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.
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.