Lobster Bar Sea Grille
450 E. Las Olas Blvd., Suite 190, Fort Lauderdale, 954-772-2675, BuckHeadRestaurants.com
Yes, it's as dramatically striking and grand as anticipated with a big-city feel. A place to see and be seen, indeed.
From the Atlanta-based Buckhead Life Restaurant Group comes this melded sibling of Boca Raton's Chops Lobster Bar and City Fish Market in the former Jackson's Steakhouse.
You'll still find a lineup of aged prime steaks on this corner ($28-$54), but seafood prevails with international and local whole fish prepared Mediterranean style and Nova Scotian lobsters — both priced by the pound. Don't skip over the chilled shellfish, sashimi, ceviche and tiradito, though ($14-$29).
"[Our] dedicated purchasing staff has procured just-caught relationships with sources in Cyprus, Crete, Portugal, Spain, New Zealand and Iceland. Fish is air-freighted . . . ," says I. Pano Karatassos, president and CEO. "All the fish . . . is less than 48 hours out of the water."
Other standouts are puff-pastry buttery escargots ($12, $22) and Chilean sea bass Bangkok jeweled with sweet tomato jam ($34).
A white-marble seafood showcase, a touch from City Fish Market, bridges the contemporary U-shaped bar with chandeliers resembling lighthouse lenses to the elegant dining room that feels like a pristine Parisian subway with warm white tiled walls and arches studded with diamond-shaped chandeliers — a flair from Chops. Up front, choose inside or out for a hip blue-and-silver lounge vibe.
Lunch is served weekdays and dinner nightly.
Caffe' Il Gusto
901 S. Federal Highway, unit 1480, Hallandale Beach, 954-544-2407
Restaurateurs from Italy have debuted this red-black-white addition to The Village at Gulfstream Park that serves three meals a day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
"It is an authentic Italian cafe-restaurant offering its guests high-quality homemade typical Italian dishes in a modern ambience with a casual setup during the daytime and an elegant setup with candlelight during the dinner time along with specials," says Irina Semeniuc, co-owner with husband Marco Presciutti and other partners.
Breakfast ranges from parfaits and bagels to egg sandwiches ($3.95) and omelets ($3.95-$7.95). Later in the day, you can sample antipasti, such as a platter of Italian cured meats, bruschetta and mozzarella ($24.95), ciabatta sandwiches, such as mortadella with pistachios and fontina ($7.95), and house made pastas, such as pappardelle alla Bolognese ($13.95) made with slow-simmered sirloin and veal ragu by the chef from Calabria, Italy. Pair with wine or beer.
A pastry chef from Rome crafts delights such as profiteroles ($6.95) and tiramisu ($6.95) to complement the 18 flavors of gelato ($3.75-$4.75).
Musicians entertain on the patio Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
You can even take home a taste with you; imported Italian products are for sale, such as black truffle salt and Sicilian pasta.
Bella Amici Pizzeria
First-time restaurateurs have brought this traditional Italian baseball-themed eatery to the new Delray Marketplace next door to their new Grind Café across from Frank Theatres on the corner.