I stopped in on a rainy day and ordered a pizza, the Meat Lovers, which listed bacon, capicola, pepperoni, and am. (That confused me until I realized it was just missing the h.) But that’s all it was missing. There were plenty of the promised meats, so much so that I couldn’t seen the crust beneath the toppings. But I could see the edge (the crust’s crust?) and taste it, too. I liked the elasticity of the dough, and it had a pleasant buttery note.
1803 Winter Park Road
2417 Edgewater Drive
College Park and Adriatico are a perfect match. The Orlando neighborhood certainly has some good, or good enough, restaurants. But it’s been missing a quaint trattoria, the sort of Italian place with a mom-and-pop feel, one that’s comfortable, homey and immediately familiar. A welcoming spot where the food is good but beside the point.That’s Adriatico.The “mom and pop” owners are Marco and Rosetta Cudazzo. She runs the dining room, greeting guests with a matronly welcome, and he does the cooking, demonstrating the skills he most recently plied at the estimable Terramia, a multiple Foodie winner, and at Antonio’s La Fiamma in Maitland before that.Have the scallopine alla Sienese or the pollo al limone. The scallops are a perfect appetizer. I could have made a meal of the three huge scallops sauteed with shallots and brandy in a creamy sauce tinged with a touch of mustard, served over fresh spinach. One could want little more when the appetizer is this good.The classico antipasto misto was a thoughtful selection of salami, prosciutto, cubes of hard parmesan, roasted peppers, baby artichokes and a handful of some of the tastiest green olives you’re likely to find.
360 W. Fairbanks Ave.
Antonella’s Pizzeria is owned by members of the LaCommare family. If the LaCommare name is familiar to you it’s probably because you knew Stefano’s Trattoria in Winter Springs when the brother and sister’s parents, Stefano and Marie, were the owners. The older LaCommare’s sold the restaurant, including the name, and so the younger family members, who all had worked at the popular trattoria for many years, decided to get their own place.
But they didn’t want a large full-service restaurant. A pizzeria that focuses more on takeout and delivery seemed manageable, so that is what Antonella’s is.
Unfortunately — for me, anyway — the delivery area only extends in a five-mile radius from the restaurant, so I made my own pizza runs to try out the pies.
528 Park Avenue S.
Formerly Maestro Cucina Napoletano, Antonio’s HOP still features pizza, of course, but not the Naples style. Now the crust is crustier — not wrong, just different. Good toppings on the pies, and the Spaghetti Bolognese is wonderful
611 S. Orlando Ave.
When Greg Gentile opened this massive two-story restaurant in a renovated family steakhouse, everyone thought he was crazy and that the place would close in one year. That was about two decades ago. Why did it succeed? Simple: good food, good service and an atmosphere for everyone; fine dining upstairs and a casual deli down.
The best dish I sampled is the anitra con rosmarino all’agrodolce, which I’m sure you know is roast duck. The duck meat, free of bones, was moist and tender. Spit roasting gives it a terrific flavor, but to enhance the taste, there’s a wonderful sauce of balsamic vinegar, rosemary and maple syrup (yes, maple syrup). The syrup isn’t overpowering and the flavors are just meant for each other.
The downstairs deli is a wonderful place for friends to meet. It’s cramped, with tables set up throughout the market area, but it adds to the atmosphere.
463 New England Ave.
A new offering from Armando Martorelli, owner of Trattoria Toscana on Park Avenue, Armando’s is a more casual Italian restaurant. Pizzas are a focus, but there are also full entrees, such as veal Milanese, and the price point is very good, with most entrees in the mid teens.
It’s a big bright space with doors and windows that open wide to the outdoors. There is plenty of seating outside, too.
2305 Edgewater Drive
A College Park outpost of the Hannibal Square eatery. The vibe here is a bit more vibrant, at least on nights that have a good crowd, which seems to be most of them.
480 N. Orlando Ave.
It’s a beautiful restaurant but it’s deafeningly loud. Both food and service are subpar.
Dinner at Bice is not an inexpensive night out. But when you consider cost vs. quality, you’ll find that Bice is not overpriced.Just consider the restaurant’s signature dish, ravioli stuffed with beef short ribs and spinach. The pasta was delicately thin and tender, and the braised meat inside had a rich, fatty mouthfeel that blossomed with the sauce of mushrooms and Marsala wine. Absolute heaven.Or another from the list of primi piatti, big, fat tortellini filled with spinach and ricotta and dressed with a sauce of butter and sage.From the secondi my companion had the scalloppine di vitello, flattened medallions of veal sauteed with a darkly rich mushroom sauce and served with a timbale of potatoes similar to a potatoes Anna dish.I chose a special of the evening that featured sea bass in parchment. Enclosed inside the envelope with zucchini, yellow squash, red and green peppers, and a few salty olives, the fish took on all the vegetable flavors while maintaining a fresh and moist texture. The taste was buttery and absolutely delicious.
Desserts are worth lingering over.
153 E Morse Blvd
Braccia is small but has a certain charm in its glassed in wine cabinet, floor to ceiling blackboards and distressed wood tabletops. The charm does not extend to the Astroturflike greenery that has been applied in freeform to one of the brick walls; that’s just odd. Pizza, thin-crusted and well-topped, is good, but so are the pasta dishes.