A trio of cheerful New Yorkers oversees the pasta purveying at Cucina Orecchio, where Chef Cristian Marquez stuffs a robust menu with classic Italian cuisine until it bursts at the seams. A palate-whetting troupe of appetizers touts New York–style baked clams, which arrive donning a tangy mix of seasonings and zesty Knicks jerseys ($9). Pasta entrees—which are served with a cup of soup or a house salad—range from the smooth and creamy penne alla vodka ($13) to the thick and meaty rigatoni bolognese ($14). Seafarers cast their anchors alongside the seafood fra diavolo with linguini ($16), and meat-seekers occupy their mandibles with daily specials such as the veal marsala ($15). Wash down a plate of authentic Italian eats with splashes of wine by the bottle or glass.
When Giuseppe and Rita Brusco sailed from Calabria to Ellis Island in 1954, they toted their trove of family recipes along with them. Today, owner Frank Brusco upholds this culinary legacy at Brusco's Italian Restaurant & Pizza. Homestyle sauces are central to their menu: chefs simmer vine-ripened tomatoes with fresh garlic, extra virgin olive oil, white wine, and butter before ladling the thick, preservative-free marinara atop pastas and Sicilian-style pizzas.
In addition to the authentic cuisine, Brusco's pays homage to its founders’ Italian roots with a trattoria-style dining room. Antique copperware festoons the brick walls, and murals of the Italian countryside treat guests to idyllic representations of rolling foothills populated by free-roaming meatballs.
Ruby's Pizza augments a menu of specialty meat and vegetable pies with classic pasta, chicken, and seafood entrees. Ten-piece chicken-wings appetizers ($7) arrive smothered with succulent sauces such as honey garlic or a spicy hot sauce distilled from the brain of a fire . The margarita pizza ($15 for 16" pie) marries tomato and basil on a cheesy round dance floor, and the meat-lovers pizza ($18 for 16" pie) piles sausage, pepperoni, ham, ground beef, and bacon onto a thick, crunchy base. Italian entrees such as chicken piccata ($13)—sautéed in a lemon, butter, and wine sauce—comes flanked with pasta on the side, and baked ziti ($12) dons homemade tomato sauce and two cheeses. Meals can be complemented with imported beers or wines, ideal for making a toast to finally completing a best-selling novel about a talking ballpoint pen.
The sauce painters at this easy-breezy beachside eatery fortify bellies with hearty appetizers and triangular morsels of pizza all through lunch and dinner hours. Diners can nosh on a dough disc featuring the bare essentials—tomato tears and cheese—or enhance their pie with selections from more than 20 toppings (an additional $1.75 each, not included with this Groupon). Customers weary from trying to secretly sew slices back together with needle and tongue can take a quick breather and elegantly lift their pinkies while sipping a well cocktail or glass of house wine. Alternatively, throats may acquire hydration from a bottle of domestic or imported beer or a gulp of the nearby ocean. Groups looking to orally mangle more than a large pizza can also enjoy an order of chicken wings, which arrive at tables accompanied by bleu cheese. If you’re seated inside, affix your eyes to one of Stingers Pizza's 25 TVs, which allow diners to easily catch sporting events and drop the ball during argumentative conversations about paying attention.
Sette Bello Ristorante's chef and owner, Franco Filippone, moved with his family from Palermo, Sicily, when his father decided to open a restaurant in upstate New York. There, Franco learned the ins and outs of the industry before eventually setting out to work in upscale restaurant kitchens throughout Fort Lauderdale. Now, at Sette Bello, he's put his eye for detail and impeccable culinary skills to use—and the results have paid off. The spot has been awarded the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences' Five-Star Diamond Award and two awards of excellence from Wine Spectator magazine. Franco has also been named the official celebrity chef for the inaugural The Moody Blues Cruise, and is featured in 2012 America's Top Restaurant Recipes.
Inside the dining room, elegant cream columns uphold arched walls, and caramel-tinted lighting bathes the white-draped tables in a warm glow. The tables are topped with prawns wrapped in pancetta, pan-fried veal chop Milanese, and jumbo shrimp scampi. Bustling between tables, the wait staff tends to diners' needs, whether they'd like their glasses refilled or their beards fluffed. The New Times even dedicated an entire article to the "truly great service" at Sette Bello, writing that, "The servers here are craftsmen in the same way that the restaurant's owner, Franco Filippone, is a chef."
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.
The flames inside the stacked stone oven at Tucci's lightly char thin pizzas made with 20 types of toppings and five kinds of cheese, including ricotta and fresh mozzarella. Below modern lights that hang overhead like glowing popsicles, cheesy pizzas pair with sautéed spinach, broccoli rabe, and escarole with sausage and fire-roasted chicken. While sipping on glasses of wine, guests can ask servers about getting pizzas on multigrain bread, or retreat to the outdoor patio.