com

 

Hours:Sunday – Thursday 11:00am - 10:00pm; Friday – Saturday 11:00am - 11:00pm

Dinner prices: Appetizers start from $5, paninis $7.50, pastas from $10, entrees from $13.50, dessert from $5.

Ambience: casual 

Service: good

Cards: All major