“The standard question down here is, ‘Don’t you ever get tired of doing this?’ And we always say, ‘It’s better than working’,” Captain Gary Bobrick says in a Sun Sentinel video. It's easy to believe that he enjoys his job because it usually involves piloting a sightseeing boat through Fort Lauderdale's river ways to point out celebrity mansions and massive luxury boats. In addition to views of prime real estate, his tours often afford glimpses of flitting manatees and iguanas lounging along the shores. On the vessel’s lower level, patrons can congregate in an air-conditioned dining room and replenish with tropical punch and ice cream. Along the way, Captain Bobrick or his tour guides impart anecdotes about cultural heavyweights, as well as the role waterways play in fueling the region’s legendary water-balloon fights.
From its skyscraper façade to its menu of New York–style pizzas, paninis named for famous landmarks, and Italian specialties to rival any Little Italy spot—Empire Pizza Café’s New York theme saturates every facet of the restaurant. Thin, crispy crust pizzas range from classic cheese to the creative, such as mashed-potato-bacon and chicken-marsala pies. Wine, bottled beers, and steamy cups of Lavazza cappuccino and espresso pair with upscale fare such as chicken and veal entrees, plates of pasta, and sautéed cummerbunds.:m]]
Named after a pasta-loving family friend dubbed "Noodles" who came to the United States after a childhood in the Puglia region of Italy, Noodles Panini takes taste buds on trips to Europe with pressed sandwiches, imported pastas, and refined entrees featuring chicken, beef tenderloin, and fish. Aunt Marion’s meatballs, voted the best by Florida Travel + Life, present a balanced blend of pork, veal, and beef slowly stewed in handcrafted tomato sauce. The layers of flavor that infuse the eatery's paninis originate onsite, including fresh dressings, chef-made mozzarella, and house-roasted beef and turkey. Guests can sup inside the mahogany-hued restaurant or mosey out to the patio, where strings of lights cultivate a sense of romance that's enhanced when diners spontaneously sing love songs to their meatballs.
Though Solita Las Olas's lounge-like atmosphere has been known to attract celebrities, such as the Miami Heat's Udonis Haslem, nightlife isn't even its main draw. In addition to a bustling upscale lounge and dining room, 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 fresh pasta dishes, draped in sauces from spicy white wine tomato sauce to rich Parmesan cream. For heartier meals, chefs grill rib-eye steaks, veal chops, and filet mignon, or sizzle the catch-of-the-day with garlic, capers, and a sense of man's dominance over the mighty ocean.
After a reported two-day binge on Isabella's Italian dishes, underground rapper Home$lice is said to have created a series of mixtapes dedicated to the pizza and pasta hub. Though the artist is known for his secrecy, an undisclosed source has recovered the following lyrics in a marinara-stained notebook: "Isabella's in the club, mad subs in the bun fold, veal parmigiana? marsala, now you’ve been told. Crust gold like championship rings, rising high as a Benz hop, marinara sauce in that ricotta mozzarella drop top. Stay for a soufflé or carry out an entree, gonna’ go with merlot as though it were my birthday."