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Showing posts with label Italian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Italian. Show all posts

Buca di Beppo Opens New Location in Celebration

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6282 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy.
Celebration, FL 34747
(321) 219-2822



The first Buca di Beppo opened its doors in 1993 in the basement of a Minneapolis apartment building.

Since then, the brand has grown to over 100 locations worldwide. The all new Celebration / Kissimmee location marks the third one in the Central Florida area, and the seventh one in the entire state of Florida.

Buca di Beppo strives to capture the fun and enthusiasm of an authentic Italian family gathering along with delectable food. If you have ever dined with an Italian family, then you understand that the food is always a big priority and the portions are more than plenty. The dishes served up here are inspired by the cuisine enjoyed for generations in villages throughout Italy and are served family style, meant to be shared by the entire table.


The menu is inspired by various places around and throughout Italy, as Buca tries to serve up authentic Italian fare. They have continued to innovate and create recipes beyond their traditional style by adding new menu items inspired by Northern and Southern Italian cuisine.

Everything from salads, antipasto platters, flatbreads, mussels, calamari and a large variety of pastas fill the menu. A Buca small serves two to three, and a Buca large serves up to 5, as everything here is served a la carte family style only.

Inside of every Buca di Beppo restaurant is an eclectic setting designed to make every occasion a party. The vintage setting is always a point of conversation with all of the walls covered in family photos and candid shots of Italian American icons such as Sophia Loren and Joe DiMaggio. Each room at Buca is themed, and all restaurants have a Pope table which is the largest single round table in a room with a bust of the Pope as the centerpiece.


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The bar is very colorful and lively and continues on the eclectic decor and whimsical lighting.

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All Buca locations have a large wine list, but they also serve up pretty good cocktails like the Buca Berry Lemonade on the left and a Sparkling Sangria on the right.

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The Antipasto Platter is a new addition to the menu and it is loaded with prosciutto, pepperoni, salami, provolone & fresh mozzarella with arugula, pepperoncini, green & black olives, roasted red peppers, marinated artichokes & Parmesan crostini.

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Fried Mozzarella with housemade marinara sauce is an old standby, but it's always delicious.

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Italian Sausage & Arugula is also a new addition to the menu and it is topped with spicy Italian sausage, prosciutto, mozzarella, provolone, garlic, arugula and balsamic glaze. This was really good, and a bit spicy.

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Our table really enjoyed the Chicken Carbonara that is made with a cut up chicken breast, prosciutto, peas and garlic in rich Alfredo sauce.

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I love a good Eggplant Parmigiana, and in fact this one at Buca di Beppo is as close to homemade as I have had. This is battered, fried and stacked eggplant topped with homemade marinara sauce, Roma tomatoes, basil & mozzarella cheese.

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The Quattro al Forno is a good way to sample a few different things. This dish comes with four items...Cheese Manicotti, Chicken Cannelloni, Cheese Ravioli & Stuffed Shells.

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Although the sauce was a tad sweet, everyone at our table really loved the Chicken Marsala with baby portobello mushrooms in a traditional Marsala wine reduction sauce.

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You can't go wrong with any dessert selection at Buca di Beppo, but this gigantic slice of Tiramisu is pretty fabulous. It features homemade ladyfingers soaked in dark rum & espresso, layered with sweetened mascarpone cheese & topped with cocoa & crumbled hazelnut biscotti . If you add an espresso with this...its close to perfect.


I've been to a few Buca di Beppo locations with family, friends, a wedding reception..you name it, and everyone has always had a great time. Sit back and listen to the classic tunes of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin and be prepared to eat. 

The friendly staff and whimsical atmosphere are sure to be a hit as you can't help but laugh at all of the funny pictures of Italian family members throughout history. Stop by the new location in Celebration and say Ciao.


Buca di Beppo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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The Meatball Stoppe

7325 Lake Underhill Rd.
Orlando, FL 32822
(407) 270-6505
View Website Here

Last year, I told you about a little spot in East Orlando called The Meatball Shoppe. I say little enthusiastically though, because the shop is small inside, but full of great flavor and great character. That great character is attributed to the owners of this establishment - Isabella Morgia di Vicaria, a first-generation American, born of Italian heritage in Brooklyn, NY. and her Husband Jeff Morgia. You can see more of that review here

The Meatball Shoppe is now called The Meatball Stoppe, and they have added a few more things to the menu then just meatballs.

