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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.