HOME > Chowhound > Florida >



Ok everybody...you know the drill...these are my top 3 here in my slice of sunshine state paradise...MIA. How's about yours?

1. Osteria del Teatro (expensive) South Beach.

2. Rosinella's (moderate) South Beach & Brickell.

3. Lorenzo's Cafeteria (budget) NMB.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 1. Casa d'Angelo (expensive)Ft. Lauderdale
    2. Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza (moderate)Ft.Lauderdale (though) I'm not so sure it qualifies as "Italian"
    3. and I agree with Laurenzo's Cafeteria (budget) NMB, but I really wish they would spend some of their millions and clean the place up!

    1. Any good places in Orlando for Italian? Particularly for fettucini alfredo and tiramisu?

      I used to enjoy Olive Garden, but the quality of both food and service has declined sharply in the past few years. Too bad, because I used to love them, chain or not.

      I don't like my Italian food to be too heavily spiced, which is a hazard in some places. Tomato and/or cheese should always be the main attractions. ;-)

      4 Replies
      1. re: JocelynCS

        Don't laugh -- I actually had great fettucini alfredo at Alfredo's in Epcot!

        I hear you on Olive Garden. I was just telling a co-worker, I like Olive Garden when I'm in the mood for Olive Garden -- but not Italian. Like I like Taco Bell, and go there occasionally, but when I'm in the mood for Mexican I go to a Mexican restaurant. Olive Garden is good for what it is (and BTW I LOVE their tiramisu) but I put it in a different category.

        1. re: Covert Ops

          Chef Boyardee with the new pulltop can reminds me of the Olive Garden with all the same corporate attention to detail.

        2. re: JocelynCS

          Good Italian food in Orlando is as difficult a quest sometimes as dealing with the cable company.
          Being Itlian and having lived there and in New York I took the cuisine for granted until I moved to Orlando where Olive Garden is repeatedly voted best Italian in the Sentinel
          My top picks:
          Antonio's Mailtland (downstairs) for a quick tratorria
          Roccos on 17-92 in Winter park
          Babbo -now Nonna in College Park
          Positano on 436 in Apopka worht the drive
          Timpano more for the atmosphere

          We are very limited in this category Find an Italian american friend and invite yourself to their holiday or sunday suppers Thats Italian!

          1. re: forensicfoodie

            If you find yourself over on the East Coast, Silvestro's in Cocoa Beach is quite good. ( http://www.silvestros.com/ )

        3. Campiello in Naples
          Bice in West Palm Beach
          Escopazzo in Miami

          1. I'm a big fan of Ristorante Tuscany, located in the Marriott World Center. The original is in Italy, there's a second one in Buckhead and the third one is here. Very authentic, ingredients imported from home. Great service.

            I also like Bravissimo, on Shine Street downtown. An old converted bungalow, the place is quiet and romantic with lots of neighborhood locals.

            For a small family place, there's Palma Maria in Altamonte, on 436 near Red Bug Road. They have their own oven and bake all their breads and desserts. Intimate and moderately priced.

            I also like Mona Lisa in Longwood. Also a converted home in the city's little historic district. He specializes in seafood and the chef/owner is a stickler for freshness. New menu every day. Kitschy, but very good.

            The owners of Il Pescatore, a former favorite, have reopened in a new location in Maitland called Stefano's Trattoria (1425 Tuskawilla Road, Winter Springs, 407-659-0101). While I have not eaten there, I loved their food in every other restaurant they have owned and the Sentinel gave them a rave review (and a sidebar on the owners). i think its a pretty safe bet.

            Babbo in College Park isn't bad, strictly Neopolitan cuisine and just up the street, Juliana's, is more Mediterranean but also not bad.

            I am not including pizza -- that's a different category in my mind.


            1. Laurenzo's. . .*drool*

              We used to drive up from Coral Gables in a borrowed car whenever we were jonesing for cannoli.

