Step inside the menu at Las Olas's latest hot spot

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

Rochelle Koff

Editor rating: 2

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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