When Pangaea—the earth's greatest rock supergroup—broke up, many fans blamed it on the high-heeled wiles of Europe's inseparable girlfriend, Italia. Discover a sweeter side to the globe's Yoko with today's Groupon: for $25, you get $50 worth of Italian cuisine and drinks at Capriccio Ristorante in Pembroke Pines.
Capriccio Ristorante crafts a menu of authentic dishes culled from recipes and regions across the Italian countryside, served within the lively confines of its lounge and dining rooms. For the gnocchi genovese, Capriccio's chefs roll homemade potato dumplings and top them with a creamy pesto sauce ($19), and they team tubular pasta with sautéed eggplant, mozzarella, and tomato sauce in the rigatoni alla siciliana ($19). Clams, mussels, shrimp, and scallops simmer with pent-up road rage and arborio rice in the risotto alla veneziana ($29), and the vitello Capriccio showcases veal sautéed and flambéed in cognac sauce ($25). Glasses of Cavit pinot grigio or Biagio Castellani reserve chianti complement the meal with a rich bouquet as flavorfully complex as a mathematical theorem penned in ketchup ($9/glass).
Capriccio Ristorante welcomes visitors by enveloping them in an atmosphere buoyed by warm-colored walls and accented with Roman columns and a luminescent chandelier that sparkles above the lounge. Piano music tickles eardrums nightly, and on Saturday evenings, the restaurant's floors open for dancing and amateur archaeological digs. Occasionally, owner Gianpiero even serenades diners with classic Italian ballads and opera ditties.
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.