Review: Padano Bistro in Loggers' Run

All photos copyright Warren Redlich 2016
All photos copyright Warren Redlich 2016. Unfortunately I did not have either of my good cameras with me so these are cell phone pictures which do not handle lighting and colors as well. The food definitely looked better in person.

There’s a new Italian restaurant in the Loggers’ Run plaza. It’s in the same location as the old Mama’s, but the interior and menu are new and different.
On the inside we noticed upgraded materials throughout. It looks nicer and feels roomier even though it’s the same space.
padano-interior
This is of course a restaurant so the food’s the thing. It’s good. We won’t go so far as to say great, but it’s better than the last two operations in the space.
The soups were the best part of our meal. They come out with covers and they’re so hot you can’t really eat them for a minute so you have to wait while you smell them.
Escarole and beans (aka greens and beans)
Escarole and beans (aka greens and beans)

Pasta Fagioli
Pasta Fagioli

Pricing is a potential issue. The soups are $7 which seems like a lot. But you get a lot – we ate about half of our soups and took the rest home. Unlike many other places there’s no deal where you get a cup of soup with the entree for a lower price. Also they did not serve bread with the meal. It costs extra.
On the entree side the pasta dishes we ordered were in the ballpark of $13, which is reasonable. The dishes were not exactly what we expected, both in the way they looked and the taste. But they were still good enough and we certainly ate our fill. You’ll have to try it yourself to see if you like the way they cook them. As with the soups the entrees came with ample portion sizes.
Linguini Bolognese
Linguini Bolognese

Gnocchi
Gnocchi

Rigatoni with Meatball
Rigatoni with Meatball

We did not try the more expensive entrees or the pizza. A friend who knows pizza ate here before we did and said the pizza is excellent though he thought the ones with toppings were a bit pricey.
Padano is definitely worth a try, especially if you live in the Loggers’ Run area. They’re still a work in progress. The website doesn’t reflect that they’re open yet and we can’t find a menu online.

Boca Italiana Review: Excellent

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There’s a new Italian restaurant in West Boca and it’s excellent. Boca Italiana is located in Piccadilly Square (north side of Glades just west of the Turnpike), close to Jimmy the Greek and not just in physical distance. The Karaloukas family runs both restaurants.
Boca Italiana replaces Armadillo Café. The interior layout is the same, but the design changed. When you walk in the door you enter a smaller bar area:
bar
The hostess will greet you and then seat you in the larger room:
interior
There are about 15 tables, some for two or four, and a few larger tables for big groups.
And that brings us to the food, where a restaurant should shine and Boca Italiana does. Entrees include soup or salad plus garlic rolls. My companions had pasta fagioli and said it was good, with beans, pasta, carrots and celery. I had a salad which was fresh and colorful:
salad-italiana
The garlic rolls were also good, and notably different from some other places as they’re not covered in oil.
garlic-rolls
We also ordered the garlic cheese bread, which was unnecessary but reasonably priced and enjoyable.
garlic-cheese-bread
Service was also excellent. Before the entrees they offered to replace silverware and otherwise were readily available and responsive.
For entrees one companion had the veal parmigiana. It was a nice piece of meat, well prepared and with a traditional sauce.
veal-parm
Our younger companion was delighted with the angel hair pasta, which came with diced tomatoes and plenty of garlic.
angel-hair
I had the chicken scarpariello. The chef did a solid job of balancing sweet with spice, using two or three different kinds of peppers and better quality sausage than typical.
scarpariello
There is no standard dessert menu with the menu saying to ask the server for desserts of the day. We chose the blackberry cheesecake, which was outstanding.
Boca Italiana looks like a winner. While not cheap, the prices are competitive with other sit-down Italian restaurants in the area, and include soup or salad. A good example of the pricing is the veal parm at $19.95. There is also a lunch menu with most dishes under $10, and there’s a kids menu with dishes at $6.95.
Make reservations or call ahead. This is an especially good place to go ahead of a night at the Boca Black Box.
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Boca Italiana is at 8221 Glades Road. Their website isn’t operational yet but their Facebook page is up and running. Phone is (561) 430-3170.

Renzo's in East Boca Upgrades

renzos-front
One of the perks of running West Boca News is we get invited (free) to shows and media dinners. Earlier this week we took advantage of this and enjoyed an early look at the updated Renzo’s of Boca on Federal Highway north of Yamato.

Chef and owner Angelo Romano with some of the media dinner guests
Chef and owner Angelo Romano with some of the media dinner guests

Renzo’s was recently bought by Chef Angelo Romano, the owner of Paradiso Ristorante in Lake Worth. Romano is working with Marco Turano to run the place. Both were pleasant and demonstrated a clear business sense which will hopefully mean Renzo’s will be around for a long time.
Marco Turano (right) with others from media dinner
Marco Turano (right) with others from media dinner

The event started with some specialty cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, including an eggnog drink, a meat and cheese platter, and ceviche/crudo. All were good, though the drink may have been a bit strong for some.
renzos-crudo-ceviche
renzos-meat-cheese
renzos-cocktails
When we sat down we were served wine (choice of red or white, or both). The meal started with a plate of four appetizers including calamari Salad, burrata (fresh mozzarella) with pickled eggplant, beet & apple salad, and tuna carpaccio.
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The next course included fiocchetti with pear, gorgonzola and walnuts (left); gnocchi in vodka sauce (right), and risotto frutti di mare.
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Then came the fish course with pistachio encrusted branzino and shrimp zingara.
renzo-shrimp-fish
For the meat course we were served a veal meatball over sheep ricotta.
renzos-meatball
Last but not least was a ricotta cheesecake. I’m a huge fan of traditional New York style cheesecake and normally don’t like too many variations including the ricotta versions. But this one was wonderful.
We liked every course. My guest’s favorites included the veal meatball, the branzino, the beet and apple salad, and she loved the cheesecake. I liked all of those and also thought the burrata and tuna were outstanding.
Entrees start at over $25 and run up to the low 40s. $9 seems like a lot for a bowl of soup or a Caesar salad. Some of the other appetizers are double that. Overall the menu seemed pricey though not absurd considering the quality.

