This tapas-style restaurant is more casual than its sister restaurants in the growing Angelo Elia empire, but it still provides first-class elegance and healthy portions of both light and hearty Italian fare. Tapas range from familiar to exotic: buffalo mozzarella with prosciutto di Parma, tempura zucchini flowers with mozzarella, and grilled provolone over radicchio. Escarole and beans with roasted sweet Italian sausage is full of flavor, and every pizza is delicate and thin-crusted, just like you’d find in Napoli. Try the basilico bruschetta, served in traditional style with diced tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, and pair it with a bold bottle of red Tuscan wine.
Anthony Bruno, of Runway 84, opened this pizza joint in 2002 because he couldn’t find the “well done” pizzas of his native New York here in Fort Lauderdale. The flagship location has since become a nationwide chain. Ashy flavor permeates the crust of pies like the “Paul & Young Ron,” piled with meatballs, sausage, ricotta, and hot or sweet peppers. Oven-roasted chicken wings and salads round out the menu, and beer and wine are served.
A Fort Lauderdale staple since 1982, this Italian-American eatery will bring you back to Sunday dinners at your Nana’s house – if you’re Italian, that is. Expect Sinatra to play in the background as Chianti flows and platters of shrimp oreganata, veal Francaise, and zuppa di pesce are shared family-style. Intimate meals also work inside Runway’s setting, with its low lighting and mellow atmosphere. Don’t miss the Sicilian stuffed peppers (served cold with red wine vinegar and stuffed with bread crumbs, capers, olives, anchovies, and grated cheese), and the plump meatballs with marinara. Big-time diners will want the surf and turf entree, a combination of New York strip and South African lobster tail.
Begin with the colossal stone crab claws or homemade meatballs before choosing between lobster and shrimp Fra Diavolo and a 10 oz. barrel-cut filet mignon. Or perhaps you’d prefer apple cider-marinated pork chops. For dessert, there’s vanilla bean crème brulee and chocolate soufflé.
Steve Martorano got his start hawking Italian sandwiches out of his basement in Philly. But his strip-mall restaurant a few blocks from the beach went upscale, and diners wait hours during season for a table (Martorano famously turned away Madonna’s entourage when she refused to wait outside). Those willing to wait find Italian classics dressed up with top-notch ingredients, like the eggplant stack featuring some of the crispiest breaded eggplant slices you’ll find sandwiched between fresh-pulled mozzarella. Not everyone will be down with the gangster movies showing on the overhead TVs, the dance music, or the women who sometimes take to the tables and dance. If you’re the type to like that kind of people watching, you’ll also find some of South Florida’s most soulful food.
Calabrian owner Tony Cupelli brings his family’s ancient recipes to this chic, modern Las Olas eatery. There’s pan-fried rigatoni with meatballs and specialty pizzas topped with smoked mozzarella, Italian sausage, eggplant and parsley. Cupelli’s pollo alla Francese in white wine-lemon sauce pairs with Venetian pinot grigio.
To prepare the menu, owner Frank Talerico and his family took several trips to Calabria to gather authentic recipes. Each dish had to be approved by Talerico’s mother and his family. Every sauce is freshly made in-house every day. Another unique characteristic is the small marketplace inside the restaurant. The marketplace provides a variety of cheeses and meats, olives, eggplants, mushrooms, bread sticks and more, all imported from Italy.
Owner and Chef Angelo Elia has created a South Florida restaurant empire out of his original North Federal location. His dishes are punctuated by an attention toward great ingredients, like the branzino, so fresh it needs nothing more than a light butter sauce. The outstanding antipasti includes truffle-lemon carpaccio and pancetta-wrapped tiger prawns over broccoli rabe, and the fresh pasta is made in-house. Or go big with the oak-grilled NY strip, marinated in olive oil, garlic, and rosemary.
Who says no to good, authentic Italian food? This restaurant serves a diverse selection of pizza, paninis and more – along with a good selection of beer and wine . The Italian flavors continue into dessert, with many flavors of gelato to choose from. (For a more old fashioned American taste, they’ll also do milkshakes.) All these Old World flavors also come with some New World technology – go to the website and you can download the Dolce Salato app.
With elements of a friendly Roman trattoria in the heart of Las Olas, Gran Forno Pronto serves up authentic Italian comfort food in a fresh and informal atmosphere. Wood fired pizza, award-winning Ciabatta, modest prices and an extensive wine list.
Il Paesano emphasizes fresh ingredients, quality food and spreading love. There’s no set menu, only daily specials determined by the fresh ingredients that are found in the market. During the week there are about 15 to 16 different dishes. And owner Vergilio Peixoto has no freezers; from the pasta to the tomato sauce, everything is made fresh in-house. Il Paesano’s chef formerly owned Vesuvio, which was a popular Italian restaurant in Fort Lauderdale back in its heyday.
Il Paesano has a wide variety of wines and the private wine room can also be used as a more intimate setting for couples to dine. (There have been marriage proposals, Peixoto reports.) And if you want to know more about wine, Peixoto hosts a winetasting class every month. But be quick – the classes tend to fill up within minutes of being announced.
The lunch menu at this Italian restaurant offers sandwiches, brick oven pizzas and pasta dishes, while the dinner menu includes pasta, meat and seafood specials. For dinner, the restaurant also offers anelli, folded pizza crusts with savory fillings, and calzones.
Kitchenetta was opened in 2004 by chef Vincent Foti and wife Maria as a come-as-you-are casual eatery that pumps out top-notch Italian fare with a modern touch. The menu rotates seasonally and includes as many organic and local ingredients as possible. Individual and family-sized portions are offered, so you can mangia some rigatoni bolognese de medici all by yourself or share with your favorite famiglia.
As an authentic Italian restaurant owner and chef, over the years my goal was to provide customers with outstanding satisfaction at all costs and troubles. Ever since I was a young girl, cooking was always my passion. I always viewed perfection as a priority and I will do whatever it takes to achieve it. The makings of a great sandwich always starts with the bread. Fresh baked bread choices are:
Traditional (Fresh Tomatoes & Oregano) Wheat Artichoke & Olive Plain Fresh Rosemary & Garlic Fresh Tomato Basil Garlic
Louie Bossi is not your typical chef. Growing up in an Italian household in New York he remembers the aromas of roasted garlic and fresh meatballs sizzling from his family’s kitchen. Raised by a single mother juggling three jobs, Bossi taught himself to cook at the age of eight. Working his way from dishwasher to cook at the local pizzeria Bossi developed a love for the art of pizza making.
This attractive main street bistro serves more than just pasta and sandwiches. Sit on the terrace and people watch, or take a table inside under large black-and-white photographs, and enjoy pan-seared Canadian salmon or a classic eggplant parmigiana. The mozzarella is made in-house.
Valentino’s cheaper cousin (and occupying its former space), this warm, neighborhood place offers an array of pizzas (including prosciutto with shaved Parmesan and arugula) as well as other tempting Italian dishes. The eggplant sliced thin, fried and layered like lasagna is a popular item.