              "Leave the gun. . .take the cannoli. . ."

              1. If you like NY Italian, you have to try Anthony's Runway 84 in Broward right near the airport. The bar area is decorated like the inside of an airplane. . . from decor to staff to clientele, you will feel like you were transported to an old time Brooklyn Italian restaurant. Even with reservations, you will wait, but it's worth it. The food and service are excellent. It's pricey, but plentiful. They serve a bowlful of mussels with every meal.

                1 Reply
                1. re: robingcox

                  Ant'nys is soooo good! They are old school and make you wait and the service can very rarely not be good (it's usually excellent), but the food is unreal. I agree about the mussels....best ever. If you are uptight, don't bother. The more of a pain you are about getting seated at your res time, the less likely they are to try to accomodate you. Cannot express how good the food is....

                2. I am partial to Silvanos in Altamonte Springs. Granted it does lack some creativeness in the basics such as the accompanying salad etc, but Their red sauce is unequalled in my opinion. The homemade cheesecake by Silvanos wife (her mothers recipe I believe) is the best I've had at any restaurant.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: theflytyr

                    I second Silvano's. The cheesecake is to die for. The side salad is lacking a bit...and so is the bread...but every appetizer, entree, side item has been a hit with us. We've been going there for 6+ years and never a complaint.

                  2. I'll fight anybody who says there's better Italian (Tuscan) in Florida than the charming Saporissimo in Boca Raton -- although I admit for stick-to-your-ribs Jersy style-Italian I love Ruggero's in Lauderdale (get the chicken livers with peppers appetizer) and Frankie's Pier 5 in Hallandale Beach (don't miss the creme brulee afterwards).

                    1. Bella's, Municipal Street in downtown Melbourne. Huge portions, just fantastic. I'm from Jersey and very hard to please with my Italian -- I'm floored every time. (AND I have enough leftovers to feed 2 for 3 days!)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Covert Ops

                        Bella's is great if you like red sauce. However, if you prefer something a little more Northern Italian, try Silvestro's in Cocoa Beach

                      2. Piazza Benvenuto in Weston. It just doesn't get any better. After 10 years in Chicago, I was really disappointed in Florida Italian restaurants until I stumbled into Piazza Benvenuto. Now you can't make me go anywhere else.

                        1. Rosinella is nice but I might pick Cafe Ragazzi as my moderate instead. I love the stuffed artichoke, great pasta, wonderful breaded veal cutlet w/ tricolor salad.

                          Also love the gnocchi and the lasagna (special only) at Bugatti in the Gables.

                          Can anyone comment on Casa Toscana on Biscayne around 70th? This is right in my neck of the woods yet I've never been.

                          (I see someone listed Olive Garden in an earlier post - is that grounds for reporting the post?)

                          1. Hello! I'm new to the board...and I haven't live in florida to long so I only have one Italian restaurant to list.

                            Roasted Pepper in Broward

                            1. Casa Toscana-Biscayne and 70th St. The chef, Sandra Stefani, is from Tuscany, and she makes everything from family recipes. Great wines, too.

                              1. The Sicilian at NW 67th Ave. and the Palmetto in Miami. Mario's on US 1 north of Monterrey Road in Stuart.
                                Stressa on Okeechobee Rd. in West Palm Beach.
                                Pasqualle's in Jupiter (mostly for the pizza and deli).

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: flavrmeistr

                                  yes, the Sicilian is good -- he makes wonderful ravioli! Now, go across the street and down the road some to the shopping center at 67th and Gratigny Parkway (where the Vicki Bakery and the Washington Mutual Bank are) and try Dominico's. Tell me what you think.

                                  1. re: Sloppy eater

                                    The Sicilian? Get off the Palmetto coming from the east and which way do you go? Which is better?