The concept of The Meatball Stoppe is to bring you the classic and traditional Italian meatball and then take it in a different direction. The menu is based on tradition fused with innovation that brings new life to the ‘classic meatball’. Patrons can expect to find a combination of an old world style with a retro feel and fresh originality. Everything from classic meatballs, to mediterranean style and the all new buffalo bleu chicken meatball is on the menu.

What's new is a selection of Italian favorites recreated as only Isabella could do with a selection of entrees titled Famiglia Favorites. It is here you will find such items as Baked Ziti, Eggplant Stack and Lasagna Bolognese. Additionally a few side items or starters have been added like fried calamari, bruschetta, caponata, and The Meatball Stoppe serves beer now too.


The Caprese Salad features tomato, mozzarella and a house made pesto.

The Bruschetta with crostini was pretty fabulous in a very decadent red sauce with fresh mozzarella melted in it.

I was very impressed with the Fried Calamari at the The Meatball Stoppe. I can honestly tell you..this is some of the best I have had in Orlando. The sauce had a bit of a bite to it as well. Very tender calamari, and it was served properly with the tentacles as well as the rings.

The Eggplant Sandwich is a winner. I admit, I have to have meat everyday, but I have some vegetarian friends, and If this was all I could eat...I'd be pretty happy without meat. This sandwich is stacks of fried eggplant with mozzarella, arugula, red onions and a pesto mayo on a focaccia bun.

New to the meatball section of the menu is the Chicken Parmigiana meatball with Buffalo Bleu Cheese sauce. A very tasty addition that is gluten free also.

The Eggplant Stack is a delicious stack of breaded eggplant with a mixture of imported cheeses and a roasted tomato sauce.

Of course you can never go wrong with Nona’s Traditional Italian Meatball with a fried egg in the top.

The Meatball Stoppe has always had great cannolis, and they are the perfect size.

 
Sfogliatelle is a traditional Italian pastry that is flaky on the outside and stuffed with a lemon ricotta filling. These are served piping hot and the filling just oozes out of them once they are opened. This was a very tasty treat.

Isabella believes her meatballs are special and are a representative of the best of many cultures including the Mediterranean and Latin American Countries. Jeff says his love of meatballs comes from the nostalgia that takes him back to when he was growing up, and they’re warm, inviting and are universally loved by all. 


Whether you are in the mood for some great meatballs or some really good Italian family favorites, stop by the Meatball Stoppe and say hello.

The Meatball Shoppe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Brio Tuscan Grille


11401 N.W. 12th Street
Sweetwater, FL 33172
305- 629-8991


I have always been a fan of Brio Tuscan Grille and I have been to both Central Florida locations. Brio is really good at serving up consistent and authentic Italian food in what the restaurant deems as a “polished casual” atmosphere. Recently on one of my many visits to Miami, which is my second home, by the way, I was invited to check out the newest Florida location of Brio Tuscan Grille at the Dolphin Mall, and of course I couldn't resist.

In case you have not been to a Brio yet or are unfamiliar with the brand, Brio is part of Columbus based BRAVO|BRIO Restaurant Group (BBRG). Founded in 1992, BBRG currently operates more than 100 restaurants including Bravo Cucina Italiana, Brio Tuscan Grille, and Bon Vie Bistro.

Brio Tuscan Grille serves up authentic northern Italian cuisine with a menu that features oven roasted steaks, chops, seafood, made-to-order pastas, flatbreads and entree salads, similar to what one would find in a ristorante in Tuscany. Brio also offers an ample dessert menu, and a full wine and cocktail list. Brio’s philosophy is “to eat well, is to live well”, and they strive to bring the pleasure of the Tuscan country villa to the American city.

On Sept. 17, Brio Tuscan Grille, opened a location at the newly expanded wing of Dolphin Mall in Miami, Florida. The restaurant is the 14th location in Florida, and provides a “taste of Tuscany” to Miami-Dade’s largest retail shopping center.


