What's happening in food and dining around South Florida.
Artizan Flatbread Company
Once you spy the bales of hay and potted bright bougainvillea down a passageway near Yakitori Sake House in Royal Palm Place, you've found this new secluded retreat.
The restaurant's courtyard with a handful of tables topped with red umbrellas is bigger than its sage-green dining room inside punctuated by orange seats.
"We're tiny, but with big flavors, ideas and dreams," says Larry Schulsinger, co-owner with his childhood friend, Alain Amiel, who began life in France and Montreal as a boy.
Amiel's mother inspired some of the recipes, such as Provencal onion gratin soup ($7.50), roasted vegetable wrap ($8.50) and flat bread with portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers and goat cheese ($9.50, $15).
Every component of the American lineup of multiple soups, salads, sandwiches and flatbreads is made from scratch, down to the potato chips, salad dressings and Florida citrus iced tea ($2.50). Other standouts are chicken tortilla soup ($5, $7) and Farmstand chopped salad with cranberry maple citrus dressing ($5, $8.50).
"We cater to locals with very reasonable prices that make this neighborhood gem a weekly stop for an already impressive group of regulars," Schulsinger says.
Lunch and dinner are served daily except Sundays, and breakfast and Sunday brunch will launch in April.
After losing her lease at Cucina Mio on Jog Road, owner Wendy Rosano has moved her staff to this Italian spot that recently debuted in the new Delray Marketplace.
"We have been working diligently to create an atmosphere and a menu that is hip but comfortable," says Rosano, Terra Fiamma's general manager.
Patio seating and an indoor-outdoor bar lead to a dining room of terra cottas, coppers, golds and warm woods. A five-seat bar overlooks chefs making pizza in dueling ovens: a wood-burning one for artisanal pizzas such as Tre Fungi with three varieties of mushrooms, truffle oil and crispy sage ($14) and a classic New York-style oven for renditions such as Bronx Bomber with three meats ($13).
Other striking touches on the classic and contemporary menu are four kinds of mozzarella, such as affumicato (smoked) with arugula and truffled mushroom relish ($12), which can be paired with a salumi plate ($11), as well as five kinds of meatballs with their own sauces, such as spicy pork with caramelized onions and hot cherry pepper sauce ($10).
Tapas, salads and entrees round out the menu, along with pastas such as capellini Caprese with tomatoes, basil, roasted garlic and fresh mozzarella ($16).
"Local fresh seasonal ingredients will be utilized to make our cocktails," Rosano says. "Even the classics are going to get a fresh twist."
Lunch and dinner are served daily with live music in the works.
This four-year-old modern American gastropub with red cowhide chairs and lively indoor/outdoor bar has introduced its latest round of changes, influenced by chef Omar Montoya, who returned in October, this time as executive chef after helming Salt7 and Park Tavern across the street.
"A lot of places are opening up. We have to step up our game a little bit, always respecting our clientele, which is different in the summer and winter," says Montoya, who wants to become more seasonal and is happy to accommodate special requests, particularly for vegetarians.
His Peruvian heritage is evident in some of the new selections, such as the corvina ceviche with a twist of popcorn instead of corn nuts and sweet potato chips instead of roasted slices ($17).
His daily specials are often highlights, such as Peruvian stir fry lomo saltado ($18) and splurge-of-the-year Zoe Southern Burger with cheddar cheese, fried green tomato, bacon, sausage gravy — all topped with a fried egg and served with grits ($19).
New favorites are Chinese BBQ chicken wings ($14), catch of the day open-faced sandwich ($19) and New York strip steak with mushrooms and cauliflower purée ($36).
New cocktails are papaya cosmopolitan and Get Involved at The Office with vodka and muddled raspberries and blueberries (both $14).
Bragozzo Osteria Wine Bar
Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park, 777 Isle of Capri Circle, Pompano Beach, 954-633-6633, TheIslePompanoPark.com
This elegant classic Italian respite accented with red Dale Chihuly chandeliers and grand columns is changing its image to lighter food and ambience.
"We're going to take this restaurant to a more Mediterranean slant. We've been listening to our customers," says Mark Sicilia, senior director of food and beverage. "The next generation is the seafood side."
On the horizon for May are dishes such as oft-requested branzino stuffed with herbs and lemon (market price) and lobster ravioli with saffron cream sauce that showcases the delicate flavor instead of overpowering it ($15, appetizer; $28 entree). The micro radish garnish is picked from their 2-acre garden.
Also in May, weekly wine-and-tapas pairings will kick off, and a face-lift next year will impart a rustic feel in the dining room, where the faint clacking of poker chips whispers from the casino.
Bestselling recent additions are prosciutto-wrapped grilled prawns glazed with balsamic ($12), mussels and clams in white wine-herb sauce ($10) and filet mignon with mushroom risotto and marsala wine sauce ($26).
Don't miss one of the new desserts: strawberries mingling with mascarpone gelato and balsamic-pomegranate reduction sauce ($6).
Insider tip: If you sit at the bar overlooking the chefs, you'll get a free glass of house wine and dessert with an entree purchase.