Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.

Toscana Divino, Miami, Florida

Toscana Divino (Miami, Florida)

The hostess led me past the outdoor seating at the front of Toscana Divino and seated me toward the rear, perhaps about twenty minutes before crowds of gourmets started filling all the tables. My waiter greeted me, and I detected the telltale accent of my ancestral homeland. Upon asking, he revealed he hailed from a small town in Tuscany, so we exchanged a few words in Italian as he performed his duties punctiliously with the subtle little flourishes of a man who has perfected his job — folding a discarded napkin, for instance, or wiping the wine bottle upon removing it from an ice bucket before pouring.

Inside this upscale restaurant, the old-fashioned painting of sunflowers on a Tuscan hillside seemed an anomaly amid the trendy and stylish décor throughout. The circular glass wine room, stacked with towers of horizontal bottles of mostly Italian wine, made for an interesting feature to admire while awaiting what turned out to be an outstanding meal, created in the artisan kitchen that adheres to the farm-to-table philosophy and merges organic, locally sourced ingredients into one extraordinary dish after the next.

Fork and KnifeTry This: Particularly on a cool autumn night, you’ll want to start with the ribollita, a traditional Tuscan soup made with bread and vegetables, or the utterly delicious mushroom soup with croutons, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. For a main course, I savored the hand-rolled gnocchi with braised duck ragu and pecorino cheese, although the risotto with wild mushrooms and black truffle sauce and the handmade pappardelle with white sausage, fennel, and pecorino sounded just as good. Accompany it all with a glass or two of red wine imported from just about every part of Italy.