La Dolce Vita

 

3 stars for North Beach Italian eats

la dolce via

Rochelle Koff

Named for the famed Fellini film, this new Fort Lauderdale restaurant celebrates all things Italian, from its food and wine to music and movies, complete with framed black-and-white images of Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg frolicking in Trevi Fountain in La Dolce Vita, “the sweet life.” There’s much that’s sweet about the 50-seat cafe owned by three guys who left Italy five years ago and met working in Miami restaurants. Christian D’Amore, of Rome, and chef Renato Polidori and Fabio Sabio Bruni, of nearby Abruzzo, opened La Dolce Vita nearly four months ago in Fort Lauderdale’s North Beach area, where there’s now an art walk the first Saturday of each month.

The menu follows the traditional Italian rhythm: antipasto, pasta, then entrees and dessert. The wine list is all Italian, from a $28 Montipulciano to a $595 2004 Sassicaia Tenuta San Guido from Tuscany, with four whites, six reds and prosecco by the glass. Wine bottles are also part of the decor, arranged on shelves around the restaurant, a cozy setting with burgundy and white tablecloths, sheer curtains and glass-block accents. Dishes, including specials, are priced reasonably, with the most expensive item, steak Diane, $24.

What Worked

  • A long list of appealing starters and salads
  • Potato and sausage soup - potatoes blended with a bit of mlik in a silky stock flavored with onions and smoky Italian sausage sautéed in pinot grigio
    A creamy wild mushroom sauce ladled over humble polenta and laced with black truffles
  • Octopus carpaccio
  • Mussels in pinot grigio 
  • Stewed cuttlefish
  • House-made pasta, including  ravioli, lasagna, cannelloni, gnocchi and “square” spaghetti (with squared ends)
  • Soul-satisfyingly creamy wild mushroom risotto
  • Rigatoni Amatriciana made with guanciale (from the pig’s jowl) and cooked with a light, flavorful tomato sauce, pecorino romano and pepper
  • Seafood pasta with sautéed mussels, littleneck clams and shrimp nestled in square spaghetti
  • Wild salmon grilled with lemon and garnished with parsley and served atop roasted green peppers, eggplant and zucchini
  • Terrific tiramisu as light as a whisper, with luscious cream and a hint of coffee
  • Light, refreshing & creamy watermelon mousse topped with a watermelon coulis

 

What Didn't Work

  • Tough steak Diane
  • Powdered Parmesan

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