                                    1. re: netmover

                                      Get off the Palmetto at 67th Ave (Ludlam Rd). If you are coming from the East, turn right and go North. The Sicilian is the shopping center directly across the street from the exit -- the one where there is a Burger King. So, turn right, then a left and a U-turn at the light -- then turn in at the BK, just before going under the Palmetto. Good rolls, ravioli, and pizza. He doesn't always have the ravioli.
                                      Dominigo's -- get off the Palmetto and turn left -- go South. Take Ludlum through Miami Lakes down to past about the 4th light. Just past Miami Lakes Elementary, there is a shopping center on the left
                                      Dominigos is in that one. Good pasta, pizza, calzone.

                                      1. re: Sloppy eater


                                        For phenomenal Sicilian food I HIGHLY recommend Philomenas in Pompano Beach. Powerline between Atlantic and Cypress Creek. It's in the shopping center just south of Pompano Harness Track. Open for lunch during the week and dinner Fridays and Saturdays. Cash only...I was told they have one in Boca on A1A too, but I cannot attest to that nor how good it is.

                                        1. re: netmover

                                          Philomenas in Pompano is great but not cheap. You must book on Fridays or Saturdays. Philomena is a scary lady but a great cook!

                                          1. re: Janette

                                            Philomena is like the GodMother! I wouldn't want to cross that lady...I have never seen her cooking, just sitting there like a Dona kissing and chatting it up with the clients. Obviously, those must be here receipes and I have yet to have a bad meal there, although my lazagna was a little cold in the center the other day it was still good...cheap it was not: 13.95 for lunch! It's close to a 20 dollar lunch everytime I go, but I always leave happier than when I arrived. Her Pasta Fiesta is phenomenal as is that ciabatta bread...her Caprese sammie on that loaf of ciabatta is sick. The hardest thing to do at Philomenas is decide which delicacy I will savour that day, as I know it'll be a while before I get back there again - this grasshopper likes to choose wisely! I have never done dinner there, what dishes do you like?

                                2. Renzo's of Boca hands down.

                                  1. Anna's on Seabreeze in Daytona. We haven't been in a while but we think that this is one of the best Italian restaurants in Central Florida

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: nhealy

                                      They may not be among the three best in Florida, but I have had two damn good Italian meals in recent weeks in Orlando.

                                      The food at Rocco's in Winter Park, on 17-92 just north of Fairbanks (the old Trastevere location) is great. Young Puerto Rican chef who trained for five years with Massimo Fedoza, the Ligurian chef who opened Delfino Riviera at Universal, makes fresh risotto to order, different risotto every day. Great veal, great pasta -- the seafood linguine is wonderful -- nice wine list, great service and ambiance in a totally made-over location. I highly reccommend it.

                                      Also just had a very ncie meal at Ultra Luce, a new upscale Italian restaurant in Lake Mary that replaced the quick-to-sink seafood restaurant Blackfin there.
                                      The calamari was perfectly cooked and they substituted the standard marinara dip for a nice garlicky aoli with sundried tomato. Pasta fagioli had some pancetta in it, but still kept a wonderful consistancy and balance with three types of pasta and the beans.

                                      Nicely cooked ribeye and a side of alfredo, a nice Super Tuscan by the glass, some lovely panna cotta and a grappa. All in all, upscale, contemporary italian, done with flair in a nice atmosphere.
                                      Only complaint was the big screen TV in the main dining room showing the Monday Night Football game. Leave that in the bar.


                                    2. Top Italian in Tampa:

                                      Pasta Y Vino
                                      Chiccio & Tony's for Sunday pasta night, all you can eat, big bowls sloshing around the room.
                                      Cafe Paradiso
                                      Laughing Cat but only for the atmosphere; the food is so iffy.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Tandoori Girl

                                        Tandoori Girl would you please tell me more about Pasta Y Vino? It's only a few blocks away but I've never tried it....what's the atmosphere like and what are some of the food selections? Many thanks, Tony Noriega

                                        1. re: tony noriega

                                          tony, i meant to answer this but had to do some christmas shopping. sorry. anyway, i like the atmostphere there, surprising as it looks a little odd on the outside. but it bustles and is rather itimate as its small. i heard the owners were the Spartacos owners (on Macdill). this is cheaper, a more limited menu, pick a pasta, add a sauce, or choose an entre. they are gracious with their wine and their italian-ness. very reasonably priced. give it a try and let me know if it works for you.

