Best Restaurant for a Power Lunch - 2003
Mancini's - CLOSED
Mancini's has a voguish-looking interior with a huge, bristling chandelier, like a cluster of giant pods. But it's on the broad sidewalk outside, where the restaurant has staked out an impressive chunk of Las Olas Boulevard with a couple of dozen linen-swathed tables, that you'll see the deals being made. All the usual suspects are there, the same folks who used to frequent Mark's on Las Olas (which has decided not to serve lunch during the off-season): politicians, developers, well-heeled tourists, the yacht crowd, and the occasional celebrity. The ambiance has a certain European feel to it, including the service, which is, oh, a half-step slower than that in some of the clattering establishments a block or two farther south. (I mean, are you here to suck down food or to eat?) For their epicurean indulgence, patrons get savory, steamy food with all the requisite olive oil and garlic. A caesar salad goes for $7, a tasty linguine alle vongole, $14, a slice of fresh grilled salmon adorned with greens, $16. Good and somehow entrepreneurially satisfying. As the waiter serves the cappuccinos, that condo tower project you've been talking about with the guy across the table should really start coming into focus.