3 stars for old-school Italian at Pompano's La Veranda

 

3 stars for old-school Italian at Pompano's La Veranda

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Rochelle Koff

La Veranda is old-school Italian and proud of it. No fusion or foam; no way. For 36 years, diners have been coming to this Pompano Beach restaurant for classics like mussels posillipo in a briny broth, eggplant parm smothered in mozzarella and grandmotherly pasta e fagiole.

Running a successful restaurant for more than three decades is a feat in fickle South Florida. Franco Antimucci boasts that the menu hasn’t changed much since he and business partner Gianpiero Daverio opened La Veranda in October 1976. Sure, prices have gone up, but they’re still reasonable, especially when you consider that entrees include a house salad (with excellent creamy Gorgonzola dressing), garlic bread and a side of spaghetti, potatoes or vegetable.

Antimucci, a native of Rome, and Daverio, born near Milan, started out with just 14 tables. They expanded after purchasing the lot next door, and can now seat 200 with a room for private parties and a small bar. Fireplaces add to the warmth of the cozy dining rooms.

Ambience: From its lacy tablecloths to its formally dressed servers, La Veranda captures an earlier era. But what truly makes the place stand out is the setting, one of the most romantic in the county. When we walked into the canopied courtyard with its brick fountain and twinkly lights, we felt as though we had stepped into the veranda of an Italian villa, not off busy Atlantic Boulevard.

What Worked

  • A 25-bottle wine list starting at $24
  • Simple but refreshing prosciutto with fresh, juicy cantaloupe
  • Mussels posillipo with tomatoes, white wine, a hint of garlic and sea-salty juices
  • Tried-and-true clams oreganata, scungilli salad and stuffed mushrooms
  • A declicious, traditional chicken cacciatore cooked on the bone - a half chicken cut into five pieces, cooked with lots of red and green bell peppers, mushrooms, garlic, tomatoes and onions, and served with spaghetti
  • Salmon marechiaro - a nicely cooked, Scottish-raised fillet flanked by quintets of clams and mussels, capers and an ultra-light broth of tomatoes and white wine
  • Red snapper franchese
    A tender, 14-ounce, broiled pork chop topped with sautéed mushrooms and vinegar peppers and plated with steamed broccoli
  • Lovely, house-made ricotta cheesecake

 

What Didnt' Work

  • Disappointing potato wedges
  • Slightly bitter tiramisu

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