                                          1. re: Tandoori Girl

                                            Thanks Tandoori Girl...I'll try it and let you know what I think. Tony

                                      2. I like Christini's in Orlando. (Maybe actually Lake Buena Vista?)

                                        1. Budget: Pusateri's Chicago Pizza, 221 SE Ocean Blvd, in Stuart. This snowbird and his wife drive down there from Port St. Lucie every time we visit Florida.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Egregious

                                            I haven't been to Pusateri's, but keep driving east on Ocean almost to the causeway, and next to Haagen-Dazs and across from Stuart Fine Foods you'll find Carmela's. Eat on the right side (not the wine bar side) and they have awesome, honest Italian dishes and above-average pizza for the area. My favorite is the chicken caprese hero, fried cutlets w/fresh mozz, greens and balsalmic. Very reasonably priced (subs around $7, entrees $15 or less?) but they do NOT take plastic. (And it's freezing cold in there.)

                                          2. For the absolute best octopus dish found outside of Spain......drum roll.......I love the preparation at Tramonti in Delray. Yes, it's on the very commercial Atlantic Ave. The pulpa is NOT fried and the sauce is to die for. Caution: some may find it on the sweet side, but it goes fantabulous with a big red wine. I can not vouch for other dishes here since the four times I have visited I have ordered the pulpa.

                                            1. I have enjoyed Cafe Luna Rosa in Delray Beach over the past several years and though I know it is not at the top of the list, I wonder how others with an "Italian" bent fancy it (or not). If this does not fit into this topic well enough, I'll restate it in another post later. Thanks.

                                              1. BRAVOs in Fort Lauderdale. Fantastic!

                                                1. Many years ago I went to a place called Tony's Casa Napoli in (I think) North Miami. It was family style seating and the food was beyond fantastic......anybody know if it's still there and still good?

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: tony noriega

                                                    We lived in Miami in the 1980s and loved Tonys restaurant.We ate there every week and had many of Tonys recipes.We would love to know if he is back in the restaurant business.Have you had any reply to your inquiry?

                                                    1. re: Emory Palmer

                                                      where's (was) Tony's...I have never heard of it and I have been here since the 80's

                                                      1. re: netmover

                                                        Just above Miami Shores around 119 street in I believe Biscayne Park.He sold the restaurant around 1985 and opened a store on Biscayne Blvd around 120 street that sold imported Italian Ceramics`.

                                                        1. re: Emory Palmer

                                                          I got no idea! I do not remember Tony's as I only rolled into town in late 85. And back then as now, I do not stray far from the beach. When that far North I would be drawn to Lorenzo's Italian Emporium who originally reign from my hometown.

                                                          I defer your question to more seasoned chow hounds for an answer regarding Tony. I do know a Tony that runs the smooth operation up at Scorch on 137th and Biscayne. Not Italian perse, but good nonetheless.

                                                  2. I absolutely agree with Osteria del Teatro and Casa d'Angelo. I'd add Lilly's in Boca (Palmetto Park Rd east of US-1)

                                                    Lilly's (in Boca, Palmetto Pk Rd east of US-1) moderate
                                                    Gianni's (Pompano Bch, Atlantic Blvd west of US-1) moderate

                                                    And I grew up going to Lorenzo's, always loved the cafeteria, but they are SO rude to staff and customers that I voted with my feet and won't be going back.