The beautiful new 7,500 square-foot Miami restaurant offers indoor seating for 226 guests, and al fresco dining for up to 89 on two Italian-style terraces. A private dining area accommodates groups for up to 40 guests.

BRIO’s villa-like interior features details such as antique hardwood cypress flooring, arched colonnades, hand-crafted Italian mosaics, antique doors, hand crafted walls covered in an antique Venetian plaster, Arabescato marble-imported from Italy, and sizable wrought-iron chandeliers.

I love a good calamari, but it’s hard to find somewhere that does it right. The Calamari Fritto Misto at Brio was Perfetto, as in Perfect. The calamari was a crispy golden brown and served with peperoncini, creamy aioli, and a nice pomodoro sauce for dipping.

Bruschetta Quattro is perfect for sharing,or as a whole meal itself. You really can’t go wrong with a sampling of four housemade bruschettas. You get a Tomato Caprese Bruschetta, Sliced Steak Bruschetta, Roasted Red Pepper and Mozzarella Bruschetta and a Chicken Florentine Bruschetta. All of them were very delicious and quite tasty.

The Pasta Fra Diavolo is composed of campanelle pasta, spicy tomato cream sauce, green onions and your choice of chicken or shrimp. The flavors in this pasta dish were intense and flavorful with the perfect amount of spice for the diavolo or devil in you that likes it hot!

My dish of Chicken Milanese featured two generous portions of crispy Romano chicken, herb pasta and fresh Mozzarella in a housemade Pomodoro sauce. The Chicken Milanese is a rather simple and classic dish, but it is filled with exceptional flavor as the chicken cutlets are battered and fried to perfection.

Brio means “lively” or “full of life” and that is certainly what you will find at any Brio Tuscan Grille location. As I said earlier, I really enjoy the Central Florida locations and Brio has proven to be very consistent across the board at every location I have been to. Of course it goes without saying, that in many parts of Miami and the surrounding areas, they have a reputation for being glitzy, glamorous, playful, and very stylish. The Dolphin Mall location certainly lives up to that billing, as it is everything you would expect from Brio, with a touch of Miami spice.

Brio at Dolphin Mall is open seven days a week Sunday to Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to Midnight.


They also feature a weekend Brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Reservations and call-ahead seating will be accepted and walk-ins welcomed. For reservations, please call (305) 629-8991

Brio Tuscan Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Noodles & Company

3683 E Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 228-9870


As the number of fast-casual restaurants continues to skyrocket around the United States and even globally, you can continue to expect more fast casual chains and even independent fast casual eateries to make their way to Orlando. Noodles & Company already has five locations in Central Florida and is continuing to expand.

The concept at Noodles & Co. is to offer the world’s favorite noodle dishes, sandwiches, salads and soups, all in one restaurant. Each dish is hand made to your specifications, using only the freshest ingredients. All entrees are individually sauteed or prepared, placed on signature stoneware and served tableside with stainless steel flatware. All of this can be had for around $8 a dish, and there’s never any tipping at Noodles.

The food, or Noodles served up here are inspired by the individuality, creativity and cultural heritage of cuisines from around the globe. From Penne Rosa to Japanese Pan Noodles, The Med Salad, Thai Curry Soup, and a Wisconsin Mac & Cheese, only the most authentic ingredients are used to create great tasting food in a fast casual environment.

The concept is simple and straight forward. After looking over the large photo menu, you first choose your entree and pick your size, regular or small. Next you can choose to add meat or tofu to your dish. Meats include pork, Parmesan crusted chicken, grilled chicken breast, marinated steak, sauteed shrimp and oven roasted meatballs. Finally you can choose to green it up, soup it up, or veg it up by adding extra vegetables, a soup or side salad. 
Within minutes your food is brought to your table and you are ready to enjoy some pretty tasty noodles.

 
Additionally Noodles & Co. has three side items, or appetizers to choose from. The list includes Potstickers, Margherita Flatbread and a Cheesy Garlic Bread. Our Pot stickers were pretty darn good for fast casual.

