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Linger Longer at SoLita’s

by Gary Thurman
Monday Jun 13, 2011

When we think about dining out, we typically gravitate to the familiar, the comfortable, the predictable. Now, there's a reason to get out of that same old restaurant routine that you've been in for so long. And the reason is SoLita, short for "South of Little Italy."

This fun, high energy establishment on Las Olas Boulevard offers the Wilton Manor crowd something distinctly different. Although every night is a good night to go, for "us" perhaps the best night to experience SoLita's great vibe, glitzy surroundings and vast offerings of Italian food-and drink-would be Wednesday night, which is men's night. As the evening progresses, Shane Woten (their sexy DJ) pumps up the volume and the mood begins to change to a more club-type atmosphere. So for those of you who are seeking a little something extra with your plate of pasta, this is the night you and your friends will want to go.

While waiting for the rest of our party to arrive, we decided to chill in the sleek and spacious bar and order a bottle of Pinot Grigio from their well-crafted wine list. (Certain priced wines are half off on men's night.) With full glass in hand we happily sipped while watching the Miami Heat play basketball on the large flat screen TVs.

Across the way, we spied the indoor dining area. The myriad of crystal chandeliers continues into this romantic space of cozy candlelit tables, and white, plush, faux alligator and leather banquettes. Outdoor dining is a great option that offers great views of Las Olas's vibrant night life. If you walk past the open kitchen on your way to your table, say hi to chef Anthony "Radar" Risole and Victor. You'll be able to see them hard at work creating those wonderful Italian meals you're about to savor. Some preparations are old school (Radar's specialty), and others have a "new school" flair-all equally appetizing.

Once seated, our waiter Jimmy promptly handed us our menus and took our drink order. Being a party of six we opted for their Table Service (having your own bottle of vodka at the table is a great way to have it your way-right away!), we decided on a bottle of Russian Standard which they served with a bucket of ice along with our favorite mixers and garnishes. (I could tell this was going to be a fun night!) Jimmy suggested we leave the ordering to him and share everything family-style. It was easy to tell we were in capable hands.

This fun, high energy establishment on Las Olas Boulevard offers the Wilton Manor crowd something distinctly different.

The first plates to arrive were the Pizza di Parma: prosciutto, mascarpone, and arugula with a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar served fresh out of the wood fire oven, and. . .meatballs (with salad-the "old school" way to do it). These are large and tasty housemade meatballs with ricotta cheese and fresh tomato basil sauce served with a simple salad of lettuce, tomato, and cucumber, with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. They were just"like gramma makes."

The next Antipasti was Shrimp SoLita. These crispy shrimp were served with roasted red peppers, olive oil and garlic, along with a verde drizzle and housemade Tartar sauce. And finally, housemade Buffalo Mozzarella, (lightly breaded and sauteed) served over fresh tomato basil sauce.

No time for a breather here! Next up, Bolognese over Fettuccini with pork, beef, and veal in a Marinara sauce with ricotta cheese. Everyone at the table loved it. Then just when we thought it couldn't get any better, they brought out the Veal Chop Milanese from the Secondi section of the menu. For those of you who love your breaded veal chops, this ample serving is a must try! It was pounded thin, then lightly breaded and pan fried, topped with fresh salad greens, tomatoes and red onions, with a light balsamic vinaigrette and shavings of Pecorino Romano.

There was only one reason not to finish this entrée-Dessert! Even though we had absolutely no room left, we still decided to share the delicious pistachio ice cream Tartufo in a chocolate shell and the-not-to-be-missed cannolis.

But wait! We're not done yet. The comfortable seating in Solita's Parlor Lounge (next to the dining room) is a great place to plop down after dinner and continue socializing with your friends while finishing that espresso or after dinner drink. After all the DJ is just getting warmed up! Yes, in this new exciting and romantic establishment, there's much more to do than just eat and go... you're gonna want to stick around!

1032 East Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale

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