D’Angelo Trattoria in Delray has the local foodie world buzzing these days, but it’s not the only casual yet sophisticated eatery from multitalented chef-restaurateur Angelo Elia.
I’ve been meaning to get to his Oakland Park restaurant,D’Angelo Pizza, Wine Bar & Tapas(4215 N. Federal Hwy., 954/561-7300), for more than a year now and finally managed to have lunch there a couple weeks ago.
The good news? Like the Trattoria, it’s terrific. And Elia plans to expand the concept to Miami and Palm Beach Gardens.
The bad news? Well, there isn’t any. Except perhaps that you have to drive to Oakland Park to eat there, and the debut of the PBG location is still sometime off in the future.
The restaurant itself looks like a million bucks. (And it probably cost somewhere close to that to build out.) Designed by Lauderdale architect Alfredo Leon, it’s a sleek, modern yet comfortable space with delectable comestibles displayed in long glass cases, a wood-fired oven, long bar and row of banquettes, and pair of flat-screen TVs playing Italian cooking shows.
Whatever you do, don’t leave without snagging at least one order of Elia’s Sicilian arancini, golden globes of crispy-creamy deliciousness made of short-grain rice flavored with ricotta, saffron and peas, rolled in panko and greaselessly fried. They come with a fine marinara (made with San Marzano tomatoes, of course).
Of course, pizza is the big draw here, from a simple margherita to more complex pies like ours, a perfectly crisp-chewy crust topped with creamy burrata cheese, arugula, fiery pepper oil and shaved bottarga, cured and dried mullet roe with a pronounced salty-marine character.
For dessert there’s only one word: gelato. Made in-house it’s simply the best gelato I’ve tasted in this country, rich with flavor (we sampled mango, espresso and pistachio) and so silken as to be like gossamer on the tongue. Honestly, if you can’t wait for Palm Beach Gardens to open, it’s worth the drive to Oakland Park.