I ordered the Wisconsin Mac & Cheese in a regular size. This is a classic blend of cheddar and jack cheeses, cream and elbow macaroni. I also added the grilled chicken to my mac & cheese. This mac had a very rich and creamy sauce, and the added grilled chicken provided a perfect texture and flavor. The regular size was more than enough, and I even had some left over.

The Pesto Cavatappi is curly pasta, basil pesto, garlic, mushrooms, tomato, wine, cream, Parmesan and Italian parsley. My guest added the Parmesan crusted chicken. This dish was very flavorful and savory with just the right amount of sauce.

I was really impressed with the flavors in the Thai Hot Pot that one of my other guests ordered. This is a Noodles & Co. signature curry broth with cabbage, sprouts, peppers, shiitake mushrooms, rice noodles, pulled chicken and pork, lime wedge and cilantro, served with a side of toasted Asian flatbread. The broth had a wonderful coconut flavor with a decent amount of heat, and the flatbread was great for dipping also.


I found all of the food I tried to be quite flavorful, and about as authentic in taste as I have had at any traditional Asian, Italian, and American restaurant. Noodles and Company also serves beer and wine because, as they like to say…” it goes great with our food”. The selection and availability varies for each restaurant. I did enjoy a New Belgium Brewing Fat Tire during my visit.

Noodles & Company is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 am until 9:00pm, and they stay open until 10:00 pm on Friday and Saturday.

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Spoleto : My Italian Kitchen

12101 University Blvd.
Ste. 219
Orlando, FL 32817
(407) 658-0593
View Website Here


Spoleto is the newest arrival to the ever growing world of the “Fast Casual” dining experience. Fast Casual is a type of restaurant that does not offer full table service, but promises a higher quality of food with fewer frozen or processed ingredients than a fast-food restaurant. It is a concept that is positioned between fast food and casual dining. The typical cost per meal is $8-15 and is exemplified by chains such as Chipotle Mexican Grill Panera Bread.

Guests dining at Spoleto will find a restaurant that combines the speed of fast casual service with the sophistication of an Italian restaurant with gourmet quality food. Spoleto further defines the uniqueness of the concept by offering a seasonal menu based on the availability of fresh local products and an endless number of guest selected food combinations.


With a choice of over 25 authentic Italian inspired ingredients, it gives everyone a chance to create meals that inspire their palate. You can choose to indulge in richer ingredients like meats and cheeses, as well as a full complement of fresh vegetables, whole grains and fruits. All of this sounds great and looks even better in person, but it may be confusing to a first timer of Spoleto.

As you enter the queue, your first choice is what type of pasta you would like, or if you want to customize a flatbread or salad. You then interact with someone behind a counter that tells you to pick six additional ingredients that will go into your dish. There are over twenty five additional ingredients to choose from and include things like broccoli, tomatoes, onion, sausage, kale and scallions to name a few. Don't feel bad if you give that person behind the counter a blank stare...it's a lot to take in on your first visit.

Next you can choose an upgrade. If you go with just pasta, its about $8.00, and if you add a protein upgrade, you will add another couple of dollars to your tab. Upgrades include House Made Giant Meatball ($3.50), Prosciutto ($2.50), Roasted Link Sausage ($2.50), Herb Roasted Chicken ($2.50), and a Basil Marinated Shrimp for $4.00. Naturally your next decision will be what sauce you would like...choices include - Pesto, Marinara, Bolognese, Alfredo, Brodo di Pollo (chicken broth). Your final question is whether you would like to top off your creation with crushed red pepper, Parmesan, Italian herbs and a variety of other toppings.



After you select a pasta, you can choose up to six of the twenty five plus additional ingredients.


At Spoleto your ingredients are actually cooked together, and not just picked out of hot pans and mixed. The chef is always fun to watch and conversate with as he prepares your meal.


I chose the penne pasta with bacon, truffle roasted mushrooms, tomatoes, caramelized onions, pepperoncini and Italian cheese blend as my six ingredients. I also added the house made meatball and topped it off with fresh grated Parmesan. This looked and tasted as good, if not better, then anything you may get at a traditional sit down restaurant and was ordered and ready in under 10 minutes.


