Live music plays a few nights a week at Azzurro Italian Restaurant & Bar, but diners don't need to plan ahead to hear the gentle music of the Atlantic Ocean just beyond the patio. Decked out in palm trees, grass-thatched awnings, and white curtains that flutter in the breeze, the atmosphere is pure coastal Florida. But the menu draws from a different aquatic inspiration: the Mediterranean Sea, which inspires maritime Italian and Sicilian cuisine such as fish soup topped with pizza dough, lobster ravioli, and spaghetti tossed with clams. It's not all seafood, however—there are also terrestrial delights such as beef carpaccio, grilled filet mignon, and rack of lamb. Servers pair these plates with bottles of international wines that drifted up onshore and the restaurant’s signature cocktails.
Since 1969, Mario the Baker has regaled customers with the rich tastes of vodka sauce, baked eggplant, capicola subs, and cheesy pizzas. Since its inception, the restaurant has grown from a single storefront to a 14-location local fiefdom, built upon a foundation of crafting consistently delicious casual Italian cuisine, thin-crust New York–style pizzas, and traditional pasta dishes. Piping-hot garlic rolls accompany plates of shrimp scampi or chicken francese, and margherita pizzas and pineapple-topped hawaiian pies enliven celebrations of majestic T-ball-league triumphs and inconsequential T-ball-league defeats.
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Trattoria Il Migliore is a neighborhood bistro tucked in a tiny strip mall, where traditional Italian fare is given a modern twist. The urban décor is felt immediately, thanks to exposed brick walls and pulsing rock music, though old black and white movies are always playing along one wall. The menu is equally esoteric, with highlights that include homemade Kobe meatballs, reimagined fettuccine, tagliatelle and gnocchi. Tableside bread service is familiar and satisfying, while the dessert tiramisu is the perfect ender to the evening. With large portions, it may be best to share a dish or two, but no matter what, guests should opt for the Tuscan fries – cut in-house, fried with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme and then tossed with a pinch of Parmesan cheese and crunchy herbs.
In 1908 a couple from Leona, Italy, immigrated to America, opening a restaurant on Mulberry Street in Manhattan. Today, their grandchildren continue their culinary legacy at G. Juliano's Restaurant, where the classic traditions of the Italian kitchen continue to thrive, and New York’s entertainment culture lives on through live music, comedy showcases, and “dinner and a show” events.
G. Juliano’s marinara sauces simmer on stovetops for 8–10 hours while chefs use recipes passed through generations to cook up traditional dishes such as shrimp scampi or pork scaloppini. Even some of the same kitchen implements have been carried through a century and down a coastline. On the more casual side, the eatery’s New York–style deli lays hot dogs and philly cheesesteaks atop fresh buns and churns out gargantuan steak sandwiches that can feed up to five. Party platters fan out pasta dishes and cold cuts across banquet tables at birthdays or balloon animal art gallery openings.
For John Capone, pizza is more than just food—it’s a family thing. That’s why he pulls from the vault of Capone family recipes to craft their distinctive sauce and dough. For build-your-own pies, John spreads homemade marinara sauce and add up to six toppings, such as banana peppers, artichokes, or Italian sausage, atop hand-tossed, whole grain, or deep-dish crusts. Those same ingredients also flavor Capone’s specialty pies, along with extra-fancy options such as eggplant and housemade ranch sauce. Beyond pizza, John fills their menu with a combination of Italian and pizzeria staples. They dot the Italian end of the spectrum with numerous handmade delicacies, including chicken parmesan and tiramisu. Pizzeria eats range from Chicago-style hot dogs crowned with homemade chili to slow-roasted chicken wings tossed with a choice of more than 10 sauces, including roasted garlic parmesan.
Those interested in going out for a night on the town can take a load off in the casual dining room, which boasts flat-screen televisions beaming with the latest sports games.