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.
- 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