Piattini Restaurant and Lounge
187 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton, 561-367-8851,
Chef and co-owner Lillo Teodosi has returned to the former Caruso Ristorante in Royal Palm Place, where he worked for two years before departing for international adventures. He recently opened the space as another Italian retreat named Piattini (Italian for small dishes), after it sat vacant since last summer.
"I've spent the past two years traveling through Europe studying the restaurants' new trends," the Roman native says. "It looks to me that people's eating habits are somewhat changing, favoring smaller portions and low price point but very high quality of food. It gives patrons the opportunity to taste different things, as sharing is encouraged."
To match the less formal style, he changed the decor to emulate a Tuscan country villa with yellow-orange walls inside and out painted to resemble Venetian plaster, gold sheer curtains, coffered ceiling with white molding, wood chairs and an antique finish on the exterior wood trim. The once-red connecting lounge is now plum with gold vertical stripes. Both rooms showcase paintings of celebrities by Yaacov Heller, an artist who has a gallery in the plaza.
Complimentary antipasto kicks off the contemporary cuisine. The menu is a blend of his Caruso encores, such as risotto with black truffles and porcini ($19.95, dinner only) and potato gnocchi with a choice of three sauces ($12.95), and debuts, such as seafood salad with fennel ($11.95), grilled octopus ($8.95) and pan-seared sea scallops over saffron risotto ($23.95, dinner only). Flourless chocolate decadence and Key lime cake (both $7) lead the house-made desserts.
Lunch and dinner are served weekdays and dinner only on weekends. An awning covers patio seating.
D'Angelo Pizza, Wine Bar, Tapas
Since opening three months ago, this contemporary Tuscan restaurant in chef Angelo Elia's mini empire has introduced a "12 for $12" lunch Tuesdays through Fridays, accompanied by select glasses of wine for $6.
Best-sellers among the dozen choices are Caesar salad with grilled jumbo shrimp; salmon with artichokes, spinach and caper sauce; panino, zuppa and Angelo's fries; chicken cutlet stromboli with broccoli rabe and hot peppers; and mussels alla grande in tomato broth.
"We saw the opportunity to offer something new to Delray: a quality and attractive menu with a price suitable to enjoy several times a week," says chef de cuisine Peter Masiello. "This menu and restaurant are the perfect combination to enjoy friends and family, or even host a business lunch or event."
The addition of a bar on the spacious, attractive patio is under consideration.
The "12 for $12" may be extended to the Broward County sibling locations.
Seed of Life Bistro
2430 NE 13th Ave., Wilton Manors, 954-880-4444, SeedOfLifeStore.com
Owner Cristina Spinelli, a former bookkeeper, changed her lifestyle when she got certified as a raw food chef, as well as in exercise science and fitness testing.
"The inspiration was a healthier way of eating," she says. "I started on this path due to having health issues myself and discovering that healthy foods can be full of flavor. My intention is to reach all kinds of individuals, as I believe we all can benefit from eating whole, nutritious food."
Her venture led to Eucalyptus Gardens, a string of rustic shops, where she is one of the first to open amid a former landscaping nursery with an Old Florida feel.
The lineup is mostly organic raw vegan with a few cooked options: appetizers, such as Vietnamese or zucchini spring rolls ($7.50) and Italian or Mediterranean flatbread ($12), salads, such as Crispy Sexy Kale ($11.99), sandwiches and wraps, such as sunflower herb Swiss chard wrap ($11.95) and entrees such as raw tostadas with cashew cheese and walnut taco "meat" ($12.99).
The five tables, chairs, ceiling, trim and concrete floor are all white, punctuated by a corrugated metal counter that lends a crisp industrial feel. Three tables grace the patio.
Lunch and dinner are served Tuesday through Saturdays, except Wednesdays.
Blue Moon Fish Co.
4405 W. Tradewinds Ave., Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, 954-267-9888, BlueMoonFishCo.com
This 17-year-old landmark on the Intracoastal Waterway has launched Saturday à la carte brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. with Bloody Marys, Champagne cocktails and low-volume rock music.
"Saturday brunches are in vogue now, I think from the gastropubs in Miami," co-owner Baron Skorish says. "We want to stay cutting edge and not become yesterday."
Don't worry, their acclaimed buffet brunch is still thriving on Sundays for $53.95 with unlimited brunch cocktails.
Saturday's brunch, though, is a mix of lunch and dinner favorites, such as New Orleans firecracker oysters ($13) and sauteed Key West yellowtail snapper ($25), and new selections, such as braised short rib Benedict atop a cheddar biscuit with ancho chile hollandaise ($15), eggnog French toast stuffed with Nutella and banana and crusted with Honey Bunches of Oats ($14) and lobster quiche Lorraine with brie white-wine sauce ($17). Save room for lemon-ricotta fritters with raspberry sauce ($9).
Specialty burgers, such as one topped with short rib ($15) and the Magic Mushroom with goat cheese ($17), also appear on a revamped weekday lunch menu along with new pastas, such as salmon farfalle ($17), and flatbreads, such as shrimp with pesto and goat cheese ($17).
"We're going to highlight our raw bar like we do at dinner," says Skorish, who adds the updated lunch with lower prices replaces the two-for-one deal that ran for 13 years.