                                                    1. Philomena's Pompano Beach

                                                      1. In the Boca Raton area:

                                                        Ristorante Bova
                                                        Pellegrino's (Deerfield Beach)

                                                        1. Trattoria Luna and Pizzeria Blu in South Miami are better than the rest.

                                                          1. Noodles and Panini's Bombolettis and Mom's Meatsauce along with Aunt Marion's Meatballs deserve recognition on this post. Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale.

                                                            1. Valentino's on S Federal Hwy in Fort Lauderdale, Cibo e Vino on E. Oakland Park Blvd in Fort Lauderdale, Romantico for wonderful pasta in Pompano Beach

                                                              1. In no particular order:

                                                                Bella Sera (Parkland)
                                                                Matteo's (Boca Raton/Hallandale)
                                                                Il Mulino (Sunny Isles)

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: miamimike

                                                                  What's good at Il Mulino? We had drinks at the bar in the Aqualina a month or so ago, peeked at the menu at Il Mulino and were thoroughly underwhelmed. Looked completely generic. But we didn't try, so I can't pass judgment.

                                                                  1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                    The bolognese is excellent and so are the risotto dishes. Don't be fooled by the generic menu. The dishes are on another level. The service is great and the cheeses they bring you when you sit down are very good.

                                                                    1. re: miamimike

                                                                      Not when I went there when IM opened. I was underwhelmed...granted things could change.

                                                                2. On a recent visit to Aroma Cafe and Wine Bar,located on Washingtin Street in the heart of Thornton Park, I was surprised not only by the refreshingly authenic Italian menu selections but also a hot new band, the Ivoryline. The band was not actually performing just there like myself to enjoy a late afternoon sojourn of food and wine and thankfully REAL espresso!
                                                                  I had a panini of two perfectly sliced pieces of Proscuitto, fresh mozzareela, roasted red pepper and fine olive oil on ciabatta. It was just as though I had been in Little Italy in NYC.
                                                                  I also enjoyed a sampling of desserts, all were very good I am partial to anything with Nutella on it.
                                                                  The owner reccommended a fabulous red,we opened up a bottle of Amarone Luigi Righetti from Veneto, Itlay. I felt transported form my hectic work day to a small side street cafe abroad. Good company and wine go hand in hand when evlauating any worhty Italian establishment
                                                                  I felt very comfortable lingering here for hours on a beautiful day, while enjoying watching others do the same.
                                                                  So "play Hookie" at Aroma and unwind like an Italian on your next srtessful afternoon (they have WIFI so Why not?)

                                                                  1. Cafe Vico in Fort Lauderdale.
                                                                    Pasta And in Margate.
                                                                    Philomena's in Pompano.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Suzyummy

                                                                      I agree with your Philomenas pick! That is some if the best SIcilian style cuisine I have ever eaten anywhere! She was threatening to move out to Parkland, do you know if she did yet?

                                                                    2. ORLANDO

                                                                      Papa Gio's in Avalon Park the best by far.

                                                                      1. If you are prepared to wait three hours for a table, Cafe Martorano in Fort Lauderdale! OMG! Didn't have a great experience at the Las Vegas outpost even though the food was amazing but the FLL location is the best food I've ever eaten.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: BlueHerons

                                                                          This is the place that Shaq hangs out at I think. He's friends with the owner who I think had a heart attack recently? Anyways I heard it was a very tough res here as well. BTW, do you mind sharing what you had? Thanks!

                                                                          1. re: eatnbmerry

                                                                            The best meatball on the planet! It was massive but the best one I've ever eaten. Also had lobster, fresh mozz pan fried, and a fresh pasta with olive oil and garlic. I am so jonesing for another one of those meatballs!

                                                                            1. re: BlueHerons

                                                                              TY, your enthusiasm has me craving some meatball action! Will definitely put on hit list for night out soon.

                                                                        2. ll Pescatore by the Fashion Square mall and Papa Gio's in east orlando/avalon park.

                                                                          1. My top 3 favorite Italian restaurants in Miami:

                                                                            1) Amici's (Killian Dr./Hammocks Blvd.)

