As soon as the Strongboli Challenge starts, you and a friend have exactly 30 minutes to finish off a 2 liter of soda, one dozen garlic rolls, and a gigantic stromboli. Clear the platter, and you enter the hall of fame; lose, and you still got to enjoy a delicious meal at Domenico's Italian Restaurant. The food challenge, along with the rest of the Italian menu, are the creations of brothers Giuseppi and Tony, who were born in Cittanova, Italy. They brought their love of cooking to the United States, and passed along the passion to their combined four sons. Together, the family mixes and rolls out meatballs from scratch, tucks crab and lobster meat into ravioli pockets, and stretches dough into 20-inch pizza crusts. The handheld options include 8 inches of bread that transforms into hot and cold sub stuffed with steak, barbecue chicken, and fresh mozzarella.
Though born in Sicily, Gianpiero Cangelosi moved throughout Europe, developing his skills as a restaurateur. In 1987, he finally landed by parachute in Pembroke Pines and opened Capriccio's Ristorante with the help of his wife Karen. Their traditional take on Italian cuisine quickly earned them a loyal legion of followers, and eventually the demand was too great to fit into one dinning room. They expanded their space with a second dining room and a lounge where a 6’5” chandelier shimmers above an octagonal granite bar. But as much as its surroundings have changed, the quality and authenticity of the food—which has earned the eatery multiple OpenTable Diner’s Choice awards—has not. The restaurant’s waiters ferry dishes of salmon and pine nuts, rack of lamb, and Black Angus filet mignon to tables of quietly salivating guests. Bites of braised veal shank or calamari pair with a dizzying array of wines from Italy, California, and Chile.
The restaurant’s decor reflects the origins of its cuisine–white Corinthian pillars flank sunny yellow walls marked by brick accents, arches, and ornately framed paintings. Diners lounge in wrought iron chairs as they listen to the standup routines of local violinists and pianists.
Anthony Russo's parents came to the U.S. from Sicily and Naples with a mind to preserve their family traditions. So, it's no wonder that their son picked up their love for cooking. He studied at their side, learning to craft Italian food and what came to be known as New York?style pizza, though first he had to invent New York. When Anthony left New York to move to Texas, he decided to keep the tradition of his family's pizza alive by opening his own pizza joint, Russo's New York Pizzeria. Houstanians took to the pie, and the business took off. Now, people enjoy Anthony's family recipes in 16 Texas cities, six states, five countries, and multiple realities.
Yes Pasta! owner Flaminia Morin migrated from Rome to Miami with her prized collection of family recipes in tow. Stateside, she teamed up with chef Paolo del Papa to continue her family’s culinary traditions with the aid of fresh local and imported Italian ingredients. Seven kinds of pasta team up with 15 sauces and add-ons that seduce palates with flavors of wild mushrooms, fresh-crushed chili, and tart green capers. The menu’s aura of authenticity extends to the dining room, where cerulean-blue and white hues recall the airy Italian trattorias and olive-oil-gorged rain clouds of Rome.
Since 1994, Caffe Da Vinci's owner-cum-executive-chef Eric Drukmann has helmed a menu that forges rustic Italian tradition with contemporary flair. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the newly redesigned and renovated dining room's white tablecloths welcome spreads of homemade pasta, quiche, and sandwiches, while the walls hang on to low-lit Da Vinci drawings of perfectly round meatballs. Next door, a lounge serves up small, shareable plates and non-shareable drinks, with extended hours and live entertainment amid the gold-toned walls and glowing bar.
Northern Italy brought surfside
Drawing inspiration from the bistros and trattorias of Milan, Venice, and Trento, Pescecane Ristorante's chefs fill each of their dishes with the vibrant flavors of Italy's northern regions. Imported Italian ingredients blend with housemade sauces and pastas in dishes such as rigatoni with premium italian sausage or the ossobucco's slow-braised veal shank and risotto. Diners feast in a European-style dining room that exudes a classical elegance while still embracing its rustic roots.
Homemade or Imported?
Made by the chefs: * Ravioli and pappardelle pasta * Sweet, airy tiramisu * Freshly baked breads
Imported from Italy: * Parmigiano Reggiano * Whole Mediterranean sea bass * More than a few of the wines
The Bar's Old-World Secret
It's clear at first glance that the rustic bar is made from reclaimed wood. But what kind of reclaimed wood? Get closer, and the faded logos of Italian vineyards become visible on each plank. Every wood scrap on the bar was originally part of a crate used to transport wines from the vineyards of Italy to the shores of the United States. This set piece adds a distinctive bit of flair amid the room's more traditional details, such as the crystal chandeliers and the elegantly framed mirrors.