On our last day in Florida we went to the fabulous little city of Boca Raton, a stark contrast from Miami, South Beach and Fort Lauderdale. We roamed around Mizner Park and we were immediately taken aback by the perfect landscape, the architecture and how this little part of Florida looked like a city of dollhouses, pink and perfect.
Mizner Park is the center of downtown Boca Raton, very pedestrian friendly, clean, with plenty of upscale boutiques and restaurants. We came on our last day so we didn’t have a lot of time to roam this cute city but if you’re tired of the beach, or it’s a rainy day, go to Mizner Plaza in Boca Raton and enjoy your day. If you know us a little, you know that we would never sacrifice a sunny beach day for shopping!
There were a few restaurants to choose from but Villagio caught our eye, an Italian restaurant with a lounge-like atmosphere, the restaurant was huge with big open windows facing gorgeous Mizner Plaza. It was lunchtime so the restaurant was bustling, it probably relaxes more at dinner. They had a gorgeous terrace but it was too hot to even consider eating outside.
The restaurant has an extensive menu, and we noticed that the lunch menu is cheaper than the dinner menu, something that you don’t really see in Montreal. The white tablecloths were spotless, the atmosphere grand and in comparison to Montreal the restaurants in Florida are designed very differently. In Montreal, restaurants tend to look alike, or restaurateurs don’t spend as much time or money on design. In Florida, restaurants seem to have more of a look and we catch ourselves noticing the interior design.
Our waiter brought complimentary bruschetta to our table, room temperate, as tomatoes should be served, dripping in extra virgin olive oil, with a little red onion and seasoning. It was served with focaccia, and more bread was brought in a basket. With locations in New York and in other parts of Florida, chains in the USA do not necessarily mean fast food or a mediocre experience.
Since it was lunchtime we did not order any heavy appetizers but instead we started our meal with a light salad. Diva #1 had her eye on the Portofino salad, a salad composed of thinly sliced Portobello mushrooms that were marinated in a citrus olive oil. Served with arugula, red onions, tomatoes and plenty of parmigiano – Diva #1 couldn’t believe how much fresh parmigiano came with this salad.
Diva #1 was dining alone so she started talking to the neighbouring tables, well she wasn’t that bold, to be honest people began talking to her. Asking her why she’s eating alone, is she on vacation, here for business, etc? One woman enjoyed their house salad that was anything but ordinary with chopped radicchio and mushrooms in balsamic vinegar, with the usual arugula, lettuce and tomatoes. The dressing was composed of lemon and extra virgin olive oil. The balsamic vinegar from the mushrooms coming through as well.
Diva #1 ordered the linguine vongole which you can choose to enjoy in a tomato sauce or white clam sauce. The traditional and tastier pick is in a white clam sauce, and our waiter pointed that out as well. The sauce was not so much creamy but buttery, it was very tasty and the clams were fresh and plentiful. Our only complaint was that the sauce was too thin and pooled at the bottom of our dish, making it messy to eat as you slurped your linguine and it sloshed around. Perhaps a touch of cream would have firmed the sauce, but taste-wise it was very good.
We opted for white pasta (obviously) but at Villagio you can enjoy whole wheat or gluten free pasta for an additional cost. You can also add shrimp or chicken to your pasta dishes if you want to jazz up a dish. The woman sitting next to Diva#1 ordered the Pennette Harry’s Bar which was a penne pasta with garlic, oil, fresh spinach, plenty of parmigiano, sundried tomatoes and pine nuts with a touch of fresh tomato. It was by no means your typical pasta with tomato sauce, but it had many of the same ingredients, simply prepared different. She added chicken to make the dish heartier and more filling, and, of course, we snagged a bite 😉
We would love to return to Villagio restaurant in Mizner Park for dinner, the location is beautiful, the design of the restaurant captivating and let’s be honest, it’s all about the food, and we loved that too! This was our last meal in Florida before we headed home and we definitely ended on a high note. But we’re gluttons so though we refused dessert at Villagio…
…we were lured into Sloan’s Ice Cream by its Candy Land décor – there is something to be said about marketing and knowing your audience! Ending our Mizner Park, Boca Raton experience on a high, with ice cream, a belly full of pasta and a gorgeous view before heading home to Montreal.
Home sweet home! It isn’t Florida, but it’s fabulous…
Our Review: Splendid
Tagged: 344 Plaza Real, Boca Raton, Boca Raton Italian, Boca Raton restaurant, clam pasta, Clams, FL 33432-3937, Florida, Florida Italian, Florida restaurant, Gluten Free, Italian, Italian Food, Linguine Vongole, Mizner Park, Mizner Park restaurant, Pasta, Portobello Mushrooms, Salad, Sloan’s Ice Cream, Sloan’s Ice Cream Mizner Park