An Italian Renaissance in South Florida

I've got to ask: What's up with all the Italian joints opening in South Florida lately?

It seems in the past few months we've seen more tomato sauce served than on a Sunday in Bensonhurst. If you count pizza joints that have opened recently, that number is even bigger.

Just to touch on a few, by the end of this month we'll have Martorano's Italian-American Kitchen at the Hard Rock and Brio Tuscan Grill and Tonino Lamborghini Caffe Corsa at Gulfstream Park.

But wait, there's more. SoLita, another slicked-back hair and gold chain type of joint, recently opened on Las Olas. Sicilian Oven

debuted its second location in Coral Springs last month, while the

Custom's House in Boca saw a change in direction from the former

manager of Cucina D'Angelo and started serving Italian (plus steak and

sushi) as Chris Michael's Restaurant and Lounge. Then there are the mom and pop joints like Cafe La Buca, Casa Macalusa, and Tentazione in Boynton Beach.

Take a deep breath, because we're not done yet. Via Luna just removed Cero at the Ritz-Carlton in Fort Lauderdale, and that restaurant is serving -- you guessed it -- classic Italian. Villagio at Sawgrass Mills is bringing budget-friendly Italian to West Broward. Of course there's also Wild Olives Cafe at City Place, Todd English's lighter version of Mediterranean eatery Wild Olives. Want more? D'Angelo's in Fort Lauderdale and Table 42 in Boca opened recently as well.

At this rate, the entirety of South Florida will be sporting pompadours

and T-shirts will little red tomato stains come April. I'm excited to

try a few of these, but with each new opening all I can think is,

"Great. Another Italian joint?"

But the question is, how many of you will be eating Italian every week?

As for me, I better brush up on my pasta-twirling technique. There's going to be a lot of it coming my way.

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