My guest chose the fettuccine with broccoli, carrots, pine nuts and sun roasted garlic and added the herb roasted chicken. You don't have to choose six ingredients, you may choose less, if you so wish. This dish was sauced with the Alfredo sauce and topped with fresh grated Parmesan and Italian herb blend. This was a perfect portion size and tasted wonderful.


As an added bonus, and I must say “You have to try this,” we had the Nutella flat bread with fresh strawberries. This is very simple and quite understated, but the Nutella and the delicious flat bread taste like they were made for each other.

Although the ordering system may be confusing at first, don't let that prevent you from trying out Spoleto. The food here is really good for fast casual Italian, and the number of dishes you can create is only limited by your imagination. The inside is very nice and open as well, and features open face brick and unique lighting fixtures made of cooking utensils.

Spoleto : My Italian Kitchen is open from Monday - Sunday 11am - 10pm. Keep an eye out for the newest location to open up inside of the Florida Mall’s all new food pavilion, and a third location coming to Winter Park at 349 N. Orlando Avenue.

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Chefs Table at Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse

9801 International Drive.
Orlando, Florida, 32819
(407)-345-4570

Fiorenzo is a modern steakhouse experience that combines the charm of an authentic Italian restaurant with a refined selection of steaks, chops and seafood inside of the Hyatt Regency Orlando. 

The restaurant has an open kitchen and a pizza oven that set the stage for the on site preparation of new and traditional Italian favorites as well as a selection of fish and premium steaks and chops. In addition to spectating the skillful preparation of grilled prime steaks, seafood entrees and creative pizza and pasta dishes, guests may gather at the Milan-inspired lounge and select wines from the extensive, award-winning wine cellar. 

Chef Will Walters is Chef de Cuisine at Fiorenzo, and he loves a good wine pairing with food like a lot of chefs do, but if you get a chance to speak with him, you may be surprised to find that he is actually a craft beer enthusiast. Therefore, it only made sense for Chef Will to hold his first chef's table event with a craft beer pairing instead of wine.

Chef Will put together an excellent dinner at Fiorenzo that featured steak house favorites served with ice-cold selections from New Belgium Brewing and an astonishing dessert paired with Small Town Brewery’s “Not Your Fathers Root Beer.”



Our first course of the evening was a Lump Crab Salad over Buttermilk Fried Green Tomato that was fried in shrimp butter with fennel-frisee and pink peppercorn honey. This was paired with New Belgium Brewing’s Ranger IPA that has a 6% ABV.



The Mustard Glazed Pork Belly over Cannellini Bean Puree with seared escarole and a pretzel gremolata was a wonderful second course. It was paired with New Belgium Brewing Trippel Ale with a 7.8% ABV. Chef Will’s secret ingredient for this dish was a honey mustard glaze that he borrowed from his mother.



If I didn't know any better, I would have thought the Espresso Rubbed Bison Tenderloin over orange scented heirloom carrots and potato risotto was a fine steak. The Bison was very tender and flavorful and paired excellently with the New Belgium Brewing 1554 Black Lager that has a 5.6% ABV.



From left to right...New Belgium Brewing Ranger IPA, Trippel Ale, 1554 Black Lager, and Small Town Brewery’s “Not Your Fathers Root Beer.”



We ended our night with Chocolate Filled Petite Beignets with a scoop of burnt vanilla ice cream and a Caramel Stick. Of course, that burnt vanilla ice cream was floating in a glass filled with Not Your Father’s Root Beer that has a 5.9% ABV. The dessert was sinful as it was, but this root beer is deadly. You can't taste any alcohol at all, and I can easily imagine drinking way too many of these.

This five course Chef’s Table dinner was $75 per person plus tax and gratuity. As you may have seen in one of my previous posts about Urban Tide, Hyatt Regency Orlando has hosted a few Chef’s Table events and plans on doing more. If you want to stay in the loop, head on over to the Hyatt Regency Orlando Facebook Page to be one of the first to find out about the next beer or wine pairing dinner that will take place.

Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse’s private dining room welcomes celebrations, meetings and events with 50-100 guests, and the main dining room accommodates 200. Fiorenzo is open Monday - Saturday from 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM

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