Fort Lauderdale chef Angelo Elia hit New York City in a big way last week, cooking a six-course “Christmas in the Italian Countryside” dinner at the prestigious James Beard House and making an appearance on Martha Stewart’s Sirius XM show. But once he returned to Fort Lauderdale, the talented toque was back doing what he loves: cooking at Casa D’Angelo.
Nearly 15 years after opening his celebrated venue — and five other restaurants — Elia is still in the kitchen just about every night, preparing heavenly dishes like baby Italian eggplant with prosciutto di parma and bufala mozzarella, house-made fettuccine and his personal favorite, veal chop with Gorgonzola.
Never one to rest on his reputation, Elia recently renovated and updated the Fort Lauderdale restaurant, adding a more contemporary look, an elegant wine room and a full liquor license. Given his growing empire — Casa D’Angelos in Boca Raton, Delray Beach and the Bahamas plus casual concepts in Oakland Park, Delray and, soon, Weston — we wondered if Elia’s cooking would still dazzle us the way it did when we first dined at his flagship restaurant. It did.
He is as passionate as ever about the simple, exquisite flavors of his homeland. While he grew up in Salerno and prepares some dishes from Southern Italy, his focus is on the north and the recipes he learned from his Florentine-born mother.