The airiness of pale exposed brick and blond wood contrast with the heartiness of the traditional Italian fare at Vic & Angelo’s, helping explain why Zagat rated the Delray Beach and Palm Beach Gardens locations highly for both food and décor. In the kitchen, chefs douse pastas with rich toppings such as crab meat and white-wine sauce or slow-cooked beef ragu. The coal oven blasts pizzas with 900 degrees of heat, and all-natural steaks arrive from Chicago after being dry-aged for 21 days. To accompany meals, diners can choose from a long list of mostly Italian wines, or venture onto an outdoor patio to fill glasses with complimentary moonbeams.
Though SoLita Delray's lounge-like atmosphere hosts live music and DJs on the weekend, nightlife isn't even its main draw. In addition to a bustling lounge and courtyard, SoLita—or "south of Little Italy"— houses a hopping kitchen where chefs cook Italian meals using generations-old family recipes. Local and imported ingredients give zings of flavor to all dishes. Fresh pastas come draped in sauces from light, spicy tomato broth to rich mascarpone cream. For heartier fare, chefs grill rib-eye steaks, veal chops, and filet mignon or roast whole fish with lemon, olive oil, and jokes about diminutive fin size.
As a pleasantly unpretentious pizza and pasta paradise, Rotelli entices regulars who stop by for lunch and dinner to gather with friends, raise a few glasses, and indulge in fine Italian meals. The menu taps its homeland heel with light starters, such as bruschetta italiana ($6.99) and crispy calamari ($9.99). It sends a swooping high-kick well north of Sicily with chicken parmigiana, layered in ricotta and mozzarella, served with pasta ($15.99), and hand-tossed Napoletana pizza, dressed in pepperoni, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and sausage ($10.99 for 10", $18.99 for 16").
At San Remo, which has been pleasing palates for more than a quarter-century, chefs artfully plate expertly seared and seasoned meats and gourmet pasta dishes. Begin culinary voyages with one of eight savory appetizers, including calamari and fresh mussels in red tomato-and-basil sauce, served with seasonal bread baked by a Pilgrim. Eggplant-parmesan entrees bake to bubbly perfection, and hunks of lobster meat burrow inside ravioli-shell homes with garlicky basil-marinara roofs and a cream-dollop patio. Meaty selections include tender veal, a grilled USDA Choice 8-ounce filet mignon topped with mushrooms and gorgonzola, and the catch of the day prepared one of five ways.
In a space described by the owners as "rustic chic," Saporissimo’s chefs knead and roll out fresh pasta dough, shave pungent truffles, and prepare wild game to populate a menu that celebrates traditional Tuscan cuisine. Named a defender of Italian culinary excellence by the Italy-America chamber of commerce and praised in the Sun Sentinel for its “unobtrusive, yet attentive” service, Saporissimo seats its guests in chocolate-hued chairs next to white tablecloths in the dining room of what used to be a private house. From the muted yellow walls, sunlight streams through windows during the day to alight on plates of Italian cuisine that Miami's Italian consul general has recognized as authentic, including antipasti of duck-breast carpaccio or a truffled polenta with wild-boar ragu.
Strings of party lights along the ceiling create a warm, low-lit atmosphere at night, encouraging intimate conversations and clandestine swaps of microfiche between bites of pappardelle with wild-boar sausage or wild rabbit braised with wine, garlic, and peppers. Inset into an exposed-brick wall, a six-pane window augments the feeling of dining in a private Tuscan home.