Downtown Miami used to be a barren desert at night once the businesses closed. Today it is lively with residences, restaurants and the addition of the Brickell City Center.

The Brickell City Center has brought retail, entertainment, dining and most importantly a place to gather and enjoy. The indoor and outdoor center shields you from the elements but doesn’t confine you to a traditional mall.

I was in downtown Miami for Business and had a few hours before my return flight, so I explored the new Brickell City Center. There is a vast array of shopping, but I had to try the Casa Tua Cucina opened by the same owners of the majestic Casa Tua restaurant in Miami Beach.

Casa Tua Cucina is a 18,000 square foot gourmet Italian food hall that seats three hundred. There are ten individual food stations that offer fresh pasta, pizza, charcutrie, grilled meats, fresh juices, salads, gelato and mouth watering pastries. Each station is manned by chefs that make your order.

Each station has a bar area that you can sit at and watch the chefs prepare your food. Further, there is a server that comes around with a book of libations. You can either order a bottle, full glass or half glass. I like the idea of a half glass of wine so one has an option to try various kinds.

Once you pay you are given a number and you can either sit at the communal tables scattered around or at the bars at the food stations. I prefer the bar where I was able to watch the chef at the pasta station prepare my pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil. It was fantastic and utterly delicious, so fresh and tasty.

One of the stations is a 30-seat bar with 48 different wines by the glass. So, one has lots of options for food and drinks.

The pastry and gelato section is out of this world with the most beautifully created pasties. I find Casa Tua Cucina to be a great deal of fun with fantastic food options especially if one is in downtown Miami for tourism or business.