La Dolce Vita Offers Simple, Roman-Style Fare on Fort Lauderdale Beach
Though the whole of the menu isn't quite as simple as the cacio e pepe, Polidori never allows flavors to muddle. The prices may seem steep considering the surrounding beach bars, but the attentive service that's there when you need it, gone when you don't, along with heaping bowls of homemade, square spaghetti pasta called "chitarrina" make La Dolce Vita a delightful place to get your Italian fix.
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That house-made pasta comes in a variety of preparations: with a black truffle cream sauce and porcini mushrooms, with clams and sun-dried tomatoes, or in a simple sauce of slow-cooked veal with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
The signature dish is chitarrina "La Dolce Vita," which pairs the pasta with shrimp, clams, and mussels in a fresh tomato sauce prepared à la minute and brightened with a splash of Pinot Grigio. For the uninitiated, La Dolce Vita's tomato sauces will seem a world away from the heavy, slow-cooked variety most often found in the U.S.
"Whenever I make a sauce, I always mix it with a fresh cherry tomato sauce to make it lighter," Polidori says. "Americans think it needs a lot of garlic, but that's not true."
The trio's dream of serving food similar to what they grew up with began when Polidori, who hails from Italy's Abruzzo region, northeast of Rome, met Bruni and D'Amore in 2010. At the time, Polidori was working at La Lupa Di Roma, an Italian restaurant on Lincoln Road. Bruni, who also comes from Abruzzo, and D'Amore, who was raised in Rome, were working at a pizzeria in downtown Miami.
"Fabio is from my town, and I knew he was working there, so I went to meet him," Polidori says.
They immediately began looking for a place and chose Fort Lauderdale because Miami Beach "was a little chaotic."
Bruni says he first fell in love with Fort Lauderdale while vacationing here and later moved here after meeting the woman who would become his wife. He describes himself as no fan of the heavy, "mixed" Italian food found throughout Broward.
"We don't do alfredo, and we don't do chicken parmigiana," he says. "We don't do 200 people a night. but when people come here, they're getting real Italian."