Franco & Vinny's
2884 East Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
Franco & Vinny's Fort Lauderdale Reviews
Nice place for lunch by the beach. Aug 07, 2009
Okay let me tell you how I decided to try this place out. My friend Sergio is the head bartender at the Mexican Cantina, which is located a few blocks from the beach on Sunrise Blvd. Usually my family and I will hit up Sergio on Friday nights for great Tex-Mex and booze (thrown in with a huge discounts for friends :-) Every time we go there, we have to walk by Franco & Vinny's and the aroma coming from it is awesome. Now it happens that the owner of the Mexican Cantina (Vinny) also owns Franco & Vinny's. I've met Vinny a few times and he is the typical laid back South Florida bar owner. Sandals, shorts, and Tommy Bahama shirts. Super nice and friendly, when he's not cruising the Caribean on his boat.
So one night we decided to skip Sergio's place and have some pasta instead. We were a little sticker shock at the prices. But in all fairness, Sergio usually does give us a huge discount and the prices were really average for being by the beach in Fort Lauderdale. Basic entrees ranged from $10 to around $26 for some of the higher end stuff. The pizzas there looked awesome and the prices for them were more then reasonable. Since I consider myself a foodie, I have a horrid habit of looking at other tables to see what they ordered. Some of what I saw looked very very good. And if you don't feel like spending alot, they have hot and cold subs for under ten bucks.
We got there a little early for a Friday night, so the place wasn't so packed. Service to get seated was fast and friendly. And our waiter was pretty cool too (and honest, which is rare). You have to pay attention for the daily specials board. Its tiny and you really don't see it unless its pointed out. We didn't see it until after we ordered, but some of the items looked really good.
We ordered garlic bread to start off. It was pretty average, a little too much oil. But it was covered in fresh garlic and herbs and was made to order. You have a view of the kitchen from the dining area. As garlic bread goes, I'd order it again. Then the salads came. What ever you do, don't turn down the salads!! The house dressing was amazing. Typical wedge salads with olives, onions, and tomatos. But the dressing was what made it. Flavorful and tangy without being too oily.
My brother, David, is so plain Jane when it comes to food. His usual measuring stick is spaghetti and meatballs. And since he loves his body so much, he even ordered it with meat sauce to boot ($13). It was pretty darn good. Big decent serving size of al dente pasta, covered with a red rich simple but flavorful meat sauce. Not too overly seasoned or pretentious. And the meatballs were awesome. Three nice and tender veal and beef mixture of happiness. Each was about three ounces, so there is a good amount of protein on the plate. This too I would order again.
Brandy, his wife (and a cool sister-in-law) ordered the baked ravioli ($14). Again a good size portion with about five 4" raviolis lightly covered in the house marinara sauce. They had a nice smoky flavor to the cheese inside. And the sauce was the perfect amount. And on top of it all, they are covered with more mozzarella cheese and baked in the oven till melted.
Now I was all over the damn menu trying to decide what to have. As with most places, I avoid getting shrimp dishes just because you usually don't get enough of them. But I was pretty tempted by the shrimp scampi or shrimp marinara. Then I was gonna try the scungilli, not even knowing what it was. Until our waiter told me it was conch. And I wasn't really in a conch mood, so out that idea went. Then I was gonna try the veal milanese. But since our waiter was shaking his head, I asked why not. He told us this time that the breading was a little too much and it might come out a little too oily (hence, the honest waiter comment). Well I finally settled on the veal marsala ($21). My usual measuring stick is linguini and clams, but I was going against the grain and trying something different. And it rocked!!!! The dish was great. Tender medalions of veal sauteed with a rich dark marsala wine sauce. And then it was covered with sauteed mushrooms which were big and meaty. The mushrooms were perfect, not too over cook as to be mushy. But...they were perfect (and I'm a mushroom freak to start with). The smell was enough to turn some heads from some of the other tables. And I even got a side of pasta with marinara sauce. And as I watched what all the other tables were getting, not one thing looked bad. Honest. We will definitely be back.
And another thing, is the location. Like I said it is two blocks from the beach. And right across the street is Birch State Park. So you have your choices, the beach or the little (but nice) park across the street from the beach. It would be a great place to start the day. Hang at the beach, later in the day get lunch, and then later in the evening head inland towards downtown Fort Lauderdale for a night out.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!