A plate of striped bass puttanesca at the Solita restaurant in Ft.Lauderdale.Photo: Joe Rimkus Jr.

In just eight weeks, SoLita has become the talked about destination on Las Olas, drawing overflow crowds in the former Mark’s space. But then, the key players at SoLita — short for South of Little Italy — know a little something about running a hot venue. General manager Alan Myers, chef Anthony “Radar” Risoli and bar manager Steve Lyon worked for Steve Martorano at his wildly successful Fort Lauderdale restaurant for more than a decade. SoLita is banking on its see-and-be-seen atmosphere and a mix of classic and contemporary Italian dishes to keep up the buzz.

Ambiance: The interior is a mix of old-fashioned glamour — damask wallpaper, beaded sconces, chandeliers — and contemporary accents like a backlit violet wall at the bar, unobtrusive hi-def TVs and clubby gun-metal gray hues. Arrive early for a table inside the 80-seat dining room, or outdoor seating if you don’t mind high tables.

What Worked

  • Efficient young servers
  • Stellar salad with whole roasted beets, concentrated beet purée, rich goat cheese, a dusting of walnuts and a hint of mint
  • Chopped Italian salad with a generous variety of cool, crisp endive, radicchio, chicory, provolone, dried Italian sausage, Genoa salami and a drizzling of red wine vinaigrette
  • Festive shrimp SoLita appetizer with a heavenly garlic scent and roasted red peppers
  • Meatballs made of veal, pork and beef and served a homey red sauce
  • Excellent whole bronzini served lush, firm and stuffed with parsley, tomatoes, artichokes and red onions
  • Mildly sweet and ultra tender pork shoulder marinated in grape vodka, shallots and herbs and then braised with grapes in a chicken stock reduction.
  • Scrumptious drunken berries – or more accurately, drunken fruit – blueberries, strawberries, pineapple and grapes marinated in Grand Marnier, Midori, blueberry and watermelon liqueurs and other spirits, then layered with homemade whipped cream

What Didn’t Work

  • Bland wild mushroom risotto sounded great but was bland
  • Flavorful, but watery cauliflower gratin
  • Salty crisp brussels sprouts



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