Cafe Martorano Shuns the Tap

Dan, we're guessing, drank the bottled stuff.

It was somewhere before the waiter brought out what might be the world's best grilled octopus that he broke the news. "If you want to drink water, we only serve bottled water," he said. And I had no doubt there would be no exceptions. That's spelled out on the Cafe Martorano menu in all caps, right above the warning that there will be "NO BALL BREAKING."

No ball breaking I can handle, but no tap water? Bottled water has been out of vogue for, what, since Al Gore was in the picture?

Not at Fort Lauderdale's Cafe Martorano, says publicist Alan Brown. "Any of the finer

restaurants that you go into here, that's the way it's done," Brown


True, but I've never dined in a place too fancy to bring out a little

tap. In response, Brown says: "Tap water doesn't taste great, so he

serves bottled water."

The "he" Brown is referring to is owner Steve Martorano, the

self-taught chef who got his start hawking sandwiches from his

apartment in Philly.

Brown says it's all about helping the food taste good, which, I'll admit, was among the best meals I've ever had, start to finish. "If you're going

to eat such good food," Brown says, "that's what goes with it: bottled water."

Diners don't seem to care. Martorano now has a second joint in Las Vegas and is planning a third in Aventura.

-- Eric Barton

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