Canale Restaurant & Bar Will Bring Upscale Italian Food Back to Riverfront

canale-exterior-sara-ventiera-560.jpg
Sara Ventiera
Canale Restaurant and Bar is coming soon to Riverfront.
Years ago, Riverfront was a bustling plaza filled with restaurants, bars, coffee shops, retails stores, and more.

Then the economy took a dive from the high board.

Briny Irish Pub aside, the deserted mall has been an empty shell of its former glory for years now. All along, we've been hoping to see it restored.

In the next few weeks, the emblematic property is about to see its newest resident; Canale Restaurant & Bar is about to open its doors.

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Owner Franco Agostino, a native of Genoa, Italy and former resident of Toronto, has been creating a fine dining Italian concept that will focus on serving high-quality ingredients in beautiful surrounds.

Rather than offer the ubiquitous meatballs and red sauce, Agostino has been working with his executive chef from Piedmont to develop a menu of authentic Italian fare.

Trying to keep the price points under $30, Agostino plans to offer lunch, dinner, crudo, dessert, and bar menus.

Expect to see items like Carolina shrimp crudo, Piedmont raised beef, meats, pastas, and specialty cocktails.

"The menu will be based on using exceptional products," says Agostino. "They say, 'If you have to touch it more than twice, it's no longer food.' We're relying on quality ingredients."

While many have been skeptical of the return of Riverfront for years -- it's been a veritable dead zone for the better part of a decade -- Agostino has been eyeing the space for years.

After hearing a couple of guys from Toronto bought the space, he decided to look into making a deal.

"I'm happy with the deal I've made," he says. "I have no concerns. People have been walking by everyday asking about when we'll open; I feel very confident about the area."

Although Agostino feels secure in the property and the owners investment in it -- he says they spent over $16 million to purchase the land -- he's not there to restore the plaza.

"I look at this as a standalone restaurant," says Agostino. "I'm not there to save the ball or revive the ball. I just want to open a great Italian restaurant in a wonderful setting."

Canale is located at 300 SW First Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-525-0098, or visit canalerestaurant.com.

Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.




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5 comments
ParkerSmith
ParkerSmith

This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. This is very nice one and gives in depth information.

cindidevo
cindidevo

I went to Canale today and parking was a breeze. Just park in the parking garage, take the elevator down, walk toward the river and you're there.

Personally I think Canale has a great chance of making it and helping to create a Riverfront Renaissance. It would be great to have that area exciting and fun again.

The people there were very nice, service was good. Food was good.

Had the vegitarian pizza and the crust was nice and crispy.

Looking forward to a return visit for dinner, a bottle of wine and relaxing river views.

sami.d
sami.d

I am so thrilled that a high-end Italian restaurant opened on the New River. It is a beautiful place to walk and Canale is located right where you can sit with a cool breeze and a glass of wine and watch the yachts and people go by. The whole neighborhood has been stopping by for an expresso during their morning walks waiting for the restaurant to open and this week was the soft opening. The first review was wonderful and the food and ambiance the perfect addition to the Riverwalk. Thank you for bringing all of us 'simply, beautiful food' on the New River. I had no problem parking. There are are three parking garages, one next door and two up the street as well as metered parking. I noticed people coming by water taxi and private boat that they would dock out front. 

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..........................UGH .......... the place has NO parking and during the summer NO ONE walks around the place except the homeless people living under the bridge...........i can't think of a worse location in a d e a d location...........IF hooters can't make it in an over-priced beer-and-liquor-fueled dive setting then NO "upscale" place is going to survive there

the crowd for this place is on LAS OLAS but EAST of federal - this concept would have been better in the old tavetorias location for a fraction of the cost and much more exposure and visibility on the street level

it's why VALENTINOs is where it is

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.................however the homeless HOBOs seemed to enjoy the opera music this morning

i give this place NO CHANCE since even someone familiar with the area has a better chance of finding a higgs-boson than this place hidden in a catacomb

plus basically PARKING sucks so unless revenue generated from PREDATORY TOWING is included in the income of this place it has NO CHANCE = period

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