Giovanni's Cafe

Giovanni Gallegos is the owner of Giovanni's Cafe in Pembroke Pines. Here he is with one of his dishes, the Fried Seafood Rice Peruvian Style, which is on the menu for 16.95.

A few of the many things we love about the new Giovanni’s Cafe in Pembroke Pines: It’s a Peruvian-Italian gem from two brothers who are actually from El Salvador. With its gold angels and bronze, wood and brick accents, the 190-seat restaurant looks pricey, but it’s incredibly affordable, with most entrees under $16. And moments after you arrive at the family-run restaurant, the service is so warm you’ll forget it’s hidden in a suburban medical complex.
Owners and brothers Giovanni and Alex Gallegos took over the former space of the fine restaurant Cohiba nearly three months ago, but they’ve been working in South Florida restaurants since leaving their homeland in 1999. Giovanni gravitated to Italian venues — their grandfather is Italian — while Alex learned to cook Peruvian. Now with the help of their sister Katrina, Giovanni’s wife Mirna and a few earnest, attentive servers, they’re offering a well-executed, extensive menu from salmon carpaccio to coconut flan.

What Worked

  • An islandy tropical shake blending mamey & papaya
  • Summery sangria loaded with fresh fruit
  • Papas a la huancaína — potatoes in a lush cheese sauce
  • Bracingly fresh ceviche as cool as a dip in a Florida spring
  • Corvina and shrimp, served with thinly sliced red onions, a chunk of sweet potato and part of a corn cob
  • Fish soup brimming with rice, veggies and grouper
  • Flavorful lomo saltado — strips of churrasco sautéed with tomatoes and onions and tossed with french fries, which soak up the juices
  • Delicious grilled New York strip steak with mushrooms sautéed in a red wine reduction
  • Ultra-rich mashed potatoes spiked with heavy cream, butter and Parmesan
  • A side of perfectly cooked veggies
  • Juicy and tender simple grilled chicken splash with lime juice
  • A light, fluffy arroz chaufa de mariscos – a Peruvian version of Chinese fried rice with a hint of fragrant ginger and accents of fried egg, bean sprouts, green onions, calamari, shrimp and a few clams
  • Shrimp Parmigiana
  • Chicken Francese
  • A plate of spaghetti and meatballs
  • Scrumptious house-made tiramisu
  • Addictive coconut flan



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