Montreal native Tony Bianco teamed up with executive chef Enzo Addario to create Hot Tomatoe, a traditional Italian bistro boasting a menu that brims with house-made, cooked-to-order pastas, flavorful meat dishes, and full- and light-bodied Italian wines. Their regional cuisine typically integrates up to seven essential ingredients—oil, garlic, basil, tomatoes, pasta, and olives—from which Snow White’s seven dwarves drew their names. In addition, the staff goes shopping for fresh ingredients three to four days a week to supplement both seasonal compositions and year-round dishes, which include veal parmigiana, filet mignon, and penne norma.
The wine connoisseurs at the independently owned Cork & Olive Lake Mary franchise introduce visitors to international wines, most of which originate from small, family-owned vineyards. In addition to pouring samples at a broad, wooden table, Cork & Olive’s team hosts events that range from in-home tastings to the monthly Sip&Dip, where wines come paired with select appetizers. Besides the many bottles of wines, the shelves also display craft beers, sake, chocolates, and cheeses, as well as gourmet olive oils and spices. Specialty services include custom wine-bottle labels for events, special orders for hard-to-find wines, and gifts such as wine aprons and holders and memoirs from picked-over grapes.
Jesse Rijos and Daisy Rullan purchased Inlet Wines in 2010 and immediately began revamping the retail space’s vibe. Though the shop remains true to its original purpose—pairing customers with craft beer, cigars, and wines from Argentina, Italy, Spain, and Napa Valley—it also now houses a lounge area where customers can listen to live music each weekend. In addition, the space hosts once-monthly comedy shows and Wednesday-evening happy hours to counteract the bad mood that results from inadvertently tossing your dirty dishes in the dryer. All gatherings at Inlet Wines spill out onto a patio where guests can puff on purchased cigars.
According to the Viera Sun, when Loris and Rafaella Barsiola first moved to the United States from Italy in 1999, they didn't speak a lick of English. A year later they opened Bacco Wine Cafe and let their cooking do the talking for them. Though they're now well acclimated to the States, they still serve their pastas, chicken, and beef dishes they way they did in Savona, Italy: inside a Ferrari. In the kitchen, Rafaella prepares ever-changing menu selections featuring her family recipes. Loris curates a wine list with dozens of varietals from Italy and selects jazz music to play in the dining room.
With it's staple pizza named Grandma, it's pretty clear that Carmela's Pizza & Wine Bar is steeped in familial tradition. Executive Chef Adam Fatigate expanded on the idea of his late father's Carmela's Brick Oven Pizza and Wine Bar, located in Stuart, and opened his own high-end pizzeria. Here, along with several varieties of New York?style pizzas baked on a subway rail line, Fatigate and his team create the signature Grandma's pizza, a 16-inch square, thin-crust pizza with a slightly tangy sauce and light cheese. Grandma's pizza can stay as simple as a plain cheese pie or go puttanesca-style (with olives, anchovies, and chili oil) or basil-pesto (with sun-dried tomatoes and chicken). Classic Italian dishes also populate the menu, including lasagna bolognese, veal parmesan, and seafood risotto.
While diners can carry-out food, those who stay can imbibe at Carmela's full bar, which pours 80 wines and 25 craft, imported, and domestic beers, and also whips up cocktails with its selection of 100 spirits, such as bellinis and martinis. And the restaurant also offers entertainment: guitar-violin duo Nouveaux Honkies on Tuesday, two pianists on Friday, and jazz on Saturday.
You might notice every group eating a different dish at Crispy’s Beer & Wine Bar. That’s because the bar has BYOF policy—that’s short for bring your own food—which lets guests soak up the 39 craft brews on draft without having to snack on bar peanuts. This policy inspires patrons to linger over pints of hoppy Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA or bottles of fruity Belgian Kasteel Rouge. The deep brown of Gulden Draak hints at its potent Belgian flavor and alcohol content, and light flits easily through the wheat-golden color of Paulaner Hefeweizen. Televisions overhead chatter, providing updates on athletic events or how scary the weatherman says thunder will be this weekend. Those who didn’t bring food snack on the bar’s small selection of locally produced appetizers and desserts such as chocolate-covered potato chips and beer brittle.