NOTE: The first good experience at Abbondanza seemed to be a fluke. Read about a return visit here. When I lived in New York, I took Italian food for granted. I just assumed that everywhere I went I could get a decent, if not superb, plate of pasta. The fact that it was all reasonably priced was a real bonus. Broward county has a serious void in the inexpensive Italian food department. I have been to Mundi’s on Dania Beach Blvd (don’t go), where the chef told me that the burnt garlic on my pasta with garlic and oil was “how I make it”. I actually did not know it was possible to screw up pasta with garlic and oil. I have to drive a good 30 minutes from Hollywood to get a good plate of pasta in Broward county (or Dade, for that matter). Oggi Cafe, on 79th street, is really good, but a schlep from me.
Alas, I am now in Key West, where there is no shortage of good food. Except for maybe Indian food, but I digress. I recently had the pleasure of dining at Abbondanza, at 1208 Simonton Street. They do not take reservations for fewer than six people, but we only waited about 5 minutes. While we waited I noticed the bartender was pouring generously sized drinks, that at other places would be considered (and charged as) a double. The night I was there we ordered all specials – fried zucchini was delicious in a light batter and a zesty tomato sauce and actually tasted like zuchinni, not batter. House salads are served with all entrees and pastas. The porcini torellini were large, fresh and in a wonderful cream sauce. They were perfectly cooked. We also had the snapper puttanesca which was served in less of a sauce and more of a chopped tomato topping, which was very good.
The portions at Abbondanza are gigantic. Not just big – huge. If you go, share. Years ago, I recall a guest at an inn we were staying at say that he was in the meat business and Abbondanza had the best meatballs he had ever had. I cannot vouch for his credibility, however. While clearly not the best restaurant ever, it is a good, solid choice for a big bowl of yummy carbs. They also allow corkage for $15. Between Mangia Mangia and Abbondanza, we definitely have some good Italian food here. Next, I will have to try La Trattoria. I’ll keep you posted.