By Gerry Barker
What better way, we asked ourselves, to spend a picture perfect, end-of-February day in SoFlo than lunch by the waterfront along Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach? And we happened to know the perfect place: Elisabetta’s.
Since its opening in 2021 , it’s become the popular choice for anyone seeking authentic Italian cuisine. This is their second location — joining the Elisabetta’s in Delray Beach. Not only is the West Palm version bigger (10,000 square feet, accommodating 300 guests), but also features a large outdoor patio that fronts the Intracoastal waterway.
And that’s where we headed: A cozy patio table where we can enjoy a cooling breeze to go with the twinkling lights and flowers.
We were greeted by Drew Shane, the general manager, and our server, Luca Tarantino. Native to Naples, Italy, and now living here, Luca was well-qualified to lend his expertise to our menu choices, starting with drink recommendations.
I had already decided to try their newest cocktail, Siesta, a mix of tequila, Aperol, chickpea water, grapefruit juice, simple syrup and citrus juice. (You can get the recipe HERE). Pam went with his suggestion, a glass of Pouilly-Fuissé, which she said was excellent. Normally, I don’t do tequila (or chickpea water), but this cocktail was slightly sweet and hit the right note for a sunny day by the water.
For food, Luca recommended we start with the appetizer special, three different mozzarella cheeses accompanied by three different kinds of prosciutto, along with homemade breadsticks, olives and pickled vegetables. Shane told us virtually everything they serve here is made in-house, by the way.
Luca was two-for-two. Artfully presented, it was almost a meal in itself. For Pam, it doesn’t get any better than a plate of dry-cured meat, delicious Italian cheese and olives. Not wanting to waste any of it, we requested a to-go box for what was left.
The entre special of the day was branzino, grilled whole or filleted, and Pam said “Sign me up.” I decided on the chicken panini sandwich. For the record, Luca was keen on their pizza, which he said was the best he’s had outside of Italy. That’s definitely on the menu for our next time here.
Pam’s fish was perfectly prepared, and came with a side of roasted potatoes. My sandwich featured grilled chicken, mozzerella, basil pesto, arugula and rapini. Did we enjoy it? Let’s just say this time around, no to-go boxes required.
Of course we couldn’t leave without dessert, and Luca didn’t even have to give Pam any choices: She had already decided on tiramisu, her favorite, all the way. I was torn between several, but ultimately went with the Rum Baba, consisting of rum-soaked brioche bread, homemade vanilla gelato, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Something we didn’t know: Luca told us Baba actually originated in Naples.
Both desserts arrived in generous portions, and despite her best efforts, Pam did have to get a to-go box for hers, which means I can sneak a bite later. Yum!
Bottom line, if you can’t get over to Italy, Elisabetta’s is a great way to experience the food and camaraderie that encapsulate la dolce vita right here in South Florida. And newsflash, we were told coming later this year, they plan to open a a third-floor lounge overlooking the water. Sign us both up for that.
Visit their website HERE.