                                                                            2) The Roasted Pepper (Pembroke Pines)

                                                                            3) Cafe Prima Pasta (Miami Beach)

                                                                            Cafe Prima Pasta is more of an Italian/Argentinian fuse but it is SOOOO DELICIOUS!

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: noubaguy

                                                                              1-Il Gabbiano (downtown Miami), the pasta trio is a must!
                                                                              2-Sylvano's (Alton Rd.), simple Italian and moderate pricing.
                                                                              3-Cafe Martorano (Oakland Park Blvd), amazing family stlye dishes, a little loud and very cheesy. But, amazing food.

                                                                              1. re: sanman

                                                                                Sorry, but sylvanos does not belong on a top 3 list.

                                                                              2. re: noubaguy

                                                                                We like the granddady of Argen/Itali too. Good veal, great meatballs, nice pasta (especially the squid ink linguini with seafood yum yum) and the coziness exudes a warmth that is most welcome most of the time:).

                                                                              3. Il Gabbiano in Miami.

                                                                                Owner is baller.

                                                                                Food is just simply legit. Amazing.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: netmover

                                                                                    used to go there after work every day last summer...
                                                                                    calamari is to die for...they serve it their in-house sauce which is very light
                                                                                    zuccini frito is amazaing

                                                                                    had the langostines sauted in white wine and lemon butter....beautiful
                                                                                    seafood risoto is melt in your mouth
                                                                                    the filet is probably one of the most beautiful dishes they have and its mouthwatering.

                                                                                    mojitos and capirinas are amazing there as well. served quite elegantly. there is this urugyaing guy at the bar outside...most friendly guy u will ever meet.

                                                                                1. Maggiano's at Pointe Orlando on International Drive is my favorite Italian place of all time right now.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: pdpredtide

                                                                                    In South Palm Beach Palm Beach Area/Northeast Broward:

                                                                                    Expensive - Romantico Ristorante(Pompano) - There Fettuccini Romantico is the best they toss the fettuccini a large scooped out Parmesan Wheel to coat the pasta... Also Renzo's(Boca Raton) has always been one of my Favorites - the original, not the cafe

                                                                                    Cheaper Side - Augy's in Boca on 2nd Ave northof Glades rd has a great pizza, some great "Italian" dishes always fresh, and great price. Weekdays they have a lunch buffet as well for $7 bucks, always busy

                                                                                  2. DeVito's in South Beach is pretty darn good and belongs on this list.

                                                                                    Some one told me Prime Italia closed? Can anyone confirm that?

                                                                                    1. Philomena's is keeping it REAL in Pompano...and NO they are not moving to Parkland Thank GOD!!!

                                                                                      Chicken Philomena features Broccoli Rabe & Mozzarella stuffed Chicken Breast smothered in a savoury Mushroom Marsala sauce. Boun appettito!

                                                                                      1. PERRICONE'S $10 PASTA THURSDAYS IN MIAMI

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: netmover

                                                                                          Once again and after a very long hiatus, Osteria del Teatro South Beach came to our rescue! Dropped in on St Valentine's at 9:24pm without a reservation and was offered my choice of 3 two tops...the other two were quickly filled. Ordered a bottle of Prosecco, and a Fois gras with oyster mushrooms&raspberries(the raz/fg combo is fab). The Black Ink Raviolis in a Lobster Cream sauce is still scrumptious as is the Osso Bucco with Risotto Milanese. And that flour-less choco loco cake is sin worthy! It had been a long time coming...I was glad to see things have remained the same. Service is still pretty stellar and there are a plethora of specials. They brought out some prawns the size of my forearms! Love the fishbowl vibe there, a nice flashback in this thing we call "La Vida". Happy Saint Valentines Day to you and yours!

                                                                                        2. Alba's Seaside Italian at Sole Hotel in Sunny Isles, FL

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: netmover

                                                                                            Is that the place next to the Trump Sonesta?