Review: Mozzarita Bar on Clint Moore

mozzarita-sign
Mozzarita Bar is a small new restaurant and shop in The Reserve plaza at Clint Moore and 441. It’s in the building along Clint Moore between Starbucks and It’s All Greek on one side and Fit Foodz Cafe on the other.
We met Donato on our visit. We didn’t meet Vito but we found this picture of the two of them on their Facebook page:
donato-vito
Vito has been making cheese for decades. About 20 years ago he started making it in Pompano Beach and now they’re trying out a restaurant model for his creations. It’s small inside with maybe six tables inside and a few more outside.
mozzarita-inside
The focus is cheese, especially variations of mozzarella. Americans usually think of mozzarella on pizza but here it’s fresh and mostly served on sandwiches and in salads. There are three main varieties served at Mozzarita Bar. The main one seems to be “Fiordilatte Mozzarella” aka Fior di Latte, which is made from cow’s milk and is the closest to what you get on pizza. We had this on a Panino Caprese (sandwich):

Panino Caprese
Panino Caprese

The next most common is Bufala, made from the milk of Water Buffalo. We did not try that but we did try the Straciatella Salad which uses Straciatella di bufala, also made from buffalo milk.
Straciatella salad with beets and greens
Straciatella salad with beets and greens

Everything we ate was delicious. While not outrageously expensive it’s certainly not cheap. You’re paying for high quality fresh gourmet cheeses and appropriate accompaniments. We would love to see them add some olives to the menu.
The menu is below. The Speciali Di Vito section appears to be a menu mistake – only one of the specials was available the day we visited – the Mozzarella Burger (no beef – the burger is made from cheese). They do not intend to have all three of those items available daily and the menu was not clear about that.
mozzarita-menu1
mozzarita-menu2

Four Seasons Restaurant Opens Today in Lakeside Centre

four-seasons-front
We just happened to be in Lakeside Centre yesterday and were told that the new Four Seasons restaurant will open today. I had a nice chat with the chef (Ahmed if my spelling is accurate) who used to work at The Breakers in Palm Beach, as well as at a restaurant off Powerline some years ago.
The best plaza entrance is across from the International Jewelery Exchange.
four-seasons-from-street
The plaza is on the southwest corner of Glades and Boca Rio:

It’s the same plaza that has the new Casa Tequila Mexican restaurant, Off-Broadway Shoes, a gym, a Honey Baked Ham, and more. It’s right next door to the newly opened Creative Heart Dance Studio.
Ahmed described a “continental” menu with French, Italian and other dishes, and maybe an Egyptian night once a month. If I understood correctly, entrees will be priced in the mid to high teens with a 3-course prix-fixe menu around $25. Lunch will also be available soon with pricing near $10.

Chef Ahmed, standing, with friend sitting
Chef Ahmed, standing, with friend sitting

It’s neither small nor huge inside, with roughly 60 seats.
4-seasons-inside
We look forward to giving it a try sometime in the next few weeks. In the meantime we wish them the best.

Review: Sicilian Oven on St. Andrews

sicilian-oven-front
We previously reported in April that a Sicilian Oven would open in Boca Village Square on St. Andrews near Town Center mall. We followed up in June when we reviewed Aladdin’s Eatery next door, and got some interior shots.
Sicilian Oven opened a few weeks ago and we got a chance to stop by today and have lunch. We liked it. It’s on the backside of the plaza, facing Town Center:

It’s not huge inside but there’s enough room and it’s attractive.
so-bar
so-inside1
We started with an extra-cost Tuscan bread. It was about $3. We thought it was good, with oil and various herbs, but we’re not sure we’d order it again for only two of us. It’s filling and makes more sense for a party of four.
so-bread
Lunch seems like a bargain. The lunch dishes are mostly $8 or $9, and come with a salad. One of us has the regular side salad, which was nice and came with chick peas. The other got the Sicilian side which cost a few bucks extra and had a lot of extras in it, including candied walnuts and olives.
s0-sicilian-salad
For entrees we had chicken parm and lasagna, which were both good.
s0-chick-parm
so-lasagna
The chicken parm was pretty good, but not spectacular. The lasagna was better. Here’s another shot of the insides:
so-lasagna2
Altogether it was a lot of food, and we took more than half of the lasagna home.
One of the hazards of restaurant reviewing is they sometimes figure out who we are. We were punished with a free carrot cake a la mode. It’s not my dessert of choice, but it was delicious.
so-carrotcake
We’ve heard the pizza is good. They have a wood-fired oven. But of course, the world of pizza and Italian food is competitive. Maggiano’s is practically next door, for example.
For those who live west of Lyons Road, there are a lot of choices that are closer. Steve’s Wood-Fired Pizza is in Boca Lyons Plaza, with Stallone’s on the north side of Glades, Davito’s in Boca Greens, Villa Rosano on Clint Moore, Meatball Room, and so on.
But if you’re going to Town Center or thereabouts, it might be worth it to stop by Sicilian Oven for lunch or dinner. It’s good food at a good price.
Update: We went back and tried the pizza. I thought the sauce was a little too sweet but the